As the CEO of a boutique BCM consulting firm, I am responsible for the global leadership to the entire set of industry practices and horizontal capabilities within our organization. Building the firm over the last 16 years from just my laptop and me to an international consulting firm has been quite the adventure.
So I got myself to think over the past years, if our company were on the stock market how valuable would we be to our shareholders? What characteristics would make our company more valuable over time? Are we executing on these characteristics in a consistent manner? How do I heighten awareness and achievement in these key characteristics?
So, you make ask, how does this apply to me as a BCM Manager? In my humble opinion, you should run your organization like a company. It’s your company and your shareholders are your internal customers. You have a brand whether you like it or not, it may be positive or negative. BCM engages every facet of an organization; programs today must be high performing in a number of key areas:
Do you know your customers? Working across the vast spectrum of industries and clients, we have had to learn to quickly understand the client and their culture. Working in a hi-tech startup environment is a lot different than working in an insurance company that has been in business for over 100 years. Know your customers, their culture and their quirks. Figure out what makes them tick and how you can get the best out of them. Some may require more hand holding than others; some will do it with little supervision or oversight.
Whether you believe it or not, your BCM program has a brand identity associated with it. What words would your stakeholders use to describe your program? Would they say it innovative, consistent and easy to use or would they say it’s complicated, lacks direction and wastes their time? We work hard to build a brand characterized by passion, consistency, timeliness, value for the investment and, most importantly, guaranteed results.
Does your team have a passion for what it does? Is this passion exhibited when you work with your stakeholders? You need passion to bring enthusiasm to not only your team but also your stakeholders, as the subject of BCM is not something most people jump and down about. Do your best to get your stakeholders passionate about BCM and how it benefits them and the organization. I love to hear when our customers say our consultants have a passion for what they do; it comes out in everything they do and bleeds over to the customer. Find people who have passion; it will yield great results.
Do you provide the same, day in and day out consistency of service to your stakeholders? Or is it, hit and miss depending on the day and person providing the service? Stakeholders don’t want to deal with inconsistency, as their time is so limited. As we have grown at MHA, we have worked hard to bring people and processes that ensure a consistent approach in providing all facets of our BCM services. You have to ensure consistency in approach, methodology, timing and customer service. Inconsistency yields unhappy customers in the long run.
I am a highly competitive person in my personal and professional endeavors. I strive to bring that competitiveness to my organization and the people we hire. We have grown tremendously over the years and it’s been due to our competitiveness and desire to improve. Success breeds more success but it can also breed entitlement and complacency. You have to be thinking not just about this year but 2 years down the road. Don’t let your program become stale, work to improve it, day after day, week after week, year over year. Miniscule improvements can yield Mt. Everest like success over time.
Are you communicating regularly with your stakeholders using multiple channels? We have learned that keeping in touch with our stakeholders and our staff is critical to our success. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind”. Communicate to your stakeholders regularly using email, electronic newsletters, phone calls, onsite visits, etc. Not everyone will read them but some will; it will heighten the exposure of your brand. We do our best to maintain positive contact with our clients using multiple channels on a regular basis. My Dad taught me that the best exposure is the personal visit; the chance to hear what your customer has to say (good or bad) and shake his/her hand. In the end, it comes down to the relationship.
As I have said before, the biggest problem we have seen in BCM programs is not the approach and methodology being used but the lack of leadership by the BCM Manager. To coordinate the efforts of team members and guide a strategic vision for a brand, someone has to step up and steer the ship. You have to be an expert motivator and know how to maximize the strengths of different team members. Learning how to step back, lead and motivate team members took me some time to learn. You need to know where you sit your people on the bus to make the journey successful but also where to move them or, worst case, have them get off at the next stop. I have learned I am more valuable to the organization providing global leadership and direction than I am engaged in each and every engagement.