Tapping Networks to Bring the Best of the Firm to Clients


Tomorrow I am presenting a keynote at the Network Roundtable conference at University of Virginia on Tapping Networks to Bring the Best of the Firm to Clients. This is the fruition of many years of work applying network analysis approaches to high-value client relationships. I will be talking about the big picture of what has been learned from a wide range of different studies of client relationship teams, and I will then hand over to Robert Burnside, Partner and Chief Learning Officer at Ketchum PR, who will discuss how Ketchum PR has been applying organizational network approaches to a number of situations, including enhancing the performance of one of their largest offices, leadership development initiatives, and their relationship with a large global client.

I usually don’t share my Powerpoint slides online, as they are primarily visual accompaniments to my speeches and don’t make much sense on their own, however in this case my presentation is far more text-based than normal and is probably is of some use to read, so I’ve put it here.

The basic story is that there are three primary networks at play in client-supplier relationships: the client relationship team, the client-supplier interface, and how the front-line sales and relationship staff access the full resources of the firm to deliver to the client. I give examples of studies and projects where clients have addressed these issues and achieved valuable outcomes in enhancing their performance. I then look at how organizational network analysis tools can be used both to increase performance at the level of the organization, and at the level of the individual client.

One of the important insights developed in the course of our research and client work has been that different network structures are appropriate depending on the maturity of the client relationship. At a high level this is not new – in my book Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships I describe the stages of client relationship development, and the different relationship team activities at each stage. However now that we are able to understand and monitor network structures in organizations, specific network-focused activities can be used to tailor relationship team structure and activities to the client. This is shown in slide 9 of the presentation.