Earlier this week I was reading my eldest daughter's electronic journal (Seesaw) which enables you to view photos and updates of the work being undertaken throughout the term. The update related to a story plan Olivia was developing, and her teacher had commented 'pebble, rock, boulder'.
This month is all about hard hats, construction, consent, compliance and seismic engineering. Which may seem somewhat of a juxtaposition to the perception of the work undertaken by First Follower.
But let me take you back twenty odd years. I was the Communications Manager on the Hallam Bypass freeway project (which to this day I can recite the spiel ‘this $165M, 7.5km freeway project will reduce congestion and improve access through the growth corridor of Casey, the fastest growing municipality in Australia. Removing 10 sets of traffic light…’ oh boy!
Here at First Follower we design and execute growth strategies for professional services firms.
Growth can mean different things to different organisations. The first thing we do is ask about the desired future state, and how the firm is looking to grow. For example, is the organisation looking to:
Over the past three weeks I have been living on campus at Harvard Business School (HBS), undertaking the first unit of the Owner President Management (OPM) program. It is a three-year program, with participants coming from all over the world. The faculty is phenomenal. It is absolutely like drinking from a fire hose.
Last week I travelled to the US, firstly to Nashville to meet the amazing David C. Baker (more on that another time) and then onwards to Austin, Texas to join the inspirational Win Without Pitching Team. We had a phenomenal afternoon filming with Chad Owen from Stimulus followed by a private tour and dinner at the University of Texas Longhorns stadium, courtesy of the lovely Jeff Hahn.
I’m a great believer in learning from other industries, which is why over the past twelve months I have become slightly obsessed with the quiet revolution that has taken place in the creative services and design industries over the better part of the last decade, led by Blair Enns.
I have quite an unusual name it is fair to say. Ceinwen (pronounced Kine-wen) is a Welsh name. McNeil is Scottish. I am neither Welsh nor Scottish. My Dad (Ross) is a Kiwi and my Mum is of Irish convict descent.
It is true. I did get fired…as a client. Or as they very politely put it “we are retiring ourselves from your account”. After three months. Ouch.
I’m not going to lie, it caused significant issues in my business. The projects they were working on were on a critical timeline. Their decision to cease work resulted in stressful days and sleepless nights to get things back on track. Then I started to reflect. Was I a bad client?