If your company does not have a "Business Development Culture" what can you do?
If your industry is changing and you know that your firm must adjust to the new realities of marketing, business development and social media, what can you do?
If nobody in your business seems to know or care that you competition is gaining traction, what can you do?
You can lead by example!!!
One person can be the catalyst for change inside a company of skeptics wearing blinders. I spoke to a professional the other day who said his firm was in need of a business development make-over. He is convinced that they are not getting all the business they could, yet they are successful, despite themselves. He sees changes happening and competitors gaining traction, meanwhile clients are seeing their services as a commodity.
He talked to his partners about hiring a consultant to help them assess their client development and branding issues, and they laughed at him. He said that it was almost painful to see his partners be so arrogant and self assured. He has worked with them for six years, and admired the business they built (he joined the firm as a lateral hire from a more progressive competitor), but he was shocked at their lack of understanding of basic business practices, and the power of social media and other marketing efforts. His partners are convinced that good work alone will continue to provide a robust pipeline.
He has decided to quit fighting, and instead he is going to work on expanding his own brand in the business community. He is investing his own money on a business coach and will begin to expand his personal brand. However, he is not going to share his efforts with his co-workers. He no longer feels his partnership is one where everyone has a voice at the table. His partners are 100% convinced they are right and will not entertain any other point of view. He believes that bringing the topic up again will undermine his standing in the firm.
He sees changes happening in his industry, and wants to position his value with clients, referral sources and competitors (for future employment) independent of his current firm. In the sea of changes he wants to ensure he has options in the future. He thinks a train is leaving the station and his firm has not bought a ticket.
I assured him that in addition to building his personal brand, when he hits his goals in business development efforts, that his partners will notice his success. Nothing speaks as loud as victory. In his industry people are judged directly by the money they can bring into the firm. If his billings go up, then others will notice.
Rather than fighting the naysayers around you, educate them through your actions. Invest the time to create your own personal and professional brand. Become a beacon for action and do not passively sit on the sidelines. Many industries are still strained from the recession, and changes are happening around everyone. This is not the time to stick your head in the sand.
Have A Great Day.