By Alex Evans, National Business Awards

Getting under the skin of the client business, working in close partnership and releasing potential through process, behavioural change or technology are all factors that distinguish true Business Enablers.

“The notion of enabling others to succeed is not only a noble pursuit it is also highly profitable for those companies that get it right,” said Chris Matchan, Visiting Fellow at Henley Business School at a Co-Chair of Judging in 2011, commenting on the new BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year Award. “The category attracted a fascinating blend of companies who proved they could excel in terms of service innovation, product design and world class partnering and our finalists were all able to demonstrate significant achievement in this regard.”

Improving and growing

One of last year’s finalists that demonstrated how it had enabled not only excellence but growth in the public and private sector was arvato.

“While outsourcing has traditionally been viewed as a way to drive down costs within an organisation, the experience, insight, right skills and processes can accelerate growth plans rapidly within tight budgets,” says Matthias Mierisch, CEO & Chairman of arvato UK & Ireland. “Our partnership approach to customer relationships is based on mutual risk and reward, collaborating with companies to understand the reasons for growth, the ultimate long-term aims of the business and most importantly, what their customers need to see in terms of consistently excellent service.”

Commenting on the role of technology, Mierisch adds: “Technology is a key enabler for any growth strategy, as it can help to create a foundation, drive efficiencies and standardise processes, but only if people use it! Engaging employees is the critical element in delivering growth – getting a team fully focused on the long term aims of the business, and empowering them to turn a growth strategy from plan to reality.”

Releasing potential

It was this focus on people, and enabling them to ‘release their brilliance’, that impressed judges most about the winner in this category – The Chemistry Group.

People have become the biggest strategic issue in business,” says Roger Philby, CEO of The Chemistry Group. “It’s not about replacing people; it’s about hiring the right people and developing existing people. We apply clinical, behavioural and environmental psychology to the workplace. While other consultancies focus on process, we demonstrate that you simply need to understand human beings.”

And the results have been impressive, with one client seeing an ROI of 30 times what it spent in only nine months. “The client wanted to grow service revenues and increase its employee engagement,” Roger explains. “We enabled sales managers to be what they should have been in the first place, helping them to release training and knowledge they already had but weren’t using. We removed hundreds of thousands of pounds of cost by making recruitment more effective – which freed managers up to manage their staff. We developed people so they could bring their whole self to work; so they could be brilliant at work.”

Summing up the unique role of Business Enablers in driving broader economic growth by helping organisations to better release their potential, Chris Matchan highlights the five characteristics that distinguish the very best Enablers.

“Those at the top of the category dramatically made their clients more productive, less stressed and even significantly impacted on the wider environmental footprint of their clients,” he says, “but what made the difference for those at the top was: an absolute passion for other people’s business – not just their own; an ability to manage complexity for other’s businesses in ways that look and seem simple to the user on the client side and which mask the complexity of the work going on in the background; a fixation with helping others to free up time, resources or people to concentrate on their core business; great partnering skill - our finalists were able to demonstrate fantastic levels of service and joint ways of working; and a relative lack of ego – the client was the star not the enabler company.”

The hunt is on for organisations that have grown by helping other organisations to grow. For information about the Business Enabler of the Year award, and how to enter, call the Entry team on 0207 234 8755, email anthony.akoto@ubm.com or visit www.nationalbusinessawards.co.uk

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