The National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is an organization that thrives on innovation. But as they grew, they weren’t satisfied with the quality and quantity of internal collaboration between departments. They wanted people to anticipate needs of other departments and look for ways to share resources.
NGS invited Contacts Count to design a skill-building program based on The 8 Networking Competencies. Participants from 5 different parts of the organization explored how to work more cross-functionally, while they learned how to make their areas of expertise visible and known to others (without bragging!), how to ask good questions, and how to build trusting relationships.
Large Intelligence Agency
One insight to come out of the tragedy of 9/11 was that most of the information needed to prevent the attack actually existed somewhere in the vast bureaucracy. So to work on that problem, a large intelligence agency asked us to help them reduce stovepipes and silos and build business partnerships based on trust and appropriate information sharing. The agency’s Leadership Development Department worked closely with us to customize our content for their environment and mission. We launched a train-the-trainer program to build their internal training capacity. Contacts Count is into the 3rd year of the project to train their trainers to teach “Building Partnership Networks”for supervisors and managers. The program has enjoyed widespread acceptance and its word-of-mouth reputation fills the classes.3
KPMG, one of the “Big Four” accounting firms, knows that business development is everybody’s business. They wanted their mid-level professionals to see client development as part of their role and to take more responsibility for expanding their client base. These professionals worked at client sites every day so were well-positioned to look for ways to extend the business or get new business.
Contacts Count was asked to design and lead a series of interactive programs to show managers and associates how to build relationships, attract more referrals, gather business intelligence, make the most of conferences and meetings, ask good questions, and extend their engagements. Since attendees were at remote sites all over the US, the training was delivered on line from the KPMG studio in New York City. A KPMG partner served as co-presenter and gave practical examples describing how cultivating a deep and broad network helped him gain business and visibility for the firm.4
Keiter CPA, one of the largest accounting and consulting firms in Virginia, realized that several of the founding partners of the firm – all experienced “rainmakers” – would soon retire. The partners wanted to start early to prepare the next generation of CPAs to continue to attract clients and referrals. In short, they needed a training program that would do two things: help their CPAs take on a larger client development identity and teach the skills that would make Keiter CPA the natural and only choice when opportunity arose.
Contacts Count designed an 8-month program for their mid-level associates that is unique in the marketplace and has the full support of partners and founders. The program includes self-assessment, classroom training, webinars, executive coaching, “stretch assignments” to be completed outside the class, and also meetings with and mentoring by partners who are currently successful at bringing in the business.
eBay is a multinational internet consumer-to-consumer corporation. With local operations in more than 30 countries, delivering training is a challenge. When they decided to convene a meeting at their California headquarters of women leaders from all over the globe, they wanted to ensure that attendees made maximum use of the “face” time.
So eBay invited Contacts Count to design and deliver a series of on-line training sessions to teach The 8 Networking Competencies to the women. The training sessions were tactically placed two-weeks before the women came together for the face-to-face 3-day meeting in California.
As a result, the women leaders increased their skills in information sharing and problem solving, formed face-to-face alliances that made remote and cross-cultural relationships more productive, applied the 6 stages of trust building to strategically build relationships with key people, and also gained skills to use back in their home offices.6
The role of the Human Resources Professional at Lockheed Martin was rapidly expanding. In order to better serve their internal customers, top performers were selected for a 2-year Leadership Program. Because these professionals need a deep and wide network of contacts across the company in order to get the job done, the company decided to include training in The 8 Networking Competencies. The program Contacts Count designed and delivered included pre- and post-testing, classroom training, one-on-one coaching, and a monthly internet reinforcement program. The program was part of an overall initiative to implement “horizontal integration,” one of the 5 Lockheed Martin Leadership Imperatives.7
Sapient Global Markets
Sapient Global Markets is a technology consulting firm that services various sectors of the banking world. The firm tends to attract people who are highly competent technically. But the firm saw the need for them to gain skill in cultivating relationships that lead to expanded engagements and/or new clients. “Our success is directly tied to the contributions of every single person,” the client said.
Sapient asked Contacts Count to design and deliver 3 on-line sessions for a worldwide audience. The sessions teach skills such as asking good questions, answering “What do you do?” in a non-technical way that starts a conversation and builds trust, gathering business intelligence, and telling stories that convey expertise and invite conversation. The audience was Senior Managers and Directors as well as Associates and Senior Associates.8
Georgetown University in Washington, DC has long been known for academic excellence. The Human Resources and Training Department also offers programs for professional development to the 7,000 + staff members. Contacts Count was invited to design a one-day program for the Professional Management Certificate Program that certifies staff who complete a certain number of required and elective training courses. Our networking skills course has been offered 3 times a year for the last 12 years. The curriculum includes skills in The 8 Networking Competencies and has as its goal of helping staff find resources, work cross-functionally, make their skills visible to those who need them, and to get the job done.