Getting and keeping the right quality professional staff is an increasing challenge for advisory, accounting and legal firms of all sizes. Not only is a skill shortage putting pressure on existing professionals, it takes time to recruit the right people (I was quoted 5 months at the time of writing), incurs increased recruitment fees and it takes longer for new people to become truly productive.
You can frequently tell what it is like to work in an organisation, for example by observing how people interact, how they communicate, how offices are arranged & the ambience of the reception area. However, it is not always easy to articulate why you are left with certain impressions which tend to be formed quickly & often subliminally. In his book ‘Blink’, Malcolm Gladwell talks about “rapid cognition …the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye’.
“Improving engagement correlates with improving performance”. This is the overriding message & the evidence seems too strong to be ignored. The statistics speak for themselves…
Organisations are always on the lookout for fresh ideas & we have recently come across Illustra.TV who publish short video interviews with influential management & leadership thinkers. They have published a video interview with Nick Obolensky, author of ‘Complex Adaptive Leadership’. In it Nick offers an overview of some of the principles behind his research. You can see the video here, at the bottom of the page.
Key members of the international finance department in a large London-based services group needed to adopt new ways of thinking & working. The group was seen as dysfunctional & coaching was the lever selected to address this. However, from a distance it looked like a remedial act, like coaching to an imposed set menu; the agenda was entirely the organisation’s, more ‘table d’hôte’ than ‘a la carte’.
A study of the characteristics of chaos & complexity science suggests ways in which leadership could be made even more effective & potentially less stressful. It is an interesting & potentially far-reaching proposition. There is little doubt that the climate in which so many organisations operate is complex, uncertain & liable to sudden unexpected changes.
The logic for cross-selling in professional services is compelling. Large clients and accounts that buy one service – say intellectual property advice or transactional support – frequently face challenges in a variety of areas in which the incumbent has real expertise, supported by the fact that they are generally seen as ‘trusted’ and will already have a good working knowledge of the issues the client faces, both internal and in their markets.
It is a measure of how far coaching has entered the mainstream that it is now a critical element of the part-funded UK government ‘Solutions for Business’ scheme. It is a powerful tool in the change and performance armoury and interesting to see it being endorsed in this way.
A short while ago we carried out a research project to identify the characteristics of truly effective business services professionals in the legal sector. It was initially focused on Human Resources delivering their services to internal clients but as the research continued it became clear that the lessons were equally applicable across the spectrum of business services functions – IT, secretarial, marketing, finance etc.