Chapter 3The Right Culture Is Nonnegotiable

“Culture will eat strategy for lunch.”

Peter Drucker

Leaders focused on asset growth understand that creating a special workplace environment helps with recruitment, retention, and client experience. Any organization not focused on its culture will ultimately underperform. We all know that in the wealth management space human capital is the most valuable capital. A great organizational culture must serve all of the stakeholders: clients, shareholders, partners, and employees, as well as the larger communities around them. So, what makes one culture better than another? It's not membership at a gym, free food, or flexible hours. While those perks are all very nice, what I have experienced over the past 34 years and especially over the past 5 years since I've been traveling throughout North America as a consultant and speaker is that people want to be valued, appreciated, and respected.  They want to be recognized for their contribution and not just quietly given a pay raise.

Throughout our industry's history, we have seen what happens when an organization's culture is primarily focused on only one part of the three‐legged stool: shareholders, clients, or employees. We have seen cultures that have a short‐term focus of hitting sales targets miss the opportunity to do the right thing for the client. Yes, everyone likes to increase margins and increase revenue; however, if the three‐legged stool is not well balanced, it will fall over ...

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