Culture is talked about more than ever in professional services firms. It is certainly true that many organisations lack the necessary motivation within their teams to go out and win new instructions.
Following a period of remote working, whilst I am no HR guru, I would strongly advise you to benchmark yourself against this far from exhaustive list.
1. Reveal your inspirational brand ideal and put it into operation in every function of the business.
What is your organisations reason for existence beyond making profit? Simon Sinek anyone?
2. Be clear about what you stand for, inside and outside your firm.
Engage employees, clients and suppliers constantly. Embed your principals into the daily business priorities to change behaviours accordingly and get everyone on board. Be obsessed with client satisfaction. Speed will be key.
3. Design the organisation for what it needs to win.
What specific work must you do and what capabilities do you need for competitive advantage? Most firms have a structure set up years ago that no longer caters for the personalities and skillsets within it. Many more are only concerned with not failing rather than winning.
4. Get your team right and do it quickly.
Much can be achieved faster than expected with the correct people in place. Hire for attitude and train for skills. Don’t lose quality staff to competitors for the sake of a 10% pay rise.
5. Champion innovation of all kinds.
Every business needs a mix of product or service innovation, pure commercial innovation and disruptive innovation that redefines a task or business model. Google employees have time built into their working week to come up with new ideas!
6. Set your standards very high.
This is one of the most powerful daily opportunities available to leaders. Do not adopt a culture of accepting failure. I have seen many times over, excuses made for people with long term service, who are no longer hitting their numbers.
7. Train all the time.
Every interaction every day is a training event. Include regular de-briefings to coach people on how to improve the outcome next time. Training should be fast and efficient and is a hallmark of great organisations. People are your greatest asset and differentiator so treat them as such.
8. Do a few symbolic things to create excitement about what is important.
Focus on one or two events a year, major actions that will be meaningful to you and other stakeholders. Presentations might include ‘Maximising Client Satisfaction.’. Remember people do their best work when they believe in it, enjoy it and feel they are advancing and being a part of the decision making. It can be an important part of making your firm a magnet for the best and most talented people. Who would you like to attract to work at your firm?
9. Think like a winner, act like a winner.
A study by Procter & Gamble found that consumers didn’t buy a certain brand because they sensed that the people behind it were uninspired, unhappy and disengaged. Customers didn’t want to put their money into something that wasn’t backed by the full faith and credit of the people who made it. The study highlights the importance of motivation and inspiration of the staff behind a business.
Whilst knowing that happy, motivated people deliver better business results, the survey suggests that clients can sense how motivated staff are just from seeing the service and how it is presented to them.
So be sure to think like a winner, especially when your firm is going through a rough patch as many are at this time. A brand ideal is a huge plus in building a winning attitude because it charges everyone up about contributing to something that really matters. Something of fundamental human value.
10. Live your desired legacy.
Physically write down what you want to achieve and work towards it every day. If you don’t know your ultimate goal, you’ll never get there.
A previous article I wrote about what’s needed to create a specific BD culture can be read here.Alistair Marshallread