By Fiona Westwood
Fiona Westwood offers sensible instruments and methods geared toward harnessing the mind and effort of execs to accomplish buy-in and dedication to alter of their enterprises.
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Additional info for Accelerated Best Practice: Implementing Success in Professional Firms
Debate on its ﬁndings is also important. To discuss our strengths and weaknesses inevitably means that sensitive issues within the organisation will require to be explored. This sometimes results in difﬁcult discussions being avoided, as there is a perception that opening that particular ‘can of worms’ may not be worth the tension and friction that it will cause. 2 SWOT Analysis Strengths Weaknesses well established wide range of services premises well-sited & good appearance loyal & stable staff good quality client base good range of partners – age & expertise good local reputation operates efﬁciently adequate IT systems good relations with funders good internal working relations well-rounded management team access to external referrals and contacts traditional fee areas declining not specialised now large ﬁrm–needs structure lack of computer skills lack of agreed direction communications poor decisions take too long lack of client awareness of all services lack of consistency of approach current work levels too high dependence on outside IT support Opportunities Threats local connections wide range of services specialist services joint ventures with other professionals increased pressure on traditional fee areas fees overall being driven down increased competition from other ﬁrms increasing complexity of work increased competition from non-professional sources matters can be just as damaging as these issues fester and cause underlying problems.
Most professionals operate in strong ‘closed shop’ networks. This means that we can trace the history of people – often knowing who they worked with in the past, which organisations they trained in and the type of client services they have been involved with. As a result, we are able to quickly tap into ﬁrst hand knowledge of that individual and his or her ‘professionalism’ and are therefore much more likely to trust people we can trace in that way. Thirdly, professionals tend to use jargon, often as a short hand way of communicating but also as a way of assessing people’s understanding of them.
What could we have done better? Was there a sufﬁcient level of face-to-face contact? If not, why not? Was there a sufﬁcient level of communications? If not, why not? Was the level of information provided correct? If not, why not? What would you describe as the ﬁrm’s strengths? What would you describe as the ﬁrm’s weaknesses? How useful do you ﬁnd our newsletter/brochure/ web site? Future Services In what areas do you anticipate your level of work with us will increase or decrease over the next 2–5 years?