December 8, 2022

Episode 65: Douglas Aitken of Remarkable Practice

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The Story

There are a few landmark moments in the life and journey of every business, and we’ve just experienced one of those at Remarkable Practice. I'm proud to welcome Douglas Aitken as a fellow shareholder and director of the business and, because of that landmark moment, it feels appropriate that we bring Douglas onto the podcast so that you have the opportunity to hear about some of the deep insights that he is acquiring by working with firms and leadership teams just like yours.

This podcast provides a framework for Douglas and me to chew the fat and unpack some joint insights which have had a profound impact on us, and which we think could do the same for you, enabling us all to transform the numbers that matter so that we can enjoy and feel pride in our work and achieve greater profit and capital value growth.

So if you are up for listening to Douglas and me having a little bit of conflict, uncovering and unpacking a few insights on how to build deeper, stronger connections with your team so that they stay with you and enable you to earn the right to recruit more high-quality people and more high-value clients, then this 60-minute podcast will be time well spent.

Everything we do is about sharing knowledge, building that knowledge into skill and developing the skill into the habits that ultimately help you transform your results. We hope you can join Doug and me on this podcast. I think you'll find it of great interest and practical value, as it includes a discussion around some very simple core questioning and listening skills. 

Scroll down this episode page for Doug's contact information, as well as for additional resources mentioned in the podcast.
The Solution:

Until you clarify your purpose…

What's the ‘why’ of what you're doing? What's the meaning behind your work? What are you actually trying to achieve?

I know we're producing financial information, but what's the ‘why’ of that?

Unless people can see that purpose, they are to an extent working in the dark. Unless people can see the vision of where the firm is actually wanting to go over the next three to five years, they are to an extent working in the dark. Unless people can see the behavioural expectations of them, the values - the way they're supposed to go about their work - then to an extent they're working in the dark.

I often equate that to a playing field. If you imagine a football field with only one touchline and one goal line, you've got two major lines missing.

I often draw the analogy that people are running about roughly in the goal area, but they don't actually know where the boundaries lie and they're not entirely sure what game they're playing, though they may have a rough idea…

But things like purpose, values and vision give you the four sides of the pitch, they show you the boundaries in which you're operating. They also tell you what game you're playing, and then things such as values tell you how you're playing the game.

So, it actually delivers people a lot of freedom. You're effectively saying to your team members, these are our boundaries, now go and have fun. We don't need to micromanage you, we trust you because we've given you the framework and the boundaries.

So go and have fun and do your best work in this environment, within these boundaries.





Connect with Paul

Resources relating to this podcast:

Paul and Doug discuss the importance of establishing the core purpose, the values and the behavioural standards expected within your firm. This will underpin everything your firm does and is reflected in the team you work with and the people you recruit. Without this, Doug believes you are 'working in the dark'.

They talk about being a 'team-led' firm rather than a 'client-led' firm and really making time for your team and your individual team members. You do this by being present, really listening to them and avoiding distractions.

During their conversation, they talk about a sense of safety and how vital this is to feeling like you belong in a firm.

Read the ’Healthy Culture Wins’ Business Breakthrough for more on belonging cues and their importance to your team members if they’re to feel safe in the work that they do.

To discover more about how to build a sense of safety, fairness and camaraderie in your firm, read the ’Client Value Counts’ Business Breakthrough.

They also discuss establishing the core purpose of your firm and why being a successful firm isn’t just about delivering products or services to your clients for a profit – it’s about having a deeper meaning that connects with your clients, your employees and other stakeholders. Read the ’Lead with Purpose’ Business Breakthrough to discover how to bring real meaning to the work your team does by clarifying your firm’s core purpose.

Both Paul and Doug recognise that conversations matter, conversations with both your clients and your team, and, when you have these conversations, you need to truly listen, really care, and be curious and committed to that moment, ensuring that your team member or client knows that they have your full attention. 

To read more about the importance to the success of your firm of maintaining and building the enthusiasm of your team, read the ’Profitable Enthusiasm’ Business Breakthrough.

Finally, at the very end of the podcast Paul relates the Ritz Carlton story, which demonstrates so well the importance of a 'team-led' approach to running your firm... ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, serving Ladies and Gentlemen.’ Read this story in the ’Client Experience First’ Business Breakthrough.

And if you want more great business insights into how to look after your team, your clients and your firm, click the link for our library page, where you will find a host of valuable reports.

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