"Networking is the most important soft skill in the professional services sector where your main resource is your people."
andrew hooke, pa chief operating officer
PA Consulting Group’s chief operating officer, Andrew Hooke, is quoted in an article in the Financial Times Executive Appointments report. Andrew shares his view on the importance of intelligent networking.
Andrew explains that PA ensures networking is a continuing core competence: “Networking is the most important soft skill in the professional services sector where your main resource is your people.
“It’s a feature we crave – interesting people with curiosity. I’ve been here 17 years and since the day I started, I’ve been encouraged to develop my own thought leadership.
“Even at induction stage, we stress that consultants need to show thought leadership in their market. We’re not looking just for research but immediate response. For example, PA’s viewpoint on the implications of the recent Great Western rail franchise was published 24 hours after the announcement was made.
“People should develop a wide, as well as a deep, network of contacts, at all levels. At PA we emphasise ‘making the connect’ – this is the point of common interest that allows you to connect to your audience to commence the relationship or strengthen it. ‘Making the connect’ can be personal as well as professional.
“Our senior people develop ‘visibility plans’ to show how they will nurture contacts with the next level above and to plan the journey to the top. We emphasise ‘giving’, too, reminding PA people that giving creates a different environment and feeling to the relationship or discussion. This need not be a business proposition – you can offer to help someone you meet, perhaps with a useful contact or point of view.
“Many organisations can be very controlling so it is important to trust your people to have an opinion. We help our people develop storytelling skills to bolster the clarity of their message and use professional actors to improve presentation skills during improvisation sessions. After all, facts tell but stories sell.”
You can read the article in full here.
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