This August, I will reach my 11-year anniversary with SEI. Eleven years. That’s a long time for most consultants to stay with one company. Well before most consultants get close to the 10-year mark with one firm, they’ve typically considered a move to a new employer. However, as I think back over my last decade with SEI, I can’t remember a time when I even considered moving on. What made SEI so different that I don’t feel like I’m just “holding on”?
Suffering from Business as Usual?
It can be the “move up or move on” mindset fostered by your average consulting company that triggers a consultant’s slide into the “holding on” phase. It happens because consultants aren’t satisfied with how their career is progressing or they don’t believe the company’s culture or direction aligns with their professional goals. They begin looking for other opportunities that will foster their professional growth and satisfy their current career requirements. They “hold on” to their current position because it’s paying the bills and isn’t exactly unbearable. Long term, these employees don’t have any plans to stay and help their current employer’s future.
And how does this “holding on” attitude affects the company culture or the quality of the work the consultant is performing for their client? How does this “holding on” attitude affect the bottom line results? How is the morale of the other consultants affected by this kind of passive “just do the job and forget going the extra mile” attitude?
I would bet all readers of this blog know or have known someone who was just “holding on” in order to get to their next job – it may even be you.
Knowing Your Own Motivation…
I recently spoke with one of my IT friends about this topic and my decade long tenure with SEI. His question to me was, “Well, aren’t YOU just holding on then?” He went on to say that he didn’t see me advancing up the corporate ladder and was curious about my plan to advance in the company.
That got me thinking. So what was my motivation for staying with SEI? Our relatively flat structure doesn’t allow for much ladder climbing or advancement like you see in a regular consulting firm. Then it dawned on me – that’s exactly why I was staying with SEI. Not only does the company culture, growth, and direction fit my professional goals, but every other consultant working with me is of the same mindset.
Rising Tide Lifts All Ships…
Our structure allows each consultant to find and pursue their best talent for moving the company forward and making it successful. Not everyone is a rain maker – I’m certainly not, but I have been able to help the rain makers make contacts and generate business. I’m not the most talented networker. My passions have always been community service and company culture. For the last ten years, I’ve been organizing SEI’s involvement in community events like Toys for Tots collections, local children’s shelter fund raising events, and volunteer work events for summer camps for sick and disadvantaged kids. I’ve even been able to start a program where we gather old laptops and desktop computers, rebuild them and get them donated to non-profit organizations, schools, and students. This kind of contribution, while not your standard consulting advancement fare, is seen by others as just as valuable to SEI because it helps cement the idea that a rising tide lifts all ships. And letting all consultants know that their contributions are important is how SEI has earned and kept its consultants’ loyalty.
Not Your Average Company…
SEI recognizes the simple fact that not all its consultants fit into neat, standardized notches you find in the typical consulting model. Because of the collaborative nature of our business model and our flat structure, each consultant is encouraged to do what they do BEST in order to help make the company successful. And it works. When competition between consultants for advancement isn’t the focus but success and growth across the board is, everyone shares the success. Add to that the ability to become an owner and profit in that success and you find people supporting each other’s strengths and passions making SEI a place where “holding on” isn’t even on folk’s radar.
If you might be “holding on” at the moment, come check out SEI. We are always looking for great people to join our team.