I am excited to have joined beaton as a Partner based in Auckland. Please read on as I share a bit about me, my career experience and why I'm thrilled by the prospect of working with such a great brand and team at beaton.
My introduction to professional services
I've spent more than 10 years in professional services in a career spanning 20+ years and counting. Those 10 years have been with PwC in Auckland and then 6.5 enjoyable and rewarding years with Beca, NZ's largest professional services business, a 99 year-old and counting, and a Kiwi success story. As General Manager of Business Development, I hope I can say that I played a small part in Beca's impressive, ongoing growth and also the many successes in the Client Choice Awards.
I believe the client-facing roles I held before that time have given me invaluable experience that will assist in this next step in my career with beaton. I've held senior sales roles in corporate banking with ANZ and also large manufacturing businesses like Fonterra in NZ and the UK's largest brewer running successful sales teams, building client relationships and creating and executing growth plans. In short, I've been at the coalface and had a great time doing it.
Clients have a few things in common
I often think that it's tempting for businesses to over-complicate things; whether its professional services or any other kind of business. Sure, some of the solutions firms deliver for their clients are highly complex and/or innovative but ultimately how the business works and what it needs to do to be successful is often much more simple. One of my passions is understanding what those simple levers are in a business to help it agree and achieve its ambitions. What are the things, be they cultural, systems, processes or people related areas that will have the biggest impact on future success?
Organisational culture as well as the partnership model do add complexity to that sometimes of course! Partners rightly want to have a view and give an opinion which is where communication, influencing skills and building high trust relationships become key. Keep it simple though and have courage to act!
Rewarding professional experiences
Being present at the Client Choice Awards and seeing Beca win Professional Services Firm of the Year (3 years out of 4) was hugely rewarding. As a firm we worked very hard on client excellence and delivering 'predictably positive client experiences'.
We invested very deliberately in process improvement, developing skills and enhancing capabilities. I think that ongoing business growth coupled with awards like these indicate a great return on that investment. Beca is very hands-on and that gave my team and me great latitude to design and deliver things to help the business; I am very proud of some of those things we achieved.
I am equally proud of some of the smaller things perhaps. The individual coaching moments that yielded a project win for a client or pursuit leader, playing a small part helping someone achieve a goal, winning an award or securing a promotion – or maybe helping a client team establish or improve a set of client relationships. All of this gets me out of bed in the morning!
I've worked with beaton for around 5 years and was well aware of their brand and capabilities long before that. At Beca, the beatonbenchmarks data provided great insights from which a number of strategies and improvement initiatives were created. Not to mention the marketing benefits of winning an Award or two!
I was thrilled when George asked me to consider joining the business. As I take this next step in my life, having guidance from a guru like George and his impressive team of partners is something I know I will value and learn from – and of course my clients will value this too I hope. George and Paul's ongoing enthusiasm for the business is already visible to me – and rather infectious.
I am really looking forward to seeing what opportunities exist to help NZ business through the beaton suite of information products and services. I am particularly motivated by working with a range of professional services firms, from the biggest to the not so large.
What I hope to achieve as a member of beaton
I believe my expertise lies in building and delivering business capability to achieve growth. To improve something, you have to identify and quantify the problem or opportunity in the first place. I often see organisations invest in transformation and improvement without always fully understanding what the problem is that they are trying to fix. Decisions are sometimes taken based on gut feel or anecdote rather than fact. The most influential or assertive member of the leadership team can have huge influence on a particular direction. Data, evidence and facts are sometimes missing. That's a real risk in my view.
To put a client lens over that viewpoint, the question I often ask is, 'Would you invest in improving aspects of a client experience without having real factual insight from your clients in the first place?' No, I hope!
beaton provides unique client and market evidence so as a consultant who is advising firms and helping clients improve parts of their business, this evidence is very exciting to have in the tool kit!
Something about me that's not on my LinkedIn profile
I'm a sports nut. As a younger chap I played senior rugby union and cricket. Whilst I occasionally dust of the cricket bat from time to time, I'm now one of those guys clip-clopping through your cafe on a Saturday morning in lycra! You might also catch me doing the odd distance running event or triathlon.
The Geordie in me
As a Geordie (someone from Newcastle-upon-Tyne), I am an Auf Wiedersehen, Pet aficionado. Google it if you've no idea what I am on about!
You can find Jon on LinkedIn.