Posts Tagged ‘contacts’

Uncommon Leverage

Friday, March 17th, 2017



On a small number of occasions, I am in a position to, and I have the volition to introduce one of my clients (corporate executive or a HNW private investor) to another member of my global professional communities. My litmus test is a belief that there is a high potential of a mutually-rewarding relationship, formal or informal. My motivation is reciprocal value. The two-way goodwill and value generated between the client and member of my global processional community and both parties with me.

Sometimes there is an immediate reward (a referral, an offer of help or a polite thank you) and on other occasions, a longer-term reward (consideration paid for the value created, more referrals and other non-financial benefits).  I’d say less than 5% of my global communities (circa 2,500 people) ask for my help, unprompted. Of those perhaps only 30% reciprocate with a non-financial reward (referral, reciprocal help, thank you). Less than 20% provide unsolicited feedback on the accuracy of my suggestion and the results that unfolded after the introduction. Only 10% ask for further help unprompted (introductions to others). Yet here is some examples of the reciprocal value created amongst members of my communities with my help in the past 12 months:

  • CEO of a mid-sized European hospitality company introduced to seller of hotel chain, valued at £162M
  • US restaurant franchising business introduced to 6 potential strategic franchising partners in the EMEA region
  • Assertive US buyer of  high growth insurance businesses, introduced to 4 potential sellers, 2 advanced negotiations
  • Asian Family Office introduced to 14 target businesses and 4 direct/co-investors in US and Europe
  • Global insurance executive introduced to 3 new career roles and 4 potential NED roles
  • Publisher of leading financial publication introduced to 3 sponsors and 7 contributors
  • Leading European private equity event host introduced to 3 speakers, and event promoted to 350 potential attendees
  • Real estate advisory firm introduced to 6 sellers of off-market assets totalling $1.9bn
  • Family Office direct investor introduced to 11 potential co-investors
  • 14 high growth entrepreneurs introduced to 33 investors, 4 providers of serviced office space, 22 bankers, 11 lawyers, 14 accountants, 4 graphic designers, 2 web designers and 22 other advisers.

My point here is there are “high potential” people in all our contact databases, who can, and in the right circumstances, have the volition to provide you tremendous reciprocal value. What is there to fear? We know them personally or professionally, we may have spoken this week or perhaps 3 years ago. They have helped others, and you have helped others. They have risen to where they are because they had the volition to ask for help, why should you be any any different? They are not providing reciprocal value to you because

  • In 90% of occasions, you haven’t asked them or in the right way.
  • You lack the discipline and organisation to create leverage.
  • You lack the skills (what language to use) to create leverage
  • You have an attitude problem (“I am too busy”)
  • You seek comfort in pseudo “connectivity” (burgeoning connections or followers on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram) and forego nurturing real relationships (reciprocal value).
  • You don’t hold yourself accountable or accept accountability from others.

All of us have a need to grow our career, our job, our client work, our investor base, our learning and development, our lives, our personal interests and so on. For a great many that is “stop-start”. The problem is nurturing a sufficiently large group of high potential people and gaining their agreement to help (“powerful leverage”) is rarely something that can be accomplished by a shake of the reins. It needs constant nurturing daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly.

Ask yourself a simple question, “Who are the 6 people in my contact database, who can have the greatest impact on me getting to where I want to be in 12 months time?” Then, “How do I best elicit their support? (give to get). “What do I need to do more of, stop doing, do in a different way or start afresh, today?” Schedule that in you diary this week. Take action.

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

It Is Who You SHOULD Know That Is Important

Monday, October 13th, 2014

If you were asked to name the three most impressive people you know today, would they have been the same individuals you would have listed last year and probably the same three next year?  What is their key attribute (content knowledge, expertise, experience, interpersonal skills, special skills, contacts etc)?

I was reminded of this question in a discussion with friends about an individual, who has risen to the top echelon of a large global bank. When we tried to pinpoint the “cause” of his success, it was harder to point to one skill or event that dramatically changed his fortunes. Indeed, we concluded that his expertise lay in playing the political game. He continually knew or developed relationships with the “right” people.

My point here is that we make judgments about others that often don’t warrant the accolades we bestow upon themselves. Equally, we make judgments about our own lives that often belie or ignore our own success and the increasing or decreasing interest to others.  This is important because understanding who we are and how we might adapt our “past” (experience, expertise, accomplishments) to transform our employer or the clients of our employer’s “future” (stronger brand, increased sales, improved image) is essential to understanding and articulating our own self-worth. Almost everyone in the corporate arena in mid and large sized organisations has a need to reinvent or recast their worth as their firm’s strategy evolves. Yet anecdotal evidence suggests over 70% of people are so immersed in their own day to day work activities that they don’t reflect on their increasing/decreasing value to others, largely ignore who ideally has a need for that value and how to attract those individuals to them. The consequence is that they hit “unforeseen surprises” during their career (overlooked internally, for a promotion or an interesting work assignment, externally, a client give  or worse, let go from the firm). Yet many of these instances are entirely predictable.

How do you avoid these troubled waters? Give thought to the following:

1.  What are the three most impressive accomplishments, experiences, skills developed or victories and setbacks I have learned from in the past year?

2. Who has the highest need for individuals with those qualities (internally and externally)?

3. Where are they located?

4. What do they read, listen to, watch?

5. Where do they hang out (social gatherings, events, conferences and so on)?

6. How can you meet those people and when you are in their presence, how do you make an effective and enduring connection?

Forget the corporate appraisal process. Think about your answers to these questions and set yourself the task of identifying, building and exploiting these connections. Schedule time in your weekly and monthly calendars. If your three most impressive people you know are the same as last year, and the year before that you might very well find that you have ceased to become an increasing object of interest to the people you should know in your organisation and elsewhere. Don’t allow others to decide your future, do something about it yourself.

©   James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved.