But it is anticipated that one thing won’t change. That’s the need for professionals working within the service sector to continue to provide an excellent customer experience if they are to retain their market share and client base.
Anna McNaughton an experienced Organisational Development Practitioner with over 20 years’ experience says that this accelerating shift towards technology means that consultants in the future will need to refine their people skills around emotional intelligence, creativity, critical thinking and complex problem solving. Enhancement of these qualities will be the difference a consultant needs to stand out from the crowd of high tech users. While Anna acknowledges that data and automation make our day to day lives easier, they shouldn’t come at the expense of people skills. Both are required within a successful business culture. Anna is adamant that professionals within the architectural design community need to work on these skills now, and future proof their business to make sure that they are ready for this cultural shift.
For those people that struggle with those “softer” skills, identification of a “translator” could be a useful tool to investigate - someone within the business that can make sure everyone is on the same page.
“Future proofing now, means making sure this range of skills exists within your business but it’s also important to make sure you have strength in those core interpersonal skills that cannot be replaced. Business needs to be customer centric and that includes excelling at things like emotional intelligences. I tell clients to listen to their customers, then listen some more and once you’ve done that, listen again to make sure you have truly understood and picked up on all the cues. Too often people are thinking of and formulating the answer before fully understanding the client’s requirements. Listening helps build rapport and trust meaning that you have a more honest working relationship with your client resulting in better outcomes and enhancing your reputation,” says Anna.
A customer centric vision can also mean having difficult conversations with a client. Challenging their brief if its not quite on the button of what their ultimate goal will be. By making these hard calls a designer is operating in a true partnership space with their client meaning that the result should be even better than expected.
Anna details the three core components of consultancy management including:
• delivering quality outcomes for clients
• running the business on a day to day basis
• being strategic.
Business owners cannot take their eye off any one of those outcomes and still expect success.
“Often running the business on a day to day basis takes precedence so owners need to take time to reflect, strategise and review. Regular business review periods should include asking a series of questions around what is working and what isn’t, what clients are saying and more importantly what they are not saying and what’s in the pipeline and can you cope? I also always encourage people to allow time for a passion project – the thing you really get out of bed for and make you a better client partner and business owner!”
Anna will be sharing knowledge on future proofing a business at sessions throughout NZ.
Click the links below to register:
1 McKinsey Global Institute Nov 2017