Cooperating is Much Better than Competing
In the recently released Steve Jobs biography, one of the keypoints the author repeatedly reinforces is in regards to Job's insistence on a fully integrated approach to product development during his time as CEO at Apple. Unlike other companies that pit teams against each other, at Apple, everyone works together as one seamless entity - encouraging better idea flow and innovation as a result. No group is responsible for the development of a particular product, but rather, everyone works together - sharing the collective energy and suggestions of all involved.
Reading this made me think of how many firms i know that still continue to operate in silos. There are partners who continue to say "my clients" or "my referrals sources" - just as there are still divisions between tax and audit, or between business avdisory servcies and forensic accounting. Niches run independently too, with each segment vying for new business without leveraging the power of the entire firm. Even the internal support services, like technology, human resources and marketing are seen as belonging to a distinctive area based on their expertise and are expected to behave accordingly.
If your marketing, especially, is seen as apart from the firm's activities instead of being a deeply embedded part of the firm's efforts, you will not be getting the fullest benefit of your marketing and branding communications initiatives. Instead of erecting walls between groups that are almost impenetrable at times, why not take a page out of Job's approach, and integrate the various components more effectively - encouraging idea flow and cooperation instead of having the staff compete with one another in an almost adversarial environment.
Let us kow how this works at your firm!