network needs around the globe
There is a difference between what a member needs from its network and what the network itself needs from its members. As we have stated in previous Newsletters, a successful network provides value to its members but what does a network need in order to be able to do that? Basically there are two main conditions which must be complied with:
Setting the Stage
These are facets of a network which need to be in place before a network can perform. Elements include but are no means limited to:
Name, logo, website
Clear structure, governance, roles/responsibilities, charter
Agreed objectives and a platform for dialogue with members
Chairman and designated co-ordinator
Good geographic representation
Systems and procedures
Action and Keeping Momentum
A network needs active involvement and commitment on an on-going basis and this includes:
Members who need to use the network
A forum for maintaining the effectiveness of the client servicing tools
Members with good servicing capabilities who enjoy the confidence of producing members
Business referrals and education
Members who care about the network and who are willing to give and take. They give time to share their ideas, experience and expertise and take the trouble to support the requests of fellow members with answers, advice and a good example
Funding from those who see value in investing in the network – not just membership fees but financial support from sponsors
In addition to these criteria, one needs to take a pragmatic approach to implementation.
How do you bring it all together?
There is a fine balance in getting it right and even if you think you have it right, it can be very subjective and it really depends upon what the majority of the members want. In the course of the past year Worldwide Risk Solutions has had the opportunity to discuss these matters with quite a few networks: in some there are members who only want incoming referrals and sit back and wait for them. In one or two networks, there a members who handle as much as possible on a non-admitted basis, leaving the network member to handle “the dregs” of an account.
We have been involved in surveys where it is clear that members want to increase their knowledge about other members’ markets but need encouragement to say something about their own. Further groups want brainstorming sessions from dawn to dusk and there are those who are looking for little more than a game of golf, a good dinner and the chance to see their friends again. Well, as the diplomat might say, they are all right and in 1984-speak, some are more right than others.
In our experience, most networks believe they have a good chance to be successful if they have:
An environment which encourages members to go the extra mile
Clear and understandable goals and objectives
Members whose expectations are in line with such goals and objectives
A culture of communication and a willingness to turn a talking shop into a constructive dialogue
Equitable income-sharing arrangements
Flexible and workable rules about the cost of service
Respect as a result of a recognised name/image and a good reputation
Last on this shortened list but top of anyone’s: have someone to co-ordinate it
What makes international business interesting?
Besides our continuing reviews of international collaboration and co-operation, we will be bringing readers an insight into different markets around the world. These Spotlight articles will be pulled together with the welcome help of some of most successful networking brokers in their region/country and we will discuss international developments and some of the effects they have on the global markets.
Worldwide Risk Solutions has a wide client base of internationally oriented organisations. Utilising the knowledge and experience gained over many years, we can put this capability at your disposal. If you would like us to conduct a swift appraisal of your global activities or if you have questions about international developments, just give us a call +44 (0)1444 450 919 or send us an e-mail and we will be happy to look at some of these questions and to start providing answers.
In our next e-newsletter we will look at Spotlight: Brazil, a country which is on the verge of some exciting developments. The monopoly of the IRB is finally coming to an end and we shall discuss what could be happening next.
See our Contact Details
George Worsley, Director
Worldwide Risk Solutions
Telephone +44 (0)1444 450 919