This week marked 20 years since I founded our consulting firm. In celebration of our success, I thought I would share some lessons I’ve learned. (I was about to say 10 lessons, but in recognition of the fact that we may all be tired of the “10 Things,” I will make this list only as long as it needs to be.) So here goes:
1. DNA matters. Our 5 core values drive who we are and what we stand for. This isn’t lip-service. I model them and make sure everyone else does, too. The very first core value is our commitment to building trust with our clients. That’s easy to say, harder to do in practice because it requires figuring out how to communicate what is often complicated and sometimes painful news to our clients, all while building trust.
2. The team is only as good as its weakest player. We’ve worked hard to develop a fantastic team. I’ve had to make a few tough decisions along the way to make changes when a person wasn’t working at the level I really wanted. There’s always a period of wrenching readjustment. But in the long run, these are incredibly important decisions.
3. Show appreciation every day. We have drawn very talented people to work on our team. Talented people have many options. I try to express each day how much I value them.
4. Stay open to karmic opportunities. When a client asks you to do something you’ve not tried before, be open to it. When you’re introduced to a talented new consultant, find some way to partner together. Take advantage of these moments to stretch your thinking and try new things.
5. Play the long game. There will be setbacks. But I’ve managed to stay committed to our mission and confident in our success, even in the down moments. And I think that confidence has been contagious.
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