Posts Tagged ‘client relationships’

RPM II: The Cornerstone Client Walks

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

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In the second in our weekly series of Resilient People & Momentum (“RPM”), James discusses how to lessen the impact of a key client exit on the firm’s profitable growth plans. No seriously, clients aren’t for life!

Situational Overview: The Cornerstone Client Walks – you have done a fabulous job. It is not personal but the buyer has decided that they can live without your product, service and relationship. You have a cashflow problem. You have a potential reputation problem within (direct reports and peers) and outside the firm (customers and business partners). You have a potential employee problem (productivity and morale). You have a potential investor problem (earnings and value). Is your first thought to seek blame or come up with a great response? I’d say in 80% of these situations I have been privy to the former explodes virally.

Resilient People & Momentum Mindset: I subconsciously expect this to happen in a growing business when I least expect it. How I respond is more important than what has happened. I earn others respect by displaying the right mix of skills, behaviour and expertise. I am willing to be intellectually honest about my own performance. I will listen to and respond sensibly to solicited feedback while ignoring unsolicited feedback that is largely for the other party’s benefit.

Resilient People & Momentum Questions:

  1. Cashflow: where can we create more short-term revenue, not where can we take money from?
  2. Reputation: where can we earn more respect (new ideas, reciprocal opportunities, return the favour), not how can I save face or pass the blame?
  3. Employees: where can we more productively deploy and offer more gratifying work to our employees, not who needs to be harangued or worse, fired?
  4. Investors: where can we display and exude greater confidence in our talent and judgement to investors such that a short-term set back, is just that, a blip on a road to riches, not a mind numbing defeat that forces investors to thrown their hands up in the air?
  5. Development: what can I learn from the treasured client’s reasons for the decision to walk away that I can apply for the future benefit of the firm (better client communication), its’ existing clients (prioritising investment) and our prospects (market positioning)?

© James Berkeley 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Just An Illusion

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

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Is this a shot from your evening last night, soon to be posted on your instaGLAM account? Today a great many executives, managers, investors and board members are busy trying to be someone that they are not. Fact. They are instantly recognisable by the disparity between the image that they project and what others see.

At a small intimate event last night in London with David Nish, the past CEO of Standard Life and this week appointed as a Non-Executive Director at  HSBC, we discussed the dynamics and consequences of this behaviour.

The dynamics and behaviour are largely the same in businesses of every size. Individuals are prone to projecting views without hard evidence or strong anecdotal information (shout loudest). They are poor listeners (routinely ignore vital feedback). They lack sufficient self-worth in their own talent and judgement (resort to bolstering their credentials with references to famous names). They have a poor level of self-esteem (they are dismissive of others success). They are prone to passive aggressive behaviour to project superiority (constant one-upmanship). They are prone to excessive exaggeration or downright lies about their own success (false claims in bios, CV’s/Resumes). We’ve all met them at various points in our career.

The consequences differ based on the size, priorities and complexity of the organisation. Here are some observations from my own experiences:

An inability to effect a management buyout of a small or family business, where the Founder’s behaviour results in management never acquiring the skills, traits or expertise to run the business in his or her absence.

A loss of respect for a private investor’s judgement amongst their peers and future co-investment opportunities when they make wild, unfounded claims to be invested in the “next unicorn“. Ridiculous, of course but sadly all too often true.

Raging management distrust in the Board when a non-executive director relays unsubstantiated “insider” claims from a key client, institutional investor or employees about the manager’s negative performance without hard evidence or strong anecdotal information.

A destruction of goodwill amongst analysts and the media when the newly appointed CEO of an investment bank, self-invested with “superman” powers, promises near instant changes to the business model that his predecessors have taken decades to create.

The world is littered with people trying to be someone that they are not. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter couldn’t survive if that human need dissipated. We all have a reputation that precedes us in the hyper-connected world we live in. Reinvention, acquiring new skills and educating others is something that we must constantly commit to but without absolute credibility (tangible results and visible behaviour), it is just an illusion.

© James Berkeley 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Tell The Truth: You Don’t Know Your Clients Well

Monday, February 15th, 2016

We think we know our clients but many of us are kidding ourselves or unwilling to be intellectually honest. If the objective is to profitably grow our business, we can help ourselves by having a finer understanding of the logic and emotion that drives our clients’ decision-making. I am talking about the individuals with the ability to approve, fund, veto or set major strategic initiatives for their organisations and the tactics to implement it.

You don’t accomplish that in a mid or large client organisation by placing yourself in a subservient position to a Risk Manager, an HR Director or a mid level banker. When did they last sit in, and contribute to, the firm’s strategy meeting? How would they be privy to the inner most thoughts of the firm’s top management, the Board and its’ owners? How would they be in a position to influence those individuals’ decisions?

If you must exclusively hang out with these shared service experts or mid-level managers consider the risks. You are placing your future well-being and financial condition at the behest of individuals, who rarely get “air time” with the ultimate decision-maker(s). They have a vague understanding of the competing priorities in the executive office. You are left to sort through the information they wish to share with you, their interpretation of events and their biases. So what is the alternative?

Shoot For The Top.

A senior figure at a Big Four consulting practice admitted to me “I sit across the table from C-level execs all the time but I don’t really know them.” Another, Vice-Chair of a market-leading brokerage and advisory firm, revealed how distant he and his colleagues are from the strategic decision-making process at major European insurance companies, yet they have billion dollar trading relationship. Faced with increased competitive threats, both individuals talked about the increasingly precarious position their organisations are in. In both cases, the businesses haven’t placed sufficient accountability on key people to build relationships with the right people and provide them with immediate and impressive value. Rather they have stayed in the transactional layer of the firm, cultivating relationships with mid level managers, convincing themselves that getting closer to these individuals will enhance their well-being (improved top line revenue, happier clients, stronger brand).

Getting There Fast.

Here is what my best clients do,

  1. Identify who those key people are in Board, ownership and management positions that you ideally need a relationship with to exploit exciting and anticipated needs?
  2. Who do they hang out with? (peers, friends, acquaintances, media and so forth)
  3. Where and with whom do they like to be seen? (professional, personal interests, charity etc.)
  4. Where do they speak, publish and support events?
  5. What are they passionate about? (hobbies, innovation, people and so forth)
  6. How might you meet them and increase your prospects of establishing a peer level relationship? (referral, charitable or professional association boards, shared experiences etc.)
  7. How might you provide immediate value? (a name, an idea, a sponsor, a success practice and so forth)
  8. How might you parlay that into a continuous conversation with reciprocal value? (each time you meet, you both leave with exciting ideas and impressive value, looking ahead to the next social or business gathering)

I find there are a great many people who “get” and studiously study the logic. However they fail due to poor credibility (entry path, lack of substance), an inability to build a rapport (intellect, social skills and chemistry weak) or a lack of trust in themselves (blow up the relationship with their transactional buyer). They can be coached or mentored but many are reluctant or their boss doesn’t see it as a priority. Lo and behold the organisation will forever be at risk to client strategic decisions that it has zero control over and an unwillingness to influence.

© James Berkeley 2016. All Rights Reserved.

 

Eccentric Behaviour

Friday, January 8th, 2016

I love living in London because you sees displays of eccentric human behaviour that defy all logic but are in equal measure very funny. This morning I hopped on a London bus in a rainy Mayfair to be followed in by a well-spoken English gentleman struggling to haul a 7 ft loosely bubble-wrapped, early 19th Century British masterpiece procured from an eminent Bond Street gallery. The sought of place where the red dots on the gallery wall demand a large five or six figure sum. Poor man, wouldn’t his budget stretch to hailing a taxi or the Gallery’s to delivering the piece to his home or workplace?

When we deliver services to our clients, do we seek to save pennies (demand our people spend no more than £25 on a bottle of wine at dinner) or promote overly cumbersome client processes (onboarding) for no good reason, after we have been paid pounds? Is our mindset and self-talk one of abundant opportunity or desperately fearing poverty? Is that reflected correctly in how we ask our people to behave and act with our clients’ best interests at heart (exemplars, policies and procedures)? You would be surprised how often that there is a huge misalignment, which instantly dilutes client and employee trust and weakens loyalty to top management and the firm.

© James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Maintaining High Growth Mindset

Monday, June 15th, 2015

When a trusted colleague refers a talented individual to you, is your default position to offer them a warm welcome or to immediately state copious reasons why you don’t have the need or money without listening to them? The former is a classic example of a high growth vs. a low growth mindset.

In industry sectors where convergent forces (new sources of capital, technology and distribution etc) are increasing the amount of uncertainty and competitive threats, Boards and executives would be wise to look out for these behavioural dispositions in their key people, understand the cause, take appropriate action and reinforce the desired behaviour.

If left unchecked, this low growth behaviour permeates throughout the business, future clients and employees are turned off and top line revenue growth stalls even faster.

Copyright James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.

20th or 21st Century Business

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Many executives and managers in financial services, insurance, professional services, private equity and so forth presume that they have to go to great lengths to stand out from the crowd with their clients. I am telling you that isn’t true. Look around at your colleagues, peers, business partners, advisers, competitors and clients behaviour. How many of them regularly exhibit attitudes and behaviour that are informed by 20th Century operating beliefs some fifteen years into the new millennium?

In another breathe they quite casually pull out the latest iPhone, Blackberry or tablet device. By any rational count they are hyper-connected. They simply don’t choose to make their clients or customers THEIR priority. They hide behind the “shared” belief that their lack of responsiveness is reasonable and appropriate.

Pick your favourite:

“Sorry I am travelling I will need to call you when I get back from my trip” (are you telling me you have no access by phone, voicemail or email? Are you really in Mongolia?)

“Can you speak to my Assistant she manages my calendar/diary” (is your Assistant in charge of your life?)

“I am in meetings today, I’ll get back to you” (do you really not have 15 minutes to respond via phone or email?)

“He/She is in a meeting, can you send them details via email” (are you seriously suggesting an alternative that demands both of you accept a significant delay and greater labour intensity to decipher an issue that could be solved in one three minute call today?)

There is a perception in many business advisory sectors that a powerful brand = greater responsiveness. I have recently conducted a straw pole of senior executives in Top 5 global businesses in insurance, private banking, executive search and advertising amongst other sectors suggesting a genuine potential client opportunity.

The least responsive sector quite humorously is the executive search business. The average response is 7.5 working days! Well done Odgers, Korn Ferry, Heidrich and Russell Reynolds, you are joint winners of the “Global Customer Disservice Award” (GCDA). There are a great many other global brands who would be appalled at the behaviour of their senior and key executives.

Next time your colleagues tell you “it is tough to compete with XXX, they have such a powerful brand”, caution them that clients buy from individuals who are highly responsive to their needs.

There is a high probability that you can establish a competitive advantage if you focus on customising your people and systems tightly to your customers’ self-interest. You don’t need to be selling some predictive analytic tool, overly complex technology or big data process. You need common sense and enthusiasm.

Copyright James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Competitive Pressure Alone Rarely Driving M&A

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Observing merger and acquisition activity often resembles an expectant Mother waiting for her kids to get engaged, you wait an age and then a clutch of announcements arise in a very brief time period. The logic of “competitive pressure” drives friends and acquaintances of the family to pass comment, however, ill informed on “how many of their friends are getting married” (need), “how it is about time” (urgency), “how in love they are” (trust) or “how they can now afford to get married” (money). Of course, many of these unsolicited comments are more for the benefit of the speaker than the person they are directed to. My point is that logical reasoning alone rarely causes top management to act. Unless you understand the emotional priorities of top management and their shareholders, you will rarely understand what has motivated them to move on the opportunity. They won’t reveal their emotional objectives unless you first have established a trusting relationship and secondly, you have the social, intellectual and language skills to interact as a “peer”.

Look at the global insurance sector, where the logic dictates that competitive pressure (excess supply of capital and declining demand from buyers) will drive suitors into each others arms at record speed. I have sat with senior executives and an abundance of financial advisers over the past 12-18 months, all shouting from the rooftops that M&A was inevitable. Ask them “who” explicitly, “when” and “why”, and they start shuffling nervously with vague pronouncements.

 

My observation is that the same rules apply as in human relationships:

 

  1. Most people don’t know what goes on inside someone’s relationship and the impact on their hopes and dreams. Be very careful who you listen to.
  2. You must be on the “inside” to credibly past comment (you have a peer level trusting relationship with all parties), otherwise your opinion is largely worthless.
  3. Competitive pressure makes people “think” about change but it does not alone cause them to take action
  4. Action is a result of the level of trust and confidence that the “acquired” party has built up that their best interests (power, influence, legacy, promotion and so on) will be served by combining with the acquirer.  It is about people, not organisations, spending time together in each other’s company and willingly sharing their emotional imperatives. It is about moving at a speed that is most appropriate for BOTH parties. It is about above reaching conceptual agreement that the combination of their respective “pasts” (expertise, knowledge, history and so on) will enhance their ability to transform their respective futures (happier clients, improved image, more powerful brand, greater profit and so on). It is about a shared belief that the journey to the desired future is planned and will not have catastrophic consequences.  This is why “forced” combinations rarely work with strong and dynamic businesses in conservative sectors (insurance, professional services, wealth management etc).

Contrast two such proposed transactions in 2014, the substance and style of John Charman’s increasingly aggressive pursuit of Aspen and this week’s proposal by Mike McGavick and Stephen Catlin to combined XL and Catlin.

If you were to ask yourself why both deals might make sense? You might reasonably state “competitive pressure” (changes to current and anticipated market needs).

If you were to ask yourself what would it  take for both parties to get married? You might reasonably state that both management teams had established sufficient trust and confidence in each other’s ability (competency and passion) to make it work (alleviate or even gain from the competitive pressure) and in so doing accomplish their emotional priorities.

If you were to ask yourself will it be a success? You almost certainly couldn’t give a definitive answer without knowing firstly, “What are the critical elements in McGavick and Catlin’s emotional priorities?” Next, “What changes to those critical elements could we reasonably anticipate ?” and finally, “How easily could the cause be eliminated or action taken to minimise the impact and live with the problem?” For example, if one of Stephen Catlin’s emotional priorities as the Company’s founder is to “leave a lasting legacy for our clients and employees”, the critical elements might be perceived trust, integrity and consistency. If post the merger or sale, the new management team change the Sales Incentive Plan to emphasise increased short-term top line revenue growth in specialty business, it is quite possible the effect is a dramatic increase in the churning of clients and greater attrition among long-term Catlin clients. Alternatively, if there is a decision to merge or close the Catlin underwriting hubs in one or more location, it is quite possible there will be an uptick in Catlin’s best people deciding their futures are better served in other firms.  The question is then how quickly and effectively could XL Catlin eliminate the cause or mitigate the impact on their clients and employees, and in so doing accomplish Stephen Catlin’s legacy objective.

As an investor, customer, employee, business partner, competitor and so on, you have no option but to apply good judgement and common sense in answering those questions.

For most marriages are rarely without strife and we cannot predict the future accurately.

© James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Making Sense of High Tech In A Regulated World

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Why do so many managers, investors and Boards in financial services and insurance find the process of evaluating and making wise decisions about technology investments so darn difficult? After all, they probably spend more time “living” with some form of technology than their partner or children.

I was reminded of this in three separate conversations recently with the COO of a mid-sized global insurance company, a Private Equity Operating Partners community and the Head of the UK’s Wealth Management regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

All three agreed that the speed of technological advancement and the resulting impact on firms’ business models is likely to be the biggest catalyst for businesses to raise professional standards, transparency and the customer experience. Nothing like the fear of losing clients, key people or being labelled increasingly “irrelevant” to your future customers, to move money rapidly towards upgrading skills and technology.

Where I observe key decision-makers get lost is the conversation meanders towards how to use the technology (the inputs, the “cool” images and so on), not the outcomes (results) it achieves.

Try answering these three questions:

  1. We have the correct level of accountability within the organisation to enable the technology to dramatically enhance the relationship with our target clients and their dealings with our firm (legacy systems, silos, CRM systems, internal compliance etc)
  2. We demonstrably have people today (or we can hire them quickly) with the skills and volition to apply the new technology effectively and efficiently to our target clients’ needs. In so doing, dramatically increasing the quality of the target clients’ outcomes (increased revenues, increased productivity, increased peace of mind) while reducing the time taken, and the risks of meeting or exceeding their expectations.
  3. Our target clients with minimum assistance are able to quickly grasp the degree to which they are better served and personally better supported by the new technology. Client’s good deal = (Tangible Benefits over the duration + Intangible Benefits x impact on their well-being + Supplemental Benefits) / Investment Required.

So the investors, Board and top management of a health insurance company, who is considering a $10M investment in a new “tele-health” tool for a worldwide group of executive travellers, providing “real time” access to a  General Practitioner, they would want to readily see hard evidence or strong anecdotal reports from the firm’s research stating some or all of the following before committing to the investment.

  1.  Tangible benefits: increased speed of responding to and resolving health conditions, increased productivity, reduced time procuring treatment, greater accuracy and less duplication exchanging  information with the patient’s “home” doctor, reduced costs of healthcare expenses etc.
  2. Intangible benefit: increased peace of mind for the executive and his/her next of kin, increased reassurance about the quality and accuracy of the healthcare advice, less stress and so on.
  3. Supplemental Benefits: improved image for the employer, more fulfilled executives willing to travel to remote and hazardous locations, repeat business (new user groups within the same client or in different geographies demanding the same tool), unsolicited and solicited referrals to their peers with similar needs and so on.

If you cannot unequivocally state you are “highly” confident to each of the above questions, you have ground to cover before signing off on any proposed investment in new technology.

Technology is a tremendous boon in enhancing the customer experience in a regulated world (stopping fraud, speed of making electronic payments, accessing real time valuations) but in equal measure it can erode customer loyalty at lightning speed (automated telephone banking systems, overzealous ATM fraud protection protocol etc.).

Think about the client experience you want to see, feel and hear. Understand the impact the new technology has in enhancing the relationship and your dealings with your target clients . Never allow technology to replace the relationship with the client.

 

© James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Who Owns The Client

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

When corporate advisory firms think of “ownership of the client”, we largely think in terms of “economic” (key account holder) or “legal” (the firm and its’ shareholders) ownership. Yet we largely overlook the fact that the Client increasingly “owns” the relationship with our key people and our firm today. Shouldn’t we first increase the potential that the Client’s interests are strongly aligned with that of the firm and its’ key employees if we are to profitably grow?

In an age where clients have greater access to competitor information, an ability to check the cost of services and an ability to establish the degree of a firm’s credibility (word-of–mouth) in a very brief time period, firms need to forget “customer-centric” rubrics or allow onerous regulations to supercede this priority.  They need to think of themselves as a “customer-owned” business that provides tremendous value and huge levels of excitement. What does that firm look like and what must we ask ourselves:

  1. Who are our ideal customers, why is it attractive to have a relationship with them and them with us?
  2. Our value proposition needs to succinctly state why we are the first choice of our customers. “We are uniquely positioned to provide _________________ (our target client) with unprecedented levels of _________ (results).”
  3. How do we best attract them to our business and our business best attracts them to our firm. Which marketing tactics are most effective and efficient for which customers? (networking, speaking, referrals)
  4. How do we best communicate with them in a time (service standards) and a manner (in-person, phone, email) that best suits them?
  5. How do we leverage technology to enable a more impressive relationship and rapid responsiveness for our customers’ existing (strategy) and anticipated needs (global expansion)?
  6. How do we assemble our people and client groups to accelerate, not hinder both the quality and speed of the interaction (resolution of an issue and/or transfer of skills and knowledge) with our firm and their dealings?
  7. How do leverage our success with our customers to reinvest in our firm and provide even more impressive outcomes (referrals, testimonials, case studies, learning experiences, joint promotional opportunities)
  8. How do we attract better quality employees who want to provide our customers with even more impressive results? (use our clients as evangelists for attracting talent from our competitors)
  9. How do we know the interests of our clients, our firm and our people are increasingly aligned? (unsolicited referrals, unsolicited requests, strong anecdotal evidence, client feedback)
  10. How do we know that a “stronger bond” with our customers is financially beneficial to the organisation? (increased repeat business, shorter closing times, negligible acquisition costs, lower labour intensity, higher profit margins, improved image)

Decision-making in advisory firms today remains largely driven by a need to satisfy the demands of shareholders and key people. Yet there is no more impressive way to appeal to those individuals’ self-interest than first, keeping the clients’ happy. Recognising that over time the clients you are minded to keep happy are the relationships that you want to “own” in future, not the “past”. When you hear someone talking about how we need to be more client-centric, escape the empty gesture and ask yourself, how do we fair with the above questions and where do we need to take action now?

© James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved.

 

Are You Thinking What I Was Thinking II

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
  • The ice bucket challenge, another “fad” (like TQM, Lean, Big Data) that starts with the strand of a good idea, grows to a point in the wider public consciousness that it steadily loses its’ resonance and ends up disappearing into a vortex of dullness
  • We search for more one-of-a-kind holiday experiences that bring us closer to the great (changing seasons, unexplored oceans, diverse animals) and the bad (windstorms, disease, life-threatening interactions) of nature. Yet our beliefs about those who put themselves in harm’s way or disrupt nature have yet to adapt at the same speed. So we are shocked about shark attacks (Australia), shipwrecked pleasure craft (Indonesia) and whole countries exposed to Ebola.
  • We overvalue “potential” (Snapchat, Alibaba) and we undervalue “results” (Apple, 3M, Coca Cola)
  •  Surrounded by jihadists (Middle East), regional conflicts (Ukraine), religious civil war (Syria), earthquakes (California), and cyber attacks (JP Morgan), we are in a period of impressive financial prosperity and abundant opportunities  in many mature economies (Dow, FTSE and Hang Seng nearing or at all-time highs). You wouldn’t get that turning on the television news or flicking through most newspapers.
  • Financial analyst, Abigail Doolittle, warns that the stock market could be heading for a “scary” 60% crash without a greater impetus to raise interest rates in the G8 (sorry, G7 without our Russian friends). How many analysts, economists and forecasters get fired if their assumption is wrong? Zero. Why should we take notice if no one is held to account?
  • We have greater financial regulation, capital and human resource deployed to compliance in the financial services sector today than at any point in history. Yet we have greater incidence of alleged and actual wrongdoing (South Korean banks inter rate rigging, Wall Street banks subprime wrongdoing, RBS mortgage advice to name but several firms currently “in the dock”). Isn’t it time that those banging the drum loudest for change (politicians, the media, regulators and electorates) focus on changes that see bankers own self-interests (career development, health and well being) met in the proposed changes?
  • We lionise popstars (Bieber), models (Cara Delevigne), politicians (Obama), business executives (Prince Al Waleed) and sports stars (Beckham) way too fast and are “astonished” when their human failings tarnish our image of them.
  • Cries of alarm about excess capital (foreign or non-traditional sources) buying up businesses, real estate and so on is largely a good thing. Competition  in capitalist societies has accelerated re-invention and innovation, enabling customers and clients to buy in new ways, to access resources in new ways and enhancing our experience. Why, the alarm?
  • The “past” has seen firms encourage their best people to learn more and more about less and less (niche expertise), the “future” will see firms encourage their best people to learn more and more about more and more (generalist expertise). In a fast changing world, our ability to rapidly adapt our competence and passion to existing and anticipated market needs, will determine our success or failure.
  • We have more communication tools in business today than at any point in the past, yet we have more people who know less about the range of competencies a firm has and its’ ability to provide tremendous results for its’ client base.
  • Most corporate organisations talk about life-balance and the steps they have undertaken to improve their employees’ lives in grand sweeping statements. The reality is that few employees have truly found the correct balance for long. Why? The initiatives are largely reactive, not proactive.
  • We have become addicted to “high tech” (online, social , mobile, desktop) but we have rarely integrated it well with “high touch” (a seminal customer experience). Those few firms that have been successful are largely to be found in the consumer retail space (Apple, Uber, Citimapper, Spotify). How many firms that serve corporate customers can you put in the same category?
  • Our use of technology is increasingly passed off as an excuse (“I didn’t see you there”) for a lack of manners and human kindness (public transport in London, New York, Paris, Hong Kong). We are increasingly allowing ourselves to be unhealthily selfish to one another, yet we are choosing to live and work in greater numbers and closer proximity to each other. Something has to give.
  • When you last received a written thank you letter or a note of appreciation, did its’ rare occurrence,  create  a far more lasting impression and an urge to prioritise a future time and date to meet again? When we want to create impressive entries into important prospects, clients, clubs or associations, sometimes we need to look back, not forward in how we choose to communicate with those individuals if we want to stand apart from the crowd.
  • Our decision to “hide” behind email, has more to do with our own fears and less to do with the fact that we will elicit a timely and positive response. If business leaders and employees don’t address the cause of that fear, we increasingly dilute our productivity and our own “worth” to the firm and our clients’ future.
  • We have created more titles in firms today than at any point since the beginning of not WWII but WWI. Yet understanding the value that individual brings to bear on the prosperity of the firm and its’ clients is with rare exception less easily understood by a firm’s key constituents (customers, shareholders, business partners, employees) than at any point in the past. The net result, is that the investment in establishing people’s credibility with those people it wishes to influence, has never been higher. Almost all mid and large-sized businesses could eliminate 20% of all titles, the associated pay and perks, and the impact would be immense and immediate on the bottom line. It doesn’t happen largely because the ego and belief systems of top management won’t allow it to happen.

© James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved.