By JC Abusaid
To last, you need to grow. In a relationship business like ours, great people are everything. Your hiring process should be diligent–a gauntlet of diverse interviewers and environments. To retrain great employees, they need to be offered a culture where they’re supported in achieving excellence. It’s also important to focus on keeping your promises and delivering results.
The key emphasis here is that your team knows that you’re constantly attuned to their experience. We suggest creating a safe process that encourages input on promising new ideas. Some other suggestions:
By supporting your associates, they will in turn provide amazing service to your clients. It’s hard, but don’t just blindly believe that the client is always right. The occasional client may talk down to associates or otherwise make it clear that the relationship is untenable. In cases like these, you should consider firing the client. Associates are your most important asset, and they should always come first.
This means promising — and delivering — professional growth. Consider funding education, professional licenses and designations and map out career paths and options. This includes:
Growing to last means careful attention to detail, which means working on efficiencies and checking effectiveness. Any culture of excellence is designed to support risk-taking and innovation, but your operational budget has to match. Budgeting for innovation is key. Trimming your profit margin to afford to try new stuff, like stand-up desks or pioneering approaches to client discovery process is important.
Be willing to try and fail, if necessary. Invest the time to understand business processes and create consensus to leverage associates’ time and use technology smartly. The goal, always, should be to improve the client experience.
Transformation takes time and a relentless work ethic, but if you commit you’ll find that you can build a culture to span decades.
JC Abusaid is President and COO of Halbert Hargrove.
For more information or questions, please contact Halbert Hargrove at firstname.lastname@example.org.