Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Eleventh Hour: The rise of consultants since COVID-19 affords a vision of leadership for the Location Based and Themed Entertainment Industry.

Interview by Martin Palicki; Photo: Jeff Ganter, Eleventh Hour

Eleventh Hour President Jeff Ganter has observed marketplace changes through his decades of experience in business, management and human resources facets of the entertainment industry. In 2004, he founded Eleventh Hour, a full-service staffing and recruiting company targeted to the needs of creative industries including themed entertainment. Eleventh Hour’s business model streamlines a variety of placement services, including direct hire, freelance, freelance-to-hire and more.

Partnering directly with corporate leadership teams as well as with individuals seeking work, Ganter has developed a uniquely qualified perspective on industry needs and nuances.

“As we are all experiencing firsthand right now, changes happen constantly and can be a disruptive force to planning. Sometimes, like with COVID-19, the changes happen abruptly, while other times they happen more gradually. In either case, managing those changes within a corporate environment can be challenging.”

To help companies and teams respond to industry-specific intricacies, Ganter recently expanded Eleventh Hour’s business model to include a mid to executive level consultancy service.

How can consultants help executives?

The consultants are a resource for companies looking to navigate big-picture questions for their business. They can provide vision for leadership while empowering internal teams to push themselves further in pursuit of the overall, aligned business strategy.

Sometimes a consultant may be called in to create systems and a base of knowledge for current employees to execute. In a case like this, a company might bring in a consultant to help address a challenge, such as employee retention. The consultant could advise on a strategy, build new HR programs and create a structure for the internal team to implement, manage and maintain after the work is complete. 

Or, as I mentioned before, they may be brought in to help chart a course for the company’s future. This group of professionals excel at identifying and capitalizing on emerging trends. They function as the spark to ignite and manage change at the executive level. This is where the consultants’ experiences in different markets can be quite beneficial to the company, which otherwise would not have access to the perspective and expertise.

How does the consulting process work?

Once a client decides to work with us, we begin with a kick-off phase – an initial “let’s get to know one another” intake. We ask a lot of questions to understand what the objectives and goals are and what capabilities need to be built or focused on. We then compile and analyze our findings to match the proper executive to meet the client’s needs. In many ways, it’s similar to our existing recruiting services.

Why does our industry need this now? What changes have you seen?

Through our work with clients around the world, we have a global perspective on where companies are allocating their budgets. What we’re seeing is that, while the need to grow market share is always present, this is being tempered by a new level of budgetary caution. Even before the effects of the pandemic were clear, we were observing a restraint in the levels of expenditure planned for the coming year.

Our industry had a very successful decade, buoyed by emerging middle classes in international markets and a reasonably stable global economy. Business models are now forced to change, and the situation for the entertainment marketplace is evolving daily. I think high-level decision makers in companies are strategizing and ideating the best ways for their organization to adapt – on both the supplier and the operator side.

Who are the consultants?

We have assembled a team of professionals from a variety of companies and industries outside of LBE, think retail, consumer marketing, branding, or sports for example from mid to executive level. They bring decades of experience and knowledge. Most of them came to us over the last year as they sought our placement services. In varied cases, some were looking for their next career move, while others were not ready for retirement and they wanted to share their skills but were not necessarily looking for a full-time job.

The consultant creates phases or work steps for the client to help them reach the goal(s) they have identified. Each platform and package is customized to suit our client’s objectives.

Why bring in outside voices?

It is a smart business practice to engage with voices from outside one’s own organization for different perspectives and knowledge. But it’s not always easy for companies to find that expertise. We developed this service as a direct output of our own company’s evolution and awareness of a changing marketplace.

Ultimately, the consultant will help push the corporate leadership team outside of their comfort zone, contributing best-practice experience and wisdom from outside the organization. The timing for engaging a consultant differs for each organization. Change can be uncomfortable, but it frequently is incredibly valuable. Often a small adjustment turns into a major benefit and the ROI can be extraordinary. 

Who should consider executive consulting services?

The ideal client is one who is ready to engage with change. There is the immediate change required because of COVID-19, but there are also longer-reaching changes that continually need to be addressed.

Beyond that, Eleventh Hour works with all types of companies, from startups and small businesses to mid/large-sized corporations. Our consultants fit into any situation.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there already is an obvious employment impact as a result of COVID-19 and Eleventh Hour continues to assist in recruitment and placement services for our creative industry.

For more information about Eleventh Hour’s recruiting services or their new consulting program, please reach out directly to Jeff Ganter.

Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki owns and publishes InPark Magazine. Started in 2004, InPark Magazine provides owners and operators the perspective from "in"side the "park." Martin has also written for publications like Sound & Communications, Lighting & Sound America, Attractions Management and others. Martin has been featured in Time Magazine, CNN.com and Folio. Martin lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

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