What makes a great firm tick?

By June 12, 2014 May 10th, 2020 No Comments

“In your experience, what makes a really great firm?”

I was asked this question after an address at a business forum put on by the Association of Consulting Surveyors NSW. It really stopped me in my tracks!!! It was a really good question. Various answers flashed through my brain.

Was it great clients who valued your professional advice and didn’t try to screw you down on price every time?

Was it great projects to work on that inspired the whole firm and gave us prestige within our particular professional discipline?

Was it positive team members with “can do” attitudes who were willing to have a go and accept responsibility for their particular areas?

Was it modern technology and equipment that allowed efficient and effective work to be done consistently throughout the whole firm?

Was it great premises with natural light and energy efficient design that acted as a brand endorsement for our firm?

Was it great fellow directors with positive outlooks and supportive attitudes who worked as a complementary team?

Was it well structured business processes that allowed us to manage liquidity, job profitability and compliance easily week by week?

Was it a cleverly positioned brand backed up by a schedule of regular articles, networking activities, client visits and post job reviews?

Then I realised it was all these things!!!

But another light bulb went off immediately this thought entered my head….it was all these things but one single factor seemed to be required before all these things could be achieved.

And that was a contagious positive energy coming from the directors.

Their excitement about the firm and its work.

Their confidence in each other.

Their tolerance for each other’s behavioural style and quirks!!!

Their enthusiasm for working with clients and team members.

In a nutshell, the energy they brought to work each day.

Yes, this was the single thing that stood out as the main factor in all my truly great advisory firms.

Without it, the firm was always less than it might be.

And I have worked with thousands of firms over my 35 years career!!!!

Then my questioner asker another great question…

So Andrew, given your thirty-five years involvement with us, where does the energy come from and can it be grown?”

I liked this bloke and his questions…I was stopped in my tracks again.

Yes definitely I thought.

But not by attending some motivational session with the latest lifestyle guru speaker charging $2750 for a day’s haraunging!!!

All my great firms have leaders who serve their firms.

They have a set of corner stone values that people find comfortable to work with.

They are fit (not necessarily thin) and make time to keep fit….it makes them resilient.

They have learned to ask and listen hard first then act.

They have other interests they pursue with singular commitment.

They support their loved ones and give time to them so they can pursue their interests with singular commitment.

This comes back to them of course in supportive energy from their loved ones which builds further resilience!!!

Funny that, eh?

They understand the differing behavioural styles and that different from ain’t wrong…it’s just different from!!!

They cherise the variety of behaviours and different communication styles in others.

You can feel the vibes when you walk into these firms…it’s fantastic.

So what actions would I recommend you consider to build your energy and vitality?

– create time to exercise daily (say no to tyre kicking clients to get it perhaps?)
– learn about your behavioural differences and communication preferences and grow your tolerances
– let go past bitterness…forgiving can be broken down into “for giving”!!!
– eat well, sleep well and look after your physical temple
– celebrate the great things your team achieves

A trusted professional advisor needs energy to give to clients to be successful. This is a neglected factor in creating a successful firm.

Saying no to too much work, unrealistic deadlines, cheap work, unethical requests and focussing on building personal energy, fitness and resilience really defines my truly great firms.

Enjoy the journey.
Andrew Geddes.

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