This is a guest blog by Joseph Viscuso, P.E., PLS, ENV SP
Every year, our business units prepare “Business Development” plans. This year, one of the major takeaways from our plans was the importance of thought leadership. A deep dive into the plans identified more than 120 “thought leaders” within Pennoni.
As a firm with 56 years of history and experience, it is not just about WHAT we do, but HOW we market our services and deliver the final product to our clients. We find that this helps our firm provide stellar service and subsequently develop more business. While we have a stack of resumes of projects and services from across the U.S., it is not enough given the increased competition within our industry. Developing thought leaders is key to establishing your firm as the expert and the go-to professional for satisfying your clients’ needs.
There are a variety of channels that can be used to display their expertise. Websites, social media, blogs, presentations, and articles are critical. You should rely heavily on your firm’s thought leaders to share their knowledge and play an active role with things like speaking events, webinars, guest writers for industry publications, external leadership roles, and mentoring.
Thought leadership opportunities are valuable because they help to differentiate your firm by establishing credibility and confidence with your clients. They shine a light on the unique skills and talents of your staff. They help with employee recruiting and retention — people want to work with the top professionals! Ultimately, they help bring in new clients and create an attraction for new employees.
There are many examples of how to demonstrate thought leadership, from being published to speaking at a conference rather than just attending, appointment to boards, and even volunteering for a committee at your church. New technologies are also an excellent opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership. If a member of your staff has knowledge of something innovative, you can use that as a broadcasting opportunity. Everyone in the firm can become a thought leader, regardless of their role or years of experience, if they have the inclination.
Obviously, thought leadership is not new, as firms like ours have been leveraging the knowledge and experience of their experts for many decades. However, newer tools like blogs and webinars, as well as the dominance of digital publications and social media, have added many new tools to our thought leadership toolbox.
About the Author
Joseph Viscuso, P.E., PLS, ENV SP, serves as Director of Strategic Growth at Pennoni, which includes involvement in all new initiatives and technologies. Joe is active in the Smart City Council and is a member of the Urban Mobility Task Force. He has spoken at various industry events on the use of innovative smart solutions. He has more than 40 years of experience in a wide range of projects involving urban land engineering, roadway and highway design, utility and drainage design, environmental infrastructure, energy and sustainability, survey and mapping, traffic signalization, planning and environmental studies, municipal engineering, project specifications, cost estimating, and contract and construction administration.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on how you are using thought leadership as a tool for delivering stellar service.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success