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05 May, 2021 Insights

Business development for the next generation with Always Thinking

In our latest BD session, we looked at how business development was traditionally approached and how businesses should actually be doing it. The monthly events led by Always Thinking bring Members together to discuss how they do business development and are a way to foster BD thinking across The Building Society. 

Building up the next generation

Historically, networking and relationship building has tended to be the preserve of more senior members of practices in the built environment, in line with the pyramid model. However, all business development is built on relationships, so the earlier people build those relationships, the better placed they will be as their careers progress. 

Always Thinking Director, Karen Willey, introduced Members to the ‘wheel and spoke’ approach, which is a flat communication hierarchy that encourages the next generation to get involved. The organisation sits in the middle of the wheel in the model, and everyone around it is encouraged to bring something to the table.

In involving a broader range of people, at different levels of seniority, businesses can create far more confident communicators to help them win new work and a business development pipeline for the future. 

Karen also talked about the importance of mentoring young people to help them learn from those with experience on how to build their voices and networks, and giving them the tools to find their own voice and succeed. 

Create the business vision and a process

Two key tools are having a business vision and a defined process. The business vision is essentially a brief that sets out what an organisation wants to achieve and who it wants to work with. 

“You can’t build a building without a brief and you can’t expect people to do BD without a brief”. 

By having a communicable vision, individuals from across a practice can understand it and more easily know how they can opt in and help. 

Similarly, if everyone understands the process – ways to capture information and communicate results – the more results an organisation is likely to have. 

A sustainable business model

The next generation will grow with their peers and make connections with the business leaders of the future. 

By adopting a ‘wheel and spoke’ approach that encourages younger members to find their voice and get involved, organisations will not only find they have happier employees who are more engaged, but that they are investing in the future of their business.