Book review of Better Business Relationships by Paul English of Grant Thornton InternationalPosted on: December 5, 2018
This book review of Better Business Relationships by Paul English of Grant Thornton appeared in the Winter 2018 edition of Professional Marketing magazine
Kim Tasso reminds us early on in her book that while no one teaches you about relationships, nearly every aspect of business life demands effective relationships skills. True enough. If you can create exceptional connections with your teams and your markets, you gain genuine advantage. This may explain why I jumped ahead to the section on “How to be liked”.
While this book may not ‘teach’ you how to build relationships, it certainly shines a light on the wide range of factors and considerations that are at play across the relationship lifecycle – from handling first meetings to dealing with conflict and difficult behaviour.
The style of the book is a curation of concepts and frameworks blended with everyday practical insights. With a nice clear structure and short and snappy sections, the book feels accessible and digestible. One example being “Bullying, control freaks and stubbornness”, which having worked in professional services for 15 years didn’t seem that relevant..(ahem). Or “Why relationships go wrong” – something we could all write our own book on.
The book starts in a sensible place with a focus on understanding self and understanding others, and the importance of being able to manage differences in styles. It then explores dimensions of managing change and adaptation and effective communication. Unusually for business books, the second half of the book gets stronger as it moves into relationship formation and conflict management, plus an exploration of “Internal relationships” and “External relationships” and selling.
Kim has hand-picked models and references that are informative and cute. I’m still thinking about the four typologies of internal politics, and while I’d like to think I’m a Wise Owl, I may turn out to be an Inept Donkey. “Relationships are about people. So, before you get onto business matters it helps if you get on as people.” In a cross border and virtual business environment, this can be a real challenge. In many cultures around the world, it can be very difficult to get traction and buy-in to even the best ideas, if you haven’t invested in the relationship first. Once trust is established, everything accelerates but this can be hard to do when you are thousands of miles away.
Which brings me onto the reference to “Working in a Digital World” in the book’s subtitle. There is some good coverage of the implications of digitisation for relationships, but I would have liked to go deeper into this new area. I did pick up a new acronym, IRL (In Real Life), which delineates between the physical and cyber worlds. What percentage of your relationships are principally managed IRL?
So back to the question of “How to be liked”. Likeability guru Dale Carnegie is quoted in Kim’s book as saying, “You can win more business in two months by being interested in other people than in two years trying to be interesting.” And I do think that better business relationships begin with empathy. Listening with genuine interest and seeking to understand before seeking to be understood. Themes that run right through this book.
Paul English – Grant Thornton International
Read more about Better Business Relationships
- What is NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)?
- Cross cultural communication
- Dear fee-earner, Love from Leeds: Why you should allow your marketing and business development team to help you to develop campaigns
- People management in a property partnership
- Reasons to invest in a Key Account Management (KAM) programme
- Seven referrer management strategies – from a property perspective
- Top ten tips on referrer management (2016 Birmingham)
- Managing client service in surveying and property partnerships
- Importance of Client Experience Management (CEM) - PM Forum conference report 2016
- Client relationship management (CRM) - How many close relationships can you manage?
- Winning pitch presentations – Tips on preparing content and presenting well at competitive tenders
- Marketing planning in a nutshell
- Cross-selling – The Big Questions
- Why Client Experience Management CEM is all the rage…
- Key Account Management KAM – Managing key client meetings
- Accountancy marketing case study – From client referrals to sectors and social media
- Business development for lawyers – Pipelines, relationship management and international marketing (October 2017)
- International relationship management – Highlights from a talk by Allan Evans at BDO accountants
- Property marketing case study – Client and key client relationship management at JLL
- Marketing secretary and PA: Three roles where secretaries and PAs contribute to marketing and business development success
- Private client marketing - Competing in the digital era
- Private client marketing – Five thoughts from heads of department (2017)
- Relationship and referrer management – Piggybacks, Ghosting, Ridealongs, Swapsies and Orange Crates
- Pick up the phone – Creating better business relationships with telephones
- Trust for better business relationships
- How do you make a personal impact? Stand out, speak up and make a difference
- Better Business Relationships – New book in the pipeline
- Future Marketing Manager – T-shaped people, senior promotions and management vs. leadership
- Client satisfaction benchmarks – How do you measure up?
- Marketing after the technology revolution?
- Property marketing case study – Key points from the EG property marketing conference 2018
- Book - Social Media in Business Development and Relationship Management: A Guide for Lawyers
- A personal approach to cross-selling
- Key Account Management (KAM) – Top 10 tips for designing and implementing a KAM programme
- Book review: Endorsements for Better Business Relationships
- 10 takeaways from a workshop on buy-in (Guildford, 2018)
- Better Business Relationships – Book launch
- Ten psychological ideas that employers, recruiters and HR people need to know
- Help your lawyers understand and engage with social media effectively
- At the heart of what we do – Better Business Relationships
- An MBA is great – but you’ll need soft skills to make an impact
- Team management issues – Managing up, boundaries and broken relationships
- Book review: Better Business Relationships by Carolyn Dyer, Head of HR and OD at Registers of Scotland
- Essential soft skills for lawyers
- Better Business Relationships at the Bedford Square Festival
- Leadership: Authenticity, values and culture
- Helping tax advisers sell their services – Be more detective
- Personal reflections on managing change – Coronavirus is here to stay
- Changing behaviour in the workplace to boost productivity – Insights from psychology
- Better Business Relationships and DACRIE - A model to enhance business relationships
- Effective marketing – a discussion with managing partners
- 10 key points all about buy-in in professional services (Manchester and Dublin 2019)
- Future Marketing Manager – A checklist for success and how to get promoted
- Structured programmes for Referrer Relationships
- Conference report: “You haven’t heard it all before” Professional Marketing Forum conference September 2019 (Innovation, procurement, campaigns, creativity, assertiveness)
Category: Accountants, Kim's Blog, Lawyers, Management Skills, Marketing, Property, Relationship Management, Selling
Tagged: Adaptation, Better business relationships, Book review, Books, Bullies, Bullying, Business Development, Business relationships, Buy in, Client relationship management, Client relationships, Control freaks, Cross border, Cross Cultural, Cross-border communications, Cyberworld, Empathy, Internal politics, Likeability, Managing Change, Multi-Cultural, Relationships, Stubborness, Training