My early career was spent in the world of media, and I became involved in management training after completing the Sloan Fellowship at London Business School. So I bring to my training activities a wealth of experience in business communication gained over a career in publishing, branding and new business development. I was Brand Development Director for illustrated publisher Dorling Kindersley, and Brand Liaison Director for the Superbrands organisation. I also have over 15 years’ experience publishing books, magazines and partworks and have created, edited and managed consumer publications on subjects ranging from gardening to interior design for major household names such as Reader’s Digest, HarperCollins and Time Life Books.
During my time at London Business School, one of the key concepts on the Operations Management course was that of ‘order qualifiers’ versus ‘order winners’: the difference between the things that get you, your product or service on to the ‘pitch list’, and the ones that actually get you the business. Many professionals pride themselves on teaching or having the hard skills to get the job done, but so often these technical skills (creating a business plan, understanding intellectual property issues, pricing a bond option) are actually only ‘order qualifiers’. They get you through the door, but everyone else standing in line for the business can also demonstrate those same skills. The truth is that where business is actually won and lost is often through the successful application of the ‘softer’ interpersonal skills that can get overlooked in the cut and thrust of our professional lives. And chief among these is professional networking – the ability to build relationships of trust.
As a result, I co-founded Management Advantage (www.ManAdvan.com), a training consultancy which specialises in teaching those soft skills. We run workshops and masterclasses for companies, professional organisations, universities and business schools throughout the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
I connected the two strands of my expertise by publishing, together with my colleague Tony Newton, The Network Effect, A practical guide to making – and keeping – the connections that can make your world go round.