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6 typical arguments against outside support, and why they are wrong

Many CEOs of flourishing businesses pride themselves on their self-reliance and business acumen. The idea of seeking external help may seem to them like admitting a weakness or an unnecessary expenditure. However, this mindset can limit a company’s growth and miss out on the strategic advantages that come with fresh perspectives. 

This blog post is part of the series “SME CEO and external support which compiles thoughts from Aamu Partners’ Tuomas Paananen and CEO CF’s Tony Wood. Aamu Partners is a company assisting SME CEO’s to reach their goals and grow their shareholder value. CEO CF is a forum where selected leaders collaborate to build trust, share insights, learn from others’ experiences, and develop into respected leaders in society and their organisations.


In this blog post, we’ll tackle the six common arguments CEOs make against seeking external assistance, debunking myths and revealing why these viewpoints could be holding their businesses back from even greater success. From the belief that outsiders can’t possibly understand the intricacies of their company to the assumption that there’s nothing left to improve, we’ll break down each of these contentions and explain why embracing external expertise might be one of the best decisions a CEO can make for their organisation’s future.

“They don’t understand me or my company”

While it’s true that external advisors initially lack intimate knowledge of your company, their outsider perspective can be an asset. They approach your business with a fresh set of eyes, free from internal bias or established norms that can blind insiders to issues and opportunities. Their role is to learn about the nuances of your business and apply their broad experience to provide tailored advice that aligns with your company’s unique culture and objectives.


“They cannot help”

External support is often provided by experts who have successfully navigated similar challenges in the past. Their breadth of knowledge and experience across industries can introduce proven strategies and innovative solutions that internal teams may not be aware of. Dismissing the potential for help outright overlooks the possibility that these experts have dealt with comparable situations and can offer valuable, actionable insights.


“They’ll control me and tell me what to do”

The goal of external support is not to take control but to empower CEOs by providing guidance and strategic options. Good advisors collaborate to enhance decision-making, offering advice without usurping a CEO’s autonomy. They’re there to add value, not to diminish your authority or decision-making capacity.


“It’s just extra work”

It may seem like onboarding an external advisor creates additional tasks, but this initial investment of time can lead to significant long-term efficiency gains. Advisors can help streamline processes, identify areas where you can cut or delegate work, and help you focus on strategic planning, ultimately saving time and resources.

“I don’t want to report to anybody”

Hiring external support isn’t about reporting to them—it’s about using them as a resource. While you may share information with them to get the most accurate advice, the relationship is more akin to a partnership than a reporting hierarchy. They report to you and are there to serve your needs and the needs of your business.


“There’s nothing to improve/wrong with the business”

There’s always room for improvement, even in the most successful companies. The business world is continuously evolving, and staying competitive often requires adapting to new trends and technologies. External advisors can help identify even the most nuanced areas for growth or efficiency that can lead to substantial improvements in performance and profitability. Moreover, they can help anticipate market changes and prepare the company for future challenges, ensuring sustainability and growth.

In conclusion, the resistance to outside assistance is often rooted in misconceptions about what external advisors provide and a misplaced belief in the infallibility of self-reliance. The six arguments addressed in this post reflect common fears and misconceptions that can hinder a business’s evolution. External advisors bring invaluable perspective, innovation, and expertise that can catalyse growth and address blind spots even the most astute CEOs may overlook. 


By rejecting these six arguments against external help, leaders can break through stagnation, embrace change, and lead their organisations to new heights of efficiency and success. After all, the willingness to seek and integrate external advice is not a sign of weakness but an astute strategy for those looking to secure their company’s competitive edge in a dynamic business landscape.


Read more from our blog post series: 

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