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Monday, March 19, 2007

Back in the saddle

Well, having sunned myself on the beaches of Bermuda - sorry Bournemouth but at 18 degreees c and walking on the beach with the sun on my back, I had to keep reminding myself that it was only the second week in March.

Came back to over 200 e-mails at home and 50 here and quite a few blogs to read and catch up on.

One of the things that it has taught me that if firms plan to use RSS technology to send out publications to clients, then the first few lines need to be incredibly punchy to get people to want to read the rest of the article - otherwise it will be marked as read and your message will be lost.

I was reading on one of the blogs about why our policy of standing in the shoes of our clients works so well.

The collaborative environment at Honda is a byproduct of the company’s emphasis on the Japanese concept of the three actuals - go to the actual place, work with the actual people or part and understand the actual situation. … A visit to the site about a specific problem not only prevents engineers from becoming detached from the actual process, it often yields insight into a completely unrelated and unforeseen issue.

If we are trying to help a client, then it is incredibly useful to see them in operation by visiting them at their offices rather than trying to imagine it from a conference room or via a phone. I’ve always followed this approach when doing any research or reports.

It’s a lesson, that I was taught as a young banker - always visit the client and understand their business and their drivers - then you can always sell the best and most appropriate product to them.

Also you understand what keeps them awake and what the choke points are in their business.

Don’t just look at the offices and the machines - also look at the employees and how they talk about their work. If they look passionate and committed, then the company and it’s management are moving forward and the firm is on average likely to thrive, because innovation is more likely to take place.

If the place looks tired and the people look tired, then as a banker this should be a warning sign.

Do you fully understand your clients and their drivers and do you share that knowledge of the commercial world with your colleagues.

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