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Jeanette Purcell at City Business Library

10 reasons why you should get an MBA

Free lunchtime event, City of London, City Business Library

Thursday 10 May
12.30 – 1.30pm
Walbrook Room

Are you considering an MBA? Or are you wondering whether a member of your staff should take the qualification? The MBA is the leading international qualification and can represent a life-changing experience. Jeanette Purcell will offer 10 reasons (or more!) why you should get an MBA.  But you need to understand what MBA study involves, how to choose the right programme, how to cope with the demands of the course. Before founding “Jeanette Purcell Associates” Jeanette was CEO of the Association of MBAs (AMBA). Her expert advice will help you to understand the MBA’s value and how to get the best return on your investment.

Free, but you must book in advance 020 7332 1858; cblevents@cityoflondon.gov.uk

5 reasons why networking matters

children networking

There are many reasons why you should aim to be an effective networker. It’s good for you, it’s good for your career and it’s good for your business. What’s more, if you approach networking with the right attitude you will enjoy the activity and want to do it more. Here are my top five reasons why you should aim to be a great networker:

Reason #1 – We do business with people we like and trust

It’s popular to believe that buying has become a depersonalised activity and that the hiring of staff is based purely on an objective assessment of a candidate’s skills. But the evidence is that, even today, most transactions in business are about relationships. We do business with people we like and trust. You can achieve a certain amount through marketing and advertising campaigns and it is possible for selling to be a completely anonymous business, but at some stage your customer, client or prospective employer is likely to come face to face with YOU. Their decision to buy or hire will be influenced by a range of factors which, at some level, will almost certainly include how much they like and trust you. Relationships are at the heart of any successful business. And so it is important to invest time in making connections, building relationships and maintaining those connections over time.

Reason #2 – Word of mouth marketing really works

I have been running a business for several years and ALL of my clients have come to me through word of mouth. Now, that’s not unusual for my type of business but all companies, regardless of size or industry, rely to some extent on word-of-mouth marketing.

Surveys into the impact of online marketing show that peer recommendation is the most trusted form or advertising, whereas online search, banner advertising and other ads are among the least trusted (NIELSEN – Global Online Consumer Survey – July 2009). Even with the explosion of online review applications (eg, Yelp, Google, Urbanspoon), research clearly demonstrates that word of mouth—product recommendations made by family, friends, work colleagues, or neighbours —is still the most effective way to win new customers. (The Harris Poll #74, June 3, 2010). At the same time, many people fail to recognise the value of customer referrals and the power of networking as a form of word-of-mouth marketing.

Reason #3 – Being good at your job is not enough

Like it or not life is not a meritocracy. The truth is that your skills, qualities and experience are likely to go unnoticed unless you are prepared to promote yourself. This means seeking opportunities to communicate what you have to offer and your career aspirations. I’m not talking about trotting out a sales pitch to everyone you meet, but I am suggesting that a more proactive approach to advancing your career is required. And this involves building a useful supportive network.

Reason #4 – Well connected people are ‘in the know’

The surest way to pick up on a new opportunity – whether it’s a new client, new job or changes in your market – is to be well connected. How many times have you heard about a job vacancy or a potential new project through a friend or work colleague? The grapevine is a wonderful and powerful communication channel and you should use it. By developing your networks you not only stand a better chance of knowing what’s going on but you are also more likely to be remembered when one of your connections wants something that you offer. Networks are vital as a means of sharing knowledge and information. What’s more, a good networker who enjoys meeting and learning about other people will broaden their outlook and develop a useful body of skills and knowledge, making them an interesting person to know.

Reason #5 – Networks are a valuable source of support

Networking is not just about finding opportunities and advancing your own interests. A good network is one that is based on give and take, trust and respect. There are people in my network who I know I can ask for help when I am thinking through a new idea or dealing with a particularly difficult problem. And they know I will do the same for them in return. If you build your network in the right way, you will find that it can be a valuable source of support and advice.

This is an excerpt from Jeanette Purcell’s “No-Nonsense Networking” – 6 steps to raising your profile.

No-Nonsense Networking:
Six Steps to Raising Your Profile

A free eBook by Jeanette Purcell

Through thirty years of experience in business and academia and countless conversations with great networkers, I have observed that surprisingly few people network effectively. Yet good networking skills are essential if you want to get on in business and have a fulfilling career.

This is why I wrote this book. 22 pages full of practical tips and ideas on how to build long-lasting successful business relationships. It is for anyone who wants to grow their business, extend their business networks or raise their profile within their profession or working environment. If you are looking for a job or preparing for promotion, this book is also for you.

In No-Nonsense Networking, I take you through a practical approach to building a successful network in six easy steps:

1. Developing the right attitude.

You need to approach networking in a positive frame of mind. We debunk some of the myths about networking and deal with the common issues that hold people back from being enthusiastic and confident networkers.

2. Preparing your pitch.

With the right attitude and a clear idea of what you want to achieve from your networking you are ready to write your ‘pitch’. We look at how to tell your story and present your skills in a concise, positive and memorable way.

3. Managing your existing networks.

It’s not only about making new connections but also about managing your existing contacts. How well are you managing and tapping into your existing networks?

4. Preparing to network.

Successful face-to-face networking begins with thorough preparation. We will cover the preparation required for every networking situation.

5. Networking events.

From social gatherings to business meetings we look at how to manage networking situations, make the right connections and get results.

6. Building and maintaining the relationship.

Truly successful networks require maintenance. We consider the follow up required to convert a new connection into a productive business relationship and how to sustain and grow your networks over the long term.

Each step is explained in comprehensive detail, with achievable exercises at the end of every section. After reading this book, you will be better equipped to network confidently, successfully and intelligently.

Download for free

You can download this eBook for free from any of the following sources (click on the icons to open in a new window).

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Download for free from Amazon Kindle Store, iBooks or as a PDF

About the author

Jeanette Purcell is the founder and Managing Director of Jeanette Purcell Associates, specialists in leadership development and change management. She is a leadership specialist, providing coaching, lecturing and consultancy services in all aspects of leadership development and organisational change. Her focus is on giving leaders and their organisations practical solutions that have a measurable impact on performance.

Jeanette is a Visiting Lecturer at Cass Business School and has over 30 years practical experience in management and business leadership. Until establishing her own business, Jeanette was Chief Executive of the Association of MBAs (AMBA), the global accreditation agency and network for MBA students and graduates. In this role she succeeded in raising the profile of the MBA as the premier qualification for business leaders and developed a range of services and support for MBA graduates throughout the world.

Jeanette is an accomplished international public speaker. She presents and writes on issues relating to leadership, business development and business education and has been instrumental in the delivery of Cass Leadership programmes in Dubai. Current corporate clients include Pfizer International where Jeanette delivers ‘networking skills’ training to high potential female managers.

In 2013 Jeanette founded the Brain Exchange, an exclusive forum for business professionals to exchange advice, knowledge and support in a confidential and professional environment. The Brain Exchange meets monthly in London and is achieving growing recognition as a high quality business network.

It’s networking Jim, but not as we know it

star trek

I was coaching a client this week who recently became self-employed after working as a project manager for many years.  She had already completed a couple of jobs on a freelance basis and there were more in the pipeline.  “The thing is” she said “all the work I’ve done so far has come through word of mouth.  At some point I will have to advertise and do some real marketing”.   I queried this with her, suggesting that she must have some great networks that she could tap into for more business. “Ah, but I’m no good at networking” she replied “I haven’t got time to go to all those events and anyway that sort of thing scares me!”.

Now, this conversation highlights two very common misunderstandings about networking.

The first misunderstanding is that acquiring business through word of mouth is somehow not ‘real’ marketing.  More than that, there is a tendency to assume that referrals or personal recommendations are more about luck than successful marketing.  Absolutely not!  You don’t get referrals unless you have a great reputation and can be trusted to do a good job.  If you are proactive about maintaining the relationships that you have with people in your industry you will find that these relationships lead to new connections and new business.  Word of mouth is THE most important form of marketing for small businesses.  Don’t dismiss or ignore it!

The second misunderstanding is that networking is all about going to events, receptions and conferences.  Most people will tell you that they associate the word ‘networking’ with the experience of walking into a drinks reception full of people they don’t know and being expected to ‘work the room’ (dreadful phrase).  I can’t remember the last time I went to a networking event and yet I am networking all the time.  Yes, you’ve got to get out there and meet people to build your business, and you’ve got to do some selling.  But you don’t have to attend events or put yourself into unfamiliar situations to achieve this.  Networking is about building relationships with people you like, admire and trust.  Start building your networks by talking to people who already know and love you.  Ask them for advice, ask them for introductions to people who might want what you’re selling.  This form of networking is ten times more successful than cold calling, expensive advertising or collecting a few random business cards at a networking event.

My client visibly relaxed when she thought about networking differently.  It’s not hard work, it needn’t be scary, but good networking is essential to developing your business.

Don’t miss JPA’s Master Class “Positive Impact and Confident Networking” on 25 February 2014.  Early bird booking discount applies until 28 January 2014.  Find out more here http://jeanettepurcell.com/jpa-master-class-series/

How Mary Berry’s boss changed her life

In a recent interview Mary Berry, food author and queen of cakes, recounted the first time she was asked to write a cookery column for a newspaper.  She was terrified and had no idea how to go about explaining a new recipe to readers.  However, she picked up on the  advice of her boss who said “just write as if you were showing me how to cook”  – and that is exactly what she did.  It is this style of writing – giving clear and practical advice to budding cooks – that helped to establish Mary Berry as a popular and accessible food author.  There is little doubt that, for Mary, the advice of her boss was life changing.

Most of us can remember a time in our careers when we have learnt valuable lessons from others, usually, but not always, from a manager or more experienced colleague.  Little pearls of wisdom or remarkable acts we have witnessed tend to stay with us and help us to improve.  I had a difficult and demanding boss when I was a young manager who, despite his faults, demonstrated to me the importance of regular communication with customers.  “It almost doesn’t matter what you say Jeanette” he said “so long as you say something to your customers, and often.”  I was about 28 and hadn’t, until then, appreciated the benefits of good communication and the value of keeping all your stakeholders in the picture.  I have never forgotten and continue to apply that advice.

Of course, learning from others and benefiting from good role models depends on having the good fortune to work with people who are willing and able to pass on their wisdom and knowledge.  But it also depends on our own ability to observe and listen to what’s going on around us.  When I am coaching I often ask clients to identify someone they have worked with who they admire and respect and then work out what these people do that makes them effective.   Most of us work in environments which are a rich source of learning, but we will only learn if we are open to new ways of working and inquisitive about the nature of success in business.

Mary Berry could have remained a competent but unknown journalist if she hadn’t listened to and applied the advice of her boss.  So be observant at work, listen carefully to others, be willing to consider new ideas or different ways of thinking about business problems.  You never know, you might just learn something that changes your life.

Follow the Leader

A recent two part BBC Radio programme (“Follow the Leader” presented by Carolyn Quinn) did a good job of exploring the concept of Leadership and some of the current issues facing Business Leaders.    I was surprised though, that there was very little emphasis in the programme on the question of ethics or moral responsibility in business, particularly in the wake of corporate scandals, the banking crisis and environmental disasters such as the BP oil spill.   These recent events have heightened the debate about the integrity of business leaders and have led to some interesting discussions about the subject of morality in business.   I prefer  the term ‘responsible management’ which goes beyond the rather tired notions of ‘corporate social responsibility’  and ‘business ethics’ and represents a deeper and more meaningful approach to the issue.

“Follow the Leader” began with various politicians and business people attempting to define leadership and what it is that makes a good leader.  Rightly, the need for a clear vision and sense of direction was stressed.  There was also general agreement that leaders need to be decisive, confident, strong, thick-skinned and with a competitive attitude.    I wouldn’t argue with the value of these qualities in certain circumstances but it was disappointing that no one thought to mention the importance of honesty, integrity or conscientiousness in the context of leadership.   How can a leader without these qualities hope to command genuine respect, or to inspire and motivate others? The programme’s second episode opened with a discussion about the greater visibility of leaders today.  The rise of social media and aggressive press activity means that those with influence and power are much more exposed and that news of any gaffs or misdemeanours will travel fast, worldwide.  Contributors to the programme suggested that, as a result of this increased scrutiny, leaders needed to be more mindful of their actions, pay attention to image and manage the risks to their reputation.    Well, although this is good advice, it is again disappointing that the emphasis is on ‘keeping your nose clean’ rather than leading according to moral principles, personal values or an inherent sense of responsibility.   Leaders are, first and foremost, human beings, with flaws and weaknesses as well as strengths.  A genuinely effective leader puts effort into understanding themselves and others.  Their leadership style and approach to business is informed by that understanding and is determined by their own moral code and set of values.  These values are strongly communicated, drive the business and form the basis for all decision-making.   Ask most people to think about a leader they admire or who has inspired them and I can guarantee that, although ‘strong’ and ‘thick-skinned’ might be amongst the admired qualities, ‘integrity’, ‘honesty’ and ‘concern for others’ are more likely to be at the top of the list.

Dubai Student’s Dilemma

While working with a group of MBA students in Dubai this month one of the students, Mohammed, a 35 year old engineer from Bahrain, asked me for help with a problem he was facing at work. He had applied for promotion to a position which involved line management responsibilities. Mohammed’s company was apparently apprehensive about appointing him to this new role, not because he didn’t meet the requirements of the job, but because they didn’t want to lose him from his current position – he was working in a highly technical, high risk area of the business and there was no one else in the company who could do that job. Mohammed wanted some advice on how he could persuade his employers to release him from his current role. His approach to me triggered a number of thoughts. First, I sympathised with the sense of frustration Mohammed felt at effectively being too good at his job and too valuable in his current role to achieve promotion. How many employees with potential and ambition are simply not encouraged to put themselves forward for promotion because, to do so, would leave their employer with a recruitment problem? This tends to happen in areas where specialist, technical skills are scarce or where the wealth of knowledge and experience that one person has accumulated in a role is difficult to pass on and no thought has been given to succession or contingency planning. The implications here are clear. Companies that fail to ensure that skills and knowledge in an organisation are shared and communicated (even documented if necessary) are putting the organisation at risk. In addition, those companies that fail to encourage talented staff to develop and to take on new challenges are likely to lose their good people or, at the very least, their motivation and commitment to the company.

But I was also struck by Mohammed’s question to me for another reason. Here was a mature, experienced male with an engineering background who recognised that he needed some help and advice to overcome the problem he faced. He was being honest with me that he didn’t know what to do. Far too often I am dismayed at how unwilling some people are to ask for help and how many opportunities to get great advice and new ideas are passed up. The reasons are not clear – could it be because of pride or is it arrogance?. I have always found that, when facing a difficult business issue, there is normally someone around who is willing to help, give advice or offer a new perspective. Just ask! As for my advice to Mohammed – perhaps I’ll make that that the subject of a future blog!

Credentials

Jeanette has over 20 years experience in management and was Chief Executive of AMBA for 7 years. She has worked in both the commercial and public sectors. Having completed her MBA (with distinction) at the Cass Business School, Jeanette was asked to join the school’s academic team as a Visiting Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour. She still teaches postgraduate students at Cass, focusing on leadership and interpersonal skills development, and has contributed to the development of a series of skills development workshops at the business school.

She spent 15 years in the field of further and higher education working in the political arena, educational policy development, qualification and assessment frameworks and quality assurance systems. Prior to joining the Association of MBAs, Jeanette was Director of Education and Training for the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), the international professional association for accounting staff with over 100,000 members and 500 approved training institutions worldwide. In this role, she designed a range of new vocational qualifications in accountancy and led the development of UK standards of competence for accounting technicians.

Jeanette is an accomplished and regular speaker at international conferences and seminars on a range of topics including leadership in business, management education, accreditation and quality assurance in education and women in management.

Testimonials

“As Chief Executive of the Association of MBAs (AMBA), Jeanette had the courage and determination to tackle several challenges facing the Association in an increasingly competitive environment. Under her leadership the Association rapidly developed and established its international profile and reputation as the authority on MBA education and the most respected accreditation agency for MBA courses.”

Sir Paul Judge, President of the Association of MBAs

“Jeanette Purcell is refreshingly unpretentious. Her advice and support are built on the firm foundations of practical experience, knowledge and understanding. She listens to clients and stakeholders and builds on their strengths to deliver tailor-made, effective and sustainable solutions. “

Jane Scott Paul OBE, Chief Executive, Association of Accounting Technicians

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“Jeanette’s approach has de-mystified the subject of networking for me.  Practical tools and helpful tips have helped me to change my approach and develop a more focussed, quality network.  As a result the business has benefited and I have created new opportunities for my own personal development.”

Dr Katherine Barclay, Director of Solid Dose Manufacturing and Compliance Operations, Pfizer

 

ICAEW“The ICAEW identified a need to encourage staff across the organisation to raise their visibility and improve their business networking skills.  We hired Jeanette Purcell Associates to deliver a one day training workshop on the topic and we were extremely pleased with the result.  Jeanette’s approach is focused entirely on the client’s needs.  She delivers training that is highly interactive and practical, ensuring that participants leave with a clear commitment to put their training into practice.  The feedback from this workshop was excellent and we would not hesitate in using Jeanette Purcell Associates again.”

Elaine Mulholland, Training and Development Manager, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

 

Jeanette was a pleasure to work with. She is highly knowledgeable and passionate about sharing her insight with others. She developed tailor-made content for a series of webinars on ‘resilience’. With growing evidence to show that resilient people do better in exams, their careers and have greater levels of overall happiness, the webinars Jeanette provided aimed to give our audiences – students studying our business and finance qualification, or those thinking of doing so – the understanding (and importantly the practical tools) to help them become more resilient.

Suzanne Heath, Marketing Manager, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

 

My coaching sessions with Jeanette are already proving invaluable. In the first few sessions I’ve addressed and resolved an immediate relationship problem and made significant progress by being brave enough to share my long term aspirations. I am revelling in the opportunity the sessions provide to focus on me in an independent, supportive yet challenging environment and the discipline of having to feedback on progress at the next meeting really works for me.

Academic and Non-Exec professional (2015)

I have worked with Jeanette since 2013 while working in different roles and at different organisations.  We have worked through a broad range of topics including developing strategy to deliver meaningful change, building my personal brand, managing people, presentation skills to name but a few.  I find her coaching style and technique excellent and have been able to implement real change in the way that I work and deal with difficult and complex problems and situations.  Jeanette creates a coaching programme bespoke to the individual and takes time to understand how you work, what your strengths and weaknesses are and how you learn and process information, so that she can find the tools and techniques that will work for you.

Claire Angus, Assistant Director, Development, Royal College of General Practitioners


IndigoBlue

 

 

 

My executive coaching sessions with Jeanette have been most valuable, following an initial 360 review (in 2014) highlighting key opportunities to work on, I have been able to improve big things like corporate planning and strategic networking and small things like time management.  This cathartic experience has allowed me to become a calmer and more productive member of the executive management team at IndigoBlue.  I really look forward to our sessions and value the wisdom and insight Jeanette provides when exploring challenging situations.

John Wright, Head of Public Sector Services, Indigo Blue Ltd

Tratos logo

 

 

 

Jeanette has been an inspiration. I will forever be grateful for her guidance and kindness. I appreciate and treasure everything I have learnt from Jeanette’s coaching.

Zilah Skerritt, PA to Chief Executive, Tratos Ltd.

 

“Having known Jeanette for some years, she was a natural choice when it came to developing a higher skills framework for the building services engineering sector. She readily understood the brief and that, together with her approachability and integrity, inspired confidence and co-operation amongst the participants. The outcome has been an acknowledgement of the importance of developing higher management skills amongst key industry players and the establishment of a collaborative approach to doing so.”

Iain MacDonald, Head of Education and Training, Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA)

“Marubeni, a Commodities Trading Company, appointed Jeanette Purcell to deliver a workshop for our 3 day European Training Event. Jeanette delivered a very interesting and interactive session. She is an excellent speaker, and demonstrated a high level of knowledge and expertise in this area. The feedback from participants was extremely good, and we would definitely consider inviting Jeanette to deliver future training workshops.”

Rebecca Kemp, Marubeni Human Resources

“I first met Jeanette in 2000 when she was a student on our MBA programme. She was an outstanding student and graduated with a distinction. After graduation she took up an executive role and subsequently was appointed as CEO of the Association of MBAs. For the last five years she has been a visiting lecturer at Cass during which time we have worked together to design and deliver developmental assessment centres and a range of leadership courses for our executive MBAs in both London and Dubai. She is a skilled professional coach and excellent course leader and I recommend her without reservation.”

Paul Dobson BSc PhD CPychol CSci AFBPsS, Cass Business School, City University London

“As a new, full-time working mother I wanted coaching from someone who understood my situation.  Jeanette was able to give me first hand practical advice.  She also helped me set out a strategy to develop my client base.  I now feel more in control, and focussed on my real priorities both at work and at home.”

Nicola Tait, Client Advisor, Capital Asset Management

“I have had the pleasure of working together with Jeanette on an international Womens’ Leadership Development program for one of the leading global organizations in the Pharmaceutical sector. Jeanette demonstrated an excellent capability to work with a large group of people from different cultural backgrounds, the design of her workshops was simply perfect, very well adjusted to the needs of the client, both pertinent at an individual level and highly interactive. Jeanette has the rare capacity to make leadership development a pleasant and an enriching experience. I only hope we can do more work together.”

Marc Timmerman, Partner Axiom Consulting Partners, Managing Director Axiom Consulting Partners Benelux

“JPA undertook a piece of work for the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services. This provided a detailed analysis of national and international business school programmes for consideration within the design of an executive leadership programme for experienced Directors of Children’s Services. This work was delivered under very tight timescales, to cost, and proved highly valuable.”

Aidan Melling, Operational Director – Children’s Services, National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services

“As an Associate of Make Life Easy, Jeanette has designed and delivered training for our clients by focusing on their needs, and taking time to understand the people, culture and challenges for the company. Drawing on her business experience, her workshops are interactive, practical and fun. Jeanette has the rare ability to engage even the most reluctant participants, sending them away with new insights, skills and ideas to implement immediately. Jeanette has received excellent feedback from work she has delivered for Make Life Easy and has undoubtedly made a positive difference to the clients she has worked with.”

Fiona Hindle, Founder of Make Life Easy Limited, www.makelifeeasy.co.uk

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