The Firm That Has No Meetings
Imagine it — a multi-partner firm with no partners' meetings.
Some would say, "thank Goodness! It must be a better place." Others might think, "Gracious — it must be out of control, low profit, non-focussed and a terrible place to work."
The "others" are categorically wrong.
Steve Siegel and his partners at the 30-person Lipschultz, Levin and Gray in Chicago have found a truly unique way of doing business — a way that many (if not all) practices could do well to emulate.
Four years ago, Siegel decided he'd had enough of "ordinariness." He convinced his Partners (at one of the "old" partners' meeting) to let him have his way. The result? Rapid growth the likes of which they'd never seen.
There were two major keys to the strategy — create a totally different environment and create a practice that was fun to be a part of.
The different office is absolutely different. There are NO fixed desks and NO offices (save one conference room that itself is very different). There are even two red-painted telephone box structures right in the middle of what is essentially open space for private phone calls.
One result — the office has gone from 16,000 square feet to just 6,000 (and that’s gone straight to the bottom line). But according to Siegel, that's just the smallest part of the bottom line effect.
The visitor to their offices notices the change instantly (although the office reception is fairly conventional save for the projector screen filled with constantly changing business-focussed motivating quotes). But when you look further you note a "parking spot" for the specially-designed wheel-equipped desks and "to-go's" — specially-designed filing drawers again with wheels (in fact, everything is on wheels!)
When people arrive in the morning, they wheel their "offices" to wherever they want to be located that day. It might be next to a work-group working on something for a particular client. So when you go in, you have NO idea who's a partner and who isn't. Two immediately obvious effects — nobody can hide and the work groups are enormously productive.
And what about the meetings? Well, there's just no real need for them according to Siegel. That's because the communication levels are just so extra-ordinarily high.
The effect is spectacular. On my visit every one of the CPA's who joined me wanted to fill out employment application forms. And that's another story that's fascinating too — Siegel has some interesting ways of getting the additional team members he needs to cope with the explosive growth. More about that soon.
Afterthought: Yes, the firm's name IS a hard one. That's why you can visit them on a most interesting website at www.thethinkers.com
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Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.