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New Year's business development resolutions

As the decade draws to a close, I thought it was a good time set some New Year's Business Development Resolutions to see in 2020.


I encourage you to share them with your team – perhaps you can come up with some of your own to sit alongside them


? So they don't suffer the same fate as so many resolutions, perhaps you could think about how to make them last beyond February? One easy way is to revisit them at different points in the year.


1. I will listen

Top of the New Year’s resolution list is “I will listen”. Year in, year out, I become more convinced that at the heart of every good strategy, every good relationship, every good service delivery is the ability to listen.


In 2020, every professional should seek to listen more – to clients, to other professionals and to those from outside the sector who could provide a different perspective. I don’t mean formal listening programmes – although they have their place – but rather to introduce active listening into your team meetings, into client reviews and conversations. Make good listening a skill that everyone is expected to have and challenge what that means and looks like.


2. I will seek out people who think differently

All professionals can fall into the trap of working in silos and being surrounded by people who think in the same way and who approach problems with a similar logic. In 2020, embrace diverse thinking. Move away from “we have always done it this way” or “that’s not how we do things in this team”. Seek out diverse thinking. Brainstorm with colleagues who offer different services and who can ask questions that might shed a new light on something familiar. Hire someone who comes from a different sector to challenge the status quo. See what other sectors are doing and see if there is any best practice that you can bring to your environment.


3. I will embrace challenge

I will recognise what I need to improve on and seek out challenges to improve in that area. Professionals are required to have a toolkit that goes beyond being good at the service that is being offered. The need to understand their clients, not only to deliver a service today, but to horizon scan and meet needs that the client does not yet recognise that they have. They must be skilled at networking, presenting, writing and storytelling. Often professionals are forced outside of their skillsets. Some rise to the challenge, others seek to avoid being “found out” and avoid what it is they feel uncomfortable with.


In 2020, I challenge you to seek out opportunities to practice what it is that secretly you dread. This might be in a safe environment – such as a training course or working on a phobia with a coach. It might be offering to present to your colleagues on a topic to get you used to being in front of an audience.


The more you practice, they more you will find that it isn’t as bad as you feared.


4. Little and often rather than famine or feast

The problem with Business Development is that when you have clients there just isn’t the time. When the work draws to a close and there is a lull you jump to action and squeeze in 12 months activity into a matter of weeks. Sound familiar?


For those of you who don’t have a business development plan, for 2020, the resolution is little and often. Set aside time every week to complete some business development activity. It might be 10 minutes a day on social media or blocking out some time to regularly write articles or speak at an event. Whatever it might be, make sure that it is part of a wider strategy and remember that little and often will be more effective that the odd splurge when your diary allows.

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