As a business development and organizational management consultant working with companies of all sizes, from startups through well established, multi-channel entities, we are consistently asked about the most efficient path to success. As you can imagine, the answers are varied and the outcomes, even more so. Many business experts provide recommendations, top tips, short lists and best ideas on how to succeed on a daily basis. The constant barrage of these suggestions, while well meaning, often results in organizations focusing at random and on only fringe pieces of the puzzle, missing the largest obstacle standing in their way. This obstacle is firm engagement.
We will define firm engagement as the process by which the organization educates, engages and applies its resources towards the common task of firm building. Given the breadth of these tasks, how do we best address firm engagement? Noble Ark Ventures’ founder, Sandra Powers Murphy, is a LCSW and has spent many years consulting with clients regarding organizational management best practices and business development with a focus on firm engagement. Our experience has made us even more passionate about this element of firm success, because we understand that even the best solutions require an excellent and fully engaged team behind them to be successful. What we find, more often than not, is that firms have taken many of the traditional recommendations the market has to offer as to the value of outsourcing, product development opportunities and specific content creation ideas, for example. Yet, the firm’s internal engagement is subpar. These organizations generally have a strong offering and story to tell, which is how they got to us in the first place. They typically have 1 or 2 seasoned advocates who represent the firm well.
However, it is often the case, particularly in small firms where it matters most, that the firm engagement quotient is off beyond these first line advocates. A lack of firm engagement might indicate a lack of clarity around messaging and purpose from the ranks of the organization, or it may take the form of notable disconnect between senior members of the team as to the firm’s core value proposition, for example. In each case, understanding the specific strengths, weaknesses, and interplay between team members is critical in defining the best solution to enhance firm engagement. Often, a redefining of firm positioning and value proposition is required to ensure all team members understand the firm’s positioning and goals. In addition, team training, incorporating both group and one-on-one sessions to enhance presentation skills, team interaction and clarity of messaging and purpose, are all invaluable to building firm engagement and ultimately creating a more cohesive and efficient market presence.