It’s hard to put your finger on why some professional services firms operate better than others. If you ask most partners what makes their firm better they’ll tell you “it’s the quality of our people” but I’m not sure that’s the whole story. I’ve seen some very good people struggle to do good work in the wrong firm and some very average people excel in a well run firm.
One sure fire sign that a firm is running well and getting the most out of its people is the priority the firm is putting on getting things right with its clients.
I’m about to join a firm that has been extraordinarily successful in its first five years of trading. If you speak to their partners you don’t get two sentences into a conversation without some reference being made to a client.
You can’t get people lower down the corporate food chain to “treat customers fairly” if the customers aren’t the first priority of the people at the top.
Sadly, most financial services companies don’t seem to have grasped this message. The people at the top are too often caught up in the internal workings of their organisations and have lost sight of the company’s purpose – to provide professional services to clients.
Which is why I’m genuinely pleased to be leaving the luxurious life I have enjoyed over the past three months and work for First Actuarial.