Review of 2017
The last year passed quickly didn’t it? So busy in fact that I hardly have time to update the web site! So here is a quick round up of my main activities over the past year or so.
Non-Executive Director roles
I continued in my role as a Non-Executive Director for two award-winning building surveying companies – Anderton Gables in Manchester, Preston and Sheffield http://www.andertongables.co.uk/ and Earl Kendrick Associates in London, Brighton and Manchester https://www.earlkendrick.com/. Other property and real estate clients included: Altus, GB2, Lighthouse and SHW.
On the legal front, I continued to work for large and small law firms (solicitors, barristers and patent attorneys) around the UK, Channel Islands, Ireland and Continental Europe on strategic management, change management, management development, business development and training and coaching assignments. There were also projects for some accountancy, actuarial and insolvency practices too. Due to the confidential nature of the work, I can’t say too much although some of my clients were kind enough to provide testimonials http://kimtasso.com/clients/client-references/
I’m happy to report that where I have assisted clients on major tenders and pitches my strike rate continues at 100% – long may it continue!
I am now regularly delivering five different courses for MBL (change management, business development for lawyers, referrer management, managing a surveyors practice and effective writing) all around the UK and in Ireland. http://www.mblseminars.com/Speaker/Kim%20Tasso/1059
At the Professional Marketing Forum – or PM Forum as it is known to its members – I continue to develop and deliver a wide range of general and specialist courses for marketing and business development professionals. General courses include those for marketing and business development professionals at different stages of their careers: secretaries, assistants, executives and managers.
And there are courses on specific topics such as strategic thinking, change management, marketing planning, persuasive writing, referrer management and cross-selling, key account management (KAM), thought leadership, campaign and project management, coaching, assertiveness and impact, stakeholder management and buy-in, team management and delegation, creativity and, of course, selling and pitching, http://www.pmforum.co.uk/training.aspx
New book – Better business relationships
The exciting news was that I signed a book deal with Bloomsbury Publishing for my fifth book. It’s an ambitious project – trying to bring together a lot of material and over 25 years’ experience from the two passions in my life – business management and psychology.
It’s a concept I’ve been working on for over five years. It covers personal differences, emotional intelligence, communication, relationship formation as well as internal (team working and management and leadership) and external relationships (including client service, selling and intermediary management). I’ve been writing the book since July 2017 and delivered the final manuscript on 1 March for publication in September 2018. The working title is “Better business relationships – insights from psychology and management for working in a digital world“.
Other writing includes the various reviews and blogs (Kids in London, London Dog Blog and MayB London events) for www.allinlondon.co.uk and for various publications including Professional Marketing magazine and the Law Society’s Private Client Adviser pubication.
I also managed to write around five blogs a month for my own blog on subjects as diverse as strategy, marketing, selling and key account management http://kimtasso.com/category/blog/
I was a very proud mum in 2017 too. My son got married so that was a huge celebration and my daughter left the nest and started working. It’s wonderful to see them get on so well with their lives. Although it leaves me (and the dog and cats) with more time on our hands.
I continue to act as co-editor of Whitton Village – a local community Facebook page with over 8,000 people in the community. I suspect that I will be helping a bit more on some other local community and charity projects in the future too.
And I was lucky enough to enjoy a fabulous trip back to the Caribbean with one of my best friends – this time to Jamaica. Yes, I managed to get in some sea-fishing and caught (and ate) some excellent snapper. And I visited Shropshire, Dorset and Ireland to see friends and family and for some down-time in the South of France.
For 2018, I am hoping for more of the same although I am hoping that once the book is published I will have more focus on the theme of business relationships – whether internal business relationships or external ones for selling, client relationship management and referrer management.
Kim Tasso, March 2018
Review of 2015
It’s January 2016, and I always start the New Year by reflecting on the previous one as I plan the year ahead. During 2015, there were a number of themes to my consultancy work for law, accountancy, surveying and other professional practices. In particular:
One of my main areas of work with professional service firms concerns strategy – whether this is for the organisation overall, for particular markets or specific teams and services. But analysis and discussion to develop a robust, creative and effective strategy is only part of the process. There was also focus on change management programmes to support implementation and I work with a number of firms on an ongoing basis in this area.
Campaigns for business development
Whilst, of course, many firms were keen to explore the impact of digital technologies and social media on their marketing programmes, there was just as much interest in how to identify, craft and implement integrated business development programmes that encompass all aspects of marketing, selling and relationship management. So campaign management was of interest to firms of all sizes:
It was also great to see one of my legal clients winning awards for its thought leadership campaign into the elderly sector:
Referrer and intermediary management
There were a variety of consultancy assignments, conference sessions and training courses both in the UK and overseas on this theme. I did some preliminary research and incorporated the results into various blog posts, for example:
Conflict management and negotiation
Dealing with difference, managing people and preventing and managing conflict – whether internally or with clients – remained popular themes for in-house training courses in the legal and property sectors. I am considering publishing the 40 page guide which is currently only available for those who attend the courses.
Here are some blogs on this topic:
Psychology and coaching
I continued to provide professional coaching services to a number of individuals – fee-earners, marketers and even managing partners. And psychology remained a theme in many of the training courses I provided – whether in the context of change management, marketing, selling or relationship management.
I also continued my training as a psychodynamic therapeutic counsellor. Having achieved certifictes for levels 2 and 3 certificates, I started the two year diploma course in September 2015. Hopefully, I will shortly be able to release details of my trainee placement.
Some of the most popular psychology blogs of the year:
And the coaching ones:
And for 2016?
I anticipate much more of the same – as most of these themes remain topical although strategy remains the bedrock of my practice. Resigning marketing and business development teams to meet the needs of firms facing dramatic changes in their market place often follows from this work.
Of course, the psychology theme will continue in both consultancy assignments on change management and in various training courses. My studies in this area will continue as well as I move towards my personal goal of becoming a qualified psychodynamic counsellor.
Following all the writing work I did last year (not least several research reports for The Lawyer magazine and the technical ghost writing projects) I will continue with my professional blogs and those for www.allinlondon.co.uk. There are a number of training sessions on writing also lined up – for example, repeats of this course: http://kimtasso.com/five-favourite-thoughts-on-fantastic-writing-from-a-business-development-writing-workshop-2015/
The importance of the client experience is starting to gain some exposure, and I have already started exploring this in a number of areas. See, for example: http://kimtasso.com/seven-insights-into-client-care-and-service-excellence/
Key Account Management (KAM) and it associated client listening and satisfaction programmes as well as training for fee-earners in selling, account management and relationship management continues to be of interest to legal, accountancy and property clients.
I hope to be able to announce a further exciting appointment as a Non-Executive Directorship shortly too which will keep me busy.
Happy New Year – 2016 is upon us!
REVIEW OF 2014
2014 is drawing to a close. Each year I usually write a review of Kim Tasso clients and assignments. But in a bit of a departure, I have produced a review of my work in 2014 on a month-by-month basis focusing on the various consulting themes so you can quickly scan the elements that are of interest to you. I’ve also produced a shorter version for a SlideShare presentation – but the material here has links to various blogs for ease of reference. Please let me know if you require further information firstname.lastname@example.org
January – Book publishing
My fourth book (“Rainmakers and Trailblazers: A step by step guide to business development for lawyers”) was published by Legal Monitor http://kimtasso.com/publications/rainmakers-trailblazers-business-development-lawyers/ and I was delighted to receive some glowing reviews:
- Thomson Snell & Passmore and Rix & Kay http://kimtasso.com/two-book-reviews-rainmakers-trailblazers-business-development-lawyers/
- Russell-Cooke http://kimtasso.com/book-review-rainmakers-trailblazers-step-step-guide-business-development-lawyers/ (April 2014)
- DWF http://kimtasso.com/book-review-rainmakers-trailblazers-business-development-lawyers-dwf/ (May 2014).
- Irwin Mitchell http://kimtasso.com/book-review-rainmakers-business-development-lawyers-geoffrey-lander/ (June 2014)
- Charles Christian, former barrister and editor of Legal IT Insider (June 2014) http://kimtasso.com/clown-fish-book-review-rainmakers-trailblazers-business-development-lawyers/
The book can be ordered here http://legal-monitor.com/rainmaker-unique-practical-guide-business-development-law-firm-partners
February – Content Creation
Whilst I continue to write lots of articles for external media, my blogging work continues. Here are the numbers:
- 80 management and marketing blogs on the professions http://kimtasso.com/category/blog/
- 20 blogs as KimT (Kids in London) for the leading entertainment site All in London http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/blogs/myblog.php?user=21195
- 30 blogs as MayB on London events for All in London http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/blogs/myblog.php?user=34666
- 20 blogs as London DogBlog for All in London http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/blogs/myblog.php?user=108005
- 17 restaurant reviews and lots of bar/pubs reviews for All in London http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/passport/profile.php?user=21195
I also wrote a number of detailed practice notes for Lexis Nexis on subjects including: marketing planning, client and referrer relationships and marketing information systems. These are restricted to those who have a subscription but my blogs there are publically available http://blogs.lexisnexis.co.uk/futureoflaw/author/kim-tasso/
March – Case studies
Case studies are a valuable tool for learning and highlighting innovation, best practice and leadership. I continue to research and publish case studies where the information is publically available. Some property market case studies are shown below (see June). Here are some legal and accountancy sector case studies from 2014. There are plenty more from previous years (including the series on Marvellous Marketing for Legal Technology Insider).
- Family law
- Law and legal firms
- Accountancy firms
April – Researching markets and client needs
Research is the first step in any strategy. To support clients I undertake detailed research into client markets and client perceptions and satisfaction – sometimes for service excellence and new service development programmes, and sometimes for cross-selling and key account management (KAM) programmes.
For public consumption, I review information to glean nuggets of insight into changing client needs:
Legal and law clients
General market trends
Property market research is shown below in June.
May – Selling and relationship management skills
Who is committed to lifelong learning? It’s amazing how many new skills we need to acquire and update as our careers progress. Much of my work focuses on improving the effectiveness of sales and relationship management skills for all types of professional – both through training courses (public/open courses and in-house sessions) and coaching (see below). Several projects this year have been in this area. Here are some blogs about the main topics:
- Business development
- Cold calling
- Cross selling
- Delegation and project management
- Emotional intelligence
- Presentation skills
- Relationship management skills
- Systems and technology
- Writing skills
June – Property Marketing
To provide the key note for the inaugural Estates Gazette Property Marketing Conference, I did a fair amount of research which included a number of interviews with leading experts. Here’s the blog which summarise my talks – and those from the main interviews:
- Summary of the talk
- Branding and video seeding
- Community, content and the user experience
- Digital or non-digital?
- Drones and virtual tours
- Experiential marketing and augmented reality
- Online communities and content management
- Social media
July – Strategy
Throughout the year, I completed numerous strategy review projects for commercial organisations, law practices and accountancy firms. What struck me most was how many businesses had trouble with that most essential of processes – segmentation and targeting
I developed a new training course entitled “Being more strategic” and run numerous awaydays for partnerships looking to stress test and update their plans.
And I reviewed some strategy books:
August – Creativity
While I continue to run workshops for professional service clients to help them with innovative strategy and campaign creation, often I can’t reveal much about them as they are confidential. So instead, I produced a series of seven blogs looking at different aspects of creativity:
September – Training courses for fee-earners (lawyers, accountants and surveyors)
I continue to spend a lot of time designing, developing and delivering training courses both for commercial providers and for clients on an in-house basis. Here are some of the topics covered during the year
- Business development for lawyers
- Business development (marketing and selling) skills
- Campaign development workshop
- Client care and retention
- Cross selling
- Effective delegation and feedback
- Excellence in Every Day Client Care
- Introduction to negotiation skills
- Leadership development
- Management skills for barristers’ clerks
- Marketing and business development writing workshop
- Networking, selling and relationship management skills
- Overseas secondments
- Partner away days
- Perfect pitches
- Perfect presentations
- Referrer and intermediary relationships
- Segmentation and targeting
- Strategy workshop for divisions and departments
- Thought leadership for beginners
October – Training courses for marketers and business development staff
The majority of my training for marketing and business development professionals is delivered through Professional Marketing Forum – see here for further details http://www.pmforum.co.uk/training/
- Being more strategic
- Boosting problem solving, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial skills
- Conflict resolution and negotiation
- Developing your coaching and mentoring skills
- Future Marketing Manager
- Getting it past the partners – All about buy-in
- Helping fee-earners prepare the perfect pitch
- Integrating marketing with selling and relationship management
- Managing change and leadership
- Marketing and BD planning in a nutshell
- Marketing and business development writing workshop
- Personal Impact: Assertiveness, confidence and effectiveness
- Practical and professional skills for marketing/business development assistants
- Proactive Marketing Executive
- Time, project and campaign management
- Towards KAM – Helping fee-earners with client relationship management
- Up to speed in digital marketing and social media
November – Digital marketing
Marketing is undergoing a major transformation as the impact of digital takes effect. The material on the impact of technology on marketing remains the most highly read sections of this web site. So whether it’s social media, web sites, search engine optimisation, inbound marketing and lead generation or community building I have worked with clients to improve their practices.
Check out the material above from June on the latest developments in property marketing for further information on the latest trends or the case studies above.
December – Coaching and Counselling
As a qualified professional coach-mentor, I worked with a number of lawyers, accountants and marketers on a coaching basis during the year. I even managed to write a little (making sure I observed confidentiality) about some of the success stories: http://kimtasso.com/coaching-success-stories/
I updated the popular coaching and mentoring training skills course: http://kimtasso.com/seven-takeaways-coaching-skills-course-2014/ and provided some guidance on basic coaching skills http://kimtasso.com/coaching-skills-importance-active-listening/
To add to the leadership and business development coaching services, I also developed the career coaching service: http://kimtasso.com/career-coaching-counselling-kim-tasso/
I also wrote about some career related events for marketers in the professions http://kimtasso.com/moving-career-beyond-head-marketing-pm-forum-event-report/ and commented on the new Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) professional qualifications http://kimtasso.com/2014-cim-professional-marketing-qualifications-syllabus-changes/ and even commented on marketing salaries http://kimtasso.com/marketing-salaries-professional-services/
Some of you may know that I am training to become a qualified psychodynamic counsellor. During the year I completed my level 2 counselling skills course and embarked on level 3.
And what’s in store for 2015?
Whilst there is, of course, a plan I remain alert to weak signals and market changes so that the relevant services can be developed and delivered to my clients. Whilst the professions – lawyers, accountants and surveyors – remain the foundation of my practice I am increasingly being asked to advise other companies – in business services, construction, education and media sectors.
- Campaigns, content creation and curation
- As social media and digital marketing continue to grow, no doubt my writing skills will be put to good use in developing integrated campaigns and creating high quality content
- Towards the end of 2014, I completed my first ghost-writing assignment – a chapter – and hope to move onto larger projects (a whole book) in 2015
- Selling and relationship management
- Further work on extending client listening into key account management programmes
- Continuing my passion for all things selling, I’ll be developing new skills courses around consultative versus insight selling for professionals
- Innovation and entrepreneurship
- I may produce a further series of articles and blogs on creativity as the last one was so popular
- I will be working with Cambridge Marketing College on delivering the new Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) professional marketing diploma course on innovation and entrepreneurship which will involve me to preparing new research and case studies. And probably some work on new service development and pricing too
- Psychology, coaching and counselling
- Continue my formal training to become a psychodynamic counsellor
- Promote the new career coaching service alongside the existing leadership and business development coaching services
- And I may finally get round to writing another book that builds on the 40 page guide to communication, understanding differences, managing conflict and negotiation to include other psychological insights for business and personal life
- Strategy and business management
- I will continue to work with existing and new clients on strategic stress-testing and focus and build a new guide to strategy development in professional service firms
- During 2014, I participated in a leading business school’s award-winning strategy and management development programme for the owners of growing businesses. I hope to develop my role in such activity. Definitely watch this space!
(From 2013) My latest clients and assignments
After repositioning the business with the creation of RedStarKim Ltd in 2012 – some of you will recognise this name from my social media accounts – 2013 was about consolidation. Whilst the main thrust of my work continues to be with the professions and professional service firms – particularly lawyers, accountants and surveyors – during 2013 I saw an increase in work beyond these sectors. So I am delighted that during 2013 I continued to work with clients in the technology, not for profit, construction and creative sectors.
I was delighted to be shortlisted in the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Women in Marketing awards in October 2011. And in late 2012 I was nominated as a trustee, although I was unsuccessful in the elections.