In the fall of 2018, SEI-Cincinnati decided to evaluate how we can successfully build and maintain an ownership mentality across the entire consulting cohort. From the day of our first interview, we hear the expectation to “act like owners”. It’s this mentality that has made SEI successful and it’s this mentality that contributes to its continued success. However, the question remains, what does it mean to have an “Ownership Mentality”? We grappled with this question and decided the answer was easier than originally thought: utilize our collective value and engage all our people that make our organization tick. Hence, the First Annual SEI-Cincinnati Ownership Retreat was born.
The goal of the retreat was simple, discuss topics that are near and dear to our hearts from an ownership perspective, including Networking, Client Lifecycle, and Client Expansion. We used these topics to generate conversation and create a springboard into a new year reinvigorated with energy and excitement. Whether you’ve been at SEI for 25 years, 25 days, or are just curious how we engage as employee owners, we wanted to share with everyone what it means to collaborate, share experiences, and come away with a renewed sense of ownership.
I could talk about the fantastic discussions we had about mining our networks, or the best way to find other methods to assist at existing clients. I could also talk about the tactical steps needed to build a succession plan so that you leave your client in a better situation than when you started, but I won’t. All these discussions were key to a successful retreat, but what made the workshop successful was clear: it’s the people. All of us play a key role in the success of SEI. When we have a vested interest in each other we have a more vested interest in this organization.
To tackle topics vital to the success of our business, we broke into groups composed of SEI’ers from different clients and tenure. Our “client first approach” makes it easy to put our ownership responsibilities on the back burner, but this approach allowed us to reconnect to our peers and re-energize as a group. After we finished our break-out sessions, the groups competed in an “Amazing Race” style scavenger hunt. The race was meant to bring out the problem solver in each of us by allowing teams to solve riddles and math problems using video clues and poems. Running from store to store, six teams solved problems, collected bonus points by finding scavenger hunt items and raced to finish first. The race ended in a tie and we used a tiebreaker to determine our champion with the winning team taking home a free happy hour and bragging rights until 2020.
Ultimately, we invest time and effort in SEI because we feel a bond with each other, and we have that bond because of the relationships we’ve built over time. I wanted to leave the Owner’s Retreat with a stronger sense of what it means to work at SEI. When it was all said and done, I took that along with stronger relationships and a greater sense of why we’ve been so successful.