I spent a few days out of the office this week visiting a firm outside of Enterprise Worldwide to talk with Partners and key personnel to help them identify steps for moving their firm forward. Over ten years ago the firm was a $2-3million dollar enterprise and had dreams of becoming a much larger firm. Now a decade later they have accomplished the growth goal yet there is a good deal of discontent among Partners and staff.
As it turns out the firm is really struggling to identify who they are and what their vision is moving forward. Many people are nostalgic about the way the firm used to be when it was more intimate and collegial. The changes have disrupted the way the have always worked together and changed many of the processes and procedures they had come to know and trust. The firm has now has a more corporate culture and some Partners that grew up with the firm are struggling to find their place in such a drastically different environment.
As I visited with this firm it struck me that Enterprise Worldwide firms have aspirations to become a much larger firm 10 years from now just like this one and maybe haven’t considered how growth can impact your culture. My point in all this is that you need to realize your culture will be challenged when your firm is growing and you will need to work hard to keep all the things you love about your firm intact. It can be done too. Southwest Airlines still is able to have a fun, playful culture even as their airline has become very large and sprawling.
One advantage that Enterprise Worldwide firms have as they approach similar challenges is the opportunity to focus on your culture through the Five Star Client Service philosophy. Many members in the last year or so have been part of a Five Star training that is helping them keep their culture alive. Like all things it takes practice, focus, and discipline to keep your culture alive.