In his book, "Everybody Matters", Bob Chapman describes a scene from a wedding he attended which provided him with an ephiphany. Witnessing the emotion of a Mother and Father giving their daughter to be wed, Bob realised that his relationship with his employees was akin to that of a parent guiding their children.
Chapman's subsequent approach to leadership and culture at Barry Wehmiller by assuming a role akin to adoptive parent, has been cited by the media, authors, and speakers as a new form of corporate culture and conscious capitalism.
We're proud to announce 3 new promotions by welcoming Ross Andrews, Joe Lennon, and Chris Thompson to the partnership.
For us leadership is about legacy. Each partner at Wellers has a timeframe in which to develop our staff and raise the next generation of leaders in line with the beliefs and values that have served our relationships so well over the years. It's about support, care, and inspiration to help our people achieve what they are destined to do.
We identified the three of them for their willingness to take responsibility, in particular to help develop staff and contribute to driving forward various other aspects of the business.
It was their selflessness, a trait similar to that required of a parent, that saw them promoted to Associate status a few years ago. As part of this they then undertook a leadership course that included external coaching and mentoring over several months.
Each of them has subsequently brought a fresh perspective and new ideas for projects to help the firm in its pursuit of the next phase of growth.
Bucking the trend
At 31 and 33 respectively, Ross and Joe have advanced to this level quicker than many are expected to in the profession. Typically it takes around 15 years from full qualification as an accountant to then work up the ladder to the status of partner.
Ross Andrews is unusual in that he left school, forewent University, joined a firm prior to Wellers and didn't study the AAT. To explain, the AAT is the minimum level expected of an accountant which most school leavers start with when commencing their accounting career. To achieve full, chartered status means progressing to one of the ACCA, ACA or CIMA qualifications.
Instead Ross fast tracked to the ACA exams, quite the undertaking and achievement.
Most of our partners joined our firm as trainees. It's a point we're very proud of. They became part of the family, having worked their way up they then nuture junior members of staff in our approch.
We are however, not averse to hiring people at a more senior level than trainee if we feel they share our values. Like Ross, Joe Lennon is another great case in point. Having started with a small firm in Hertfordshire it soon became apparent to Joe that he'd hit the ceiling in terms of career progression.
In such circumstances there weren't any avenues to advance further regardless of talent or potential. Joe bought into Wellers because of the opportunity he saw in how he could apply his natural affinity for dealing with people to the technical know-how he had acquired at his previous firm.
Our ethos is about fostering relationships and Joe is an arch proponent of that art. Of particular importance was the fact we were promoting people who believed in our vision, wanted to help our staff and clients succeed and consequently were the embodiment of our 'business oxygen' brand and values.
Our first non-accounting partner
In a further development of our leadership and culture, Chris Thompson has become our first non-accounting partner. Naturally, most firms in the profession, operate with the equivalent of several Finance Directors (accountants) running all the different divisions and operations. This can result potentially in something of a limited viewpoint.
In promoting Chris, we recognise not just his contribution, but the vision those from different commercial backgrounds can bring in terms of strategic perspective, driving behaviours and thinking differently about how the business can be run.
Chris has built up the marketing function at Wellers over the last 8 years. He has helped the firm embrace digital and the vast range of opportunities it presents. This has been achieved by developing an inbound marketing approach to our communication strategy including the website, email, CRM software, social media, blogging, and the launch of our podcast.
Leaders are made not born
If environment, specifically culture, shapes behaviour then this would suggest that anyone with the right training and development has the potential to be a leader. It's not just about how much you want it, akin to a self help book, but rather how much you're willing to commit to helping others.
That's our mission and by living it, our 3 new members have earned their place in taking ultimate responsibility for the lives, careers and success of those in their charge.
The content of this post is up to date and relevant as at 02/04/2019.
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