Any business can grow from the inside out.
I start with that fundamental belief. The journey to that goal is seldom easy or obvious.
That was certainly the case when I first started working with RHB, a higher education consultant based in Indianapolis, Ind. There were early doubts that it was a good fit.
I quickly learned that the RHB team was incredibly talented and committed. They were not going to take what I said at face value. New concepts needed to be deconstructed and redeveloped.
I needed to be at the top of my game to earn their trust.
They needed to be open to new ideas.
“What FiveFour has done for us in the past year is remarkable,” says Richard H. Bailey, co-founder and principal of RHB.
Bailey admits that, early on, he was openly skeptical that FiveFour could deliver on the promise of helping their firm.
“I was resistant to messing around with our mission, but as we are starting to use that new language, it really is at the heart of what we are talking about – our ‘why,’” Bailey says. “I’m really grateful for the help.”
Growing businesses face a common problem. The vision of the leaders gets blurred by the distance from the center of the organization. Bailey was looking forward to transitioning out of day-to-day leadership of the company he founded with his wife Tamara, RHB’s chief executive officer. But he’s confident that the work they’ve done with FiveFour will cement the core values of the firm, creating “virtual hallways and watercoolers.”
“We don’t have the opportunity to let osmosis do its thing,” he says of the modern, increasingly remote workplace. “There’s no shoulder rubbing.”
It’s not just a reshaping of language. RHB is growing fast, attracting some of the top professionals in higher education. Expanding the team brings a new set of challenges, but Bailey notes that the foundational work they’ve done to define the RHB culture has assisted the firm’s growth.
“That momentum is in part due to the way FiveFour helped us rethink who we are, what we’re doing and what we’re all about,” he said. “I was skeptical at the beginning of this. Nathan and his team have done a great job of turning me around on a lot of things.”
It’s a wonderful experience when professionals challenge each other to be better.
I’ve learned so much as this relationship has developed.
First, that what we believe about company culture, what it is, how it looks and works, and the long-term benefits of putting in the work, are true.
Second, that listening is the first step toward learning. Our work with RHB led us to create a completely new structure for one of the foundational parts of our process. It’s not done yet, but we can’t wait to unveil it!
Third, that challenging yourself every day is necessary. Any of the people involved in this venture could have said, “It’s not working,” at any time and we’d have gone our separate ways.
I’m sure thankful we didn’t.
What I believe now, more than ever, is that we can help businesses leaders who want to grow, who are committed to their teams and their purpose.
If that sounds like you, and we’re not yet working together, let’s talk about how we might challenge each other. Connect with me and we’ll figure out how to grow together.