Doing more with what you have

I have had a lot of demand for teaching over the last few weeks and some very interesting new bookings next year. While I have been speaking to some very different groups recently from HND students considering their next move to independent consultants looking to expand their business a constant theme has been making better use of what we already know.

With the IT students at Carnegie College we considered active listening and ways of analysing large quantities of information in order to make more considered decisions using SWOT analysis and De Bono’s Six Hats. The students were quickly able to pull together the information already available to them and to assess exactly what further information if any they needed. Through active listening they were able to understand that they were in fact being given more information than they were always taking on board. It is hoped that they will be able to use these techniques to help them make choices regarding future academic studies and job opportunities.

My recent networking award has attracted interest from surprising quarters and I have been invited to speak to others about how to do it successfully. I can thoroughly recommend giving presentations to the hospitality industry-not only does it seem to employ the most extrovert and delightful people but in addition they do feed you rather well! During a recent session we looked at some of the practicalities of attending networking meetings but we also conducted a couple of exercises in developing opportunities beyond the people in the room and their profession by looking at their other interests and experiences and how this could be applied to people already within their network. All the people attending the session already knew each other and some had worked together for some time however in the course of a 10 minute exercise everyone was able to find out interesting aspects about their colleagues that they did not know before and a number of quite easy to pursue business opportunities were flushed out. Again everything they needed to know was already available to them, it was just a matter of asking the right questions to bring these opportunities are to the fore.

I also did a session for an association of independent consultants in London. They had wanted a session on intellectual property and in particular how this should be addressed in their contracts. This can be a real issue where consultants are given access to the information and technologies of the party engaging them and are asked to come up with a solution to a particular problem. To what extent can they use the ideas they have developed under one contract to solve similar problems for others? We looked at a number of ways of dealing with this but also at another area that consultants often overlook and that is the value of their own brand and how it can be maximised. I am a great believer that many services can be treated in much the same way as products to develop a value in the consultancy beyond the identity of the individual consultant which can be capitalised on later sale or used as the basis for expansion or franchising. If this is something that interests you please do get in touch with me.

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