Seven MegaTrends of Professional Services – Responding to the MegaTrends
Download the complete White Paper: The Seven MegaTrends of Professional Services
Continued from Commoditization. Full table of contents below.
Responding to the MegaTrends
The first imperative for any professional and professional services firm leader is to recognize the reality of the MegaTrends. Denial does not help. The days of working towards becoming an equity partner of a professional services firm, and then cozily tapping that sinecure until retirement, are well gone. However the changing environment, for those that work with it rather than fight it, offers the promise of intense stimulation and challenge, and even greater rewards.
There are four key action steps that professional services firms must take to respond to the seven MegaTrends.
Lead your clients into knowledge-based relationships.
If you provide services as a “black-box,” where you do something for your clients, but they do not see what is done, and you literally leave them none the wiser, it is easy for competitors to replicate what you do, and difficult for you to build meaningful relationships with your clients. You quickly become a commodity. In contrast, you can build “knowledge-based” relationships, which are founded on deep mutual knowledge of your organizations and respective expertise, and where the outcome is that clients develop capabilities and learn. This kind of relationship cannot be copied or replicated, and enables the creation of value far beyond that possible with black-box services.
Knowledge-based relationships are fundamentally about getting collaboration between professional firms and their clients, where clients truly view the relationship as a partnership. If that attitude is not present on both sides, this kind of relationship will not be possible. Professionals cannot expect their clients to have this attitude. They are responsible for leading their clients into deep, collaborative relationships, by over time demonstrating to their clients the value of being more open, discovering effective ways to work together, and drawing on the complementary expertise of the two organizations. In my book Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships: Leadership in Professional Services, recently out in its second edition, I describe in detail how to implement knowledge-based relationships in professional services firms. One of the most important aspects is the role of relationship leaders, whose responsibility for major client relationships requires a specific set of skills, attitudes, and behaviors. Their challenge is both to lead their clients into collaborative relationships, and to lead highly diverse teams of professionals to create massive value for their clients.
Table of contents
– MegaTrend 1: Client Sophistication
– MegaTrend 7: Commoditization
Responding to the MegaTrends
– Lead Your Clients into Knowledge-Based Relationships
– Build Strategic Transparency
– Create a Highly Networked Firm