Does your practice fit the formula of a successful organization?

Whether you’re a new or a veteran advisor, you know that a thriving business relies on a combination of a lot of moving parts. In his 2014 Annual Meeting presentation “Essence of excellence,”  John Spence, who at 26 oversaw projects in 20 countries as CEO of an international Rockefeller foundation, identified business achievement as the product of a formula:

(T+C+ECF) X DE = success.

What does that stand for?

T = talent

That may seem like an obvious one, but it’s easily overlooked. Said Spence, “The quality of the people that you can get, grow and keep on your team directly determines the success of your organization. If you’re a solo-preneur, that’s the network you create around yourself. That’s the team of advisors and colleagues who help you, the books you’re reading or the videos you’re watching. But it’s one of the most important things I’ve ever learned in my life: You become what you focus on and like the people you spend time with.”

C = culture

Part of a winning culture is what employees want, including being as happy to arrive to work as they are to leave. The environment should be fun and comforting, where people feel cared about and treated fairly. They should be proud to work at and represent the organization, which acknowledges good work, not just mistakes.

The other part of the culture is what’s wanted by the people in charge, which is what Spence calls an “ownership mentality.” “I want them to look at every dollar that comes in as if it were their own,” he said. “They’re intrepreneurs — entrepreneurs inside of the company. They try to constantly increase market share, increase profitability, decrease waste, decrease cost and make it the most effective and efficient and successful business possible.”

As a business owner, he wants people who are creative, competent and proactive, demonstrating passion for the work and a team-friendly attitude. “I think all of us would love somebody like that on our team, someone who’s reactive, competent, innovative and highly accountable. “But here’s the key idea,” he said. “You don’t get anybody like that on your team until you are like that first.”

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