There have been a few instances where clients have picked up the phone to me at very short notice and asked for my help.
One was an NHS client, who called me to help her understand the true delivery status of a program that was in flight. I had a week to work on it with her, determine the nature of the issues and write a paper for her upcoming board. This was well received, and it led to our engagement in a high priority and political program of work, lasting well over a year.
This same client later asked for help on a separate project of work under similar challenging circumstances and tight timings. I took the call during my half-term break and went straight into it on my first day back. I had to take over the work from the previous consultancy and find a way to use the existing work to help us build a program that would achieve the desired results.
In both cases, the client had lost confidence in what was happening day to day before getting in touch. They knew from working with us in the past – and the way we focus on clear communications and building relationships – that we could help them get back the control they desired. What made the difference was working closely with the client to give them a good reflective picture of what was happening, discuss and debate the issues and to figure out what was required to move forward.
This is the heart of what I do at Berkeley: helping someone think things through, get the control back, and get the trust back. They feel reassured we’re there when the stakes are high and when the going gets tough, bringing a wealth of our experience and working with their management inner circle.
I tend to build long-term relationships with clients, which means I don’t just help them with their short-term goals. My work with many clients can stretch across multiple projects, even clients. We can take a long-term view together and achieve results that last.
Some projects involve tough circumstances, which can be real milestones in people’s careers. Achieving success for a client means I can often be supporting them in their personal career aspirations too.
There are some individuals with whom I’ve worked for nearly a decade, sometimes across different roles and even different organizations. We don’t just work on the day-to-day. It feels like we’re very much going on a journey together, developing our careers jointly.
As a partner, my primary goal is to make sure Berkeley is successful – but I’m taking a long-term view. I want to make sure I leave Berkeley in the best shape I can for future consultants.
I have some amazing client relationships and I want to help them continue to go on to achieve their aspirations.
I’d really love to live and work overseas at some point and to apply the skills I’ve learnt in a different culture and context. Berkeley’s New York office may beckon in the future!
As a personal goal, I’m also learning to play the guitar again (not classical but full on rock-style). I’m hoping to pass my Grade 5 exam soon, but I’m not going to put a time limit on achieving that!