1. There are only two reasons anyone/ any organization ever hires a professional services firm: the client has a problem they cannot solve themselves, or they have a problem they could solve themselves but are choosing not to. Either way, the client is trusting us with their problem, and their money, and their reputation. This is not to be taken lightly.
2. Running a professional services firm is much about help as it is about deliverables. A helping orientation is just as important as what is in the contract. Clients will remember – and appreciate – the way they are served more than any one deliverable. We roll up our sleeves and help.
3. Hire good people who are smart and cool, in that order. We always hire for character and train for skills. Some base level of knowledge and technical competency is required for any role, of course. But like in baseball where you can’t coach speed, in this business you can’t coach drive, self-awareness, passion, humility, or goodness. Everything else can be trained or coached up.
4. No lazy thinking. We will tolerate a lot from employees and peers, but not lazy thinking. Lazy thinking can kill a firm and can kill a client.
5. It’s always about the fundamentals. It’s never the complex stuff that will trip you up, or that a client has it backwards, it’s the fundamentals.