Platt’s Perspective: Connecting The Dots – Because Perspective Matters

It’s amazing how perspective changes a landscape.

At one time or another, all of us have gone up a glass elevator, looking out at the entire landscape unfolding before us. What looked like a cluttered mess on ground level reveals itself to be a manicured, well laid-out design that makes sense only when seen from above. The trees, the landscaping, the water features, the roads, the sidewalks – everything is in order and all the pieces come together to form a harmonious landscape.

seeing-the-bigger-pictureAs a partner, you most likely enjoy this higher-altitude view of your firm. The “cluttered mess” makes sense when you rise above it. Your “landscape” includes the long-term vision, strategy, values, the various departments, services, niches, technology, staff, referral sources, client approaches, compensation, community activity, training, marketing, leadership development and all the other components that together create a harmonious landscape.

But staff rarely get a chance to ride that elevator to catch a glimpse of the total landscape. They are hacking through the weeds on the ground, not always sure of where they are going or how close they may be to getting there.

Remember that scene toward the end of the movie “The African Queen” when Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn all but give up on their long journey down the Ulanga – stuck in the reeds unaware that open waters are just yards away? The camera pans up and the audience can see that they are so close – but the main characters at water level despair and lose hope.

That’s not dissimilar to what may be happening in your firm. Staff may not know that they are contributing to the success of the firm and its clients. They may not recognize that they are on the right track and moving toward “success.” They may not see the open waters just beyond the reeds and they bail out – looking for other opportunities, even though they were “so close” to getting there in your firm.

Your responsibility as a leader is to help your staff see the well-manicured landscape. Take them for a ride in the elevator every now and then and show them the view. Connect the dots for them so they can see the well thought-out design behind the seeming chaos at ground level. Show them how close they are to achieving their objectives so they stay motivated to break through the reeds and get to the open waters ahead.

What’s the risk? Yes, they may find out they are afraid of heights. But they may discover that they get very excited about the view.

Mike Platt

Mike Platt

Mike Platt, managing principal of The Platt Group, has been working with firms since 1985. As a past executive of two accounting firm associations and co-founder of AccountingWEB.com, Mike has helped large local and regional firms across North America grow and thrive. Mike continues to bring fresh ideas, approaches and information to firms across the globe. A frequent speaker, Mike specializes in benchmarking trends and analysis, and dispute resolution services. Mike’s 30-plus years of hands-on experience and interaction with firms gives him a unique perspective on what works and what doesn’t inside firms.