We recently brought our team of 40+ directors together for our first in-person offsite meeting since 2019. We spent the day talking about the incredible pool of talent we have at our firm, and what we need to do to help our professionals grow and assume leadership roles over the next decade. It was a productive discussion and the insights unearthed will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the firm for years to come. But what struck me the most was the sheer number of future leaders we have and the enormous effort we put into developing our team.
Thanks to the hard work of our team members and the trust our clients have placed in us, we have experienced a substantial amount of organic growth over the last decade. Like many businesses, the informal, organic development of our professionals that worked so well when we were a much smaller firm was simply insufficient for the larger company that we have become. Developing the wide range of skills that hundreds of our professionals need to propel future growth has required substantial investments. Additionally, the old tactic of simply telling employees the skills they need to develop and letting them suffer the consequences of failing to develop those skills not only hurts them, it also adversely impacts morale and serves as a constraint on the firm’s future success. These challenges aren’t unique to us—they affect every mature business.
In today’s environment, leaders need to identify the skills our professionals need to be successful AND they need to own their development. Counseling should not be a semiannual or annual process; it should be done daily to reinforce desired behaviors and redirect others before they become habits. Additionally, leaders need to connect those desired behaviors with positive outcomes—economic, social, and emotional—so team members feel a sense of purpose, something that recent generations demand in their professional lives.
The pandemic has forced a cultural reawakening, and if leaders do not adjust their method of developing their people, then they run the risk of a talent exodus. Conversely, by tackling these challenges, leaders can drive improvements in morale, growth, and profitability, ensuring that they create lasting stakeholder value.
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