Consider the Person

Feb 7, 2019   |   By Joe James

As I pass the five-year milestone with SEI, I find myself reflecting on past experiences and the things I’ve learned over my career. Often, hearing different perspectives helps to recontextualize my past experiences. One such perspective was delivered in the form of a podcast. It wasn’t the podcast topic that was memorable, but something the guest said during the discussion that has always resonated. They recounted a story of fellow supervisors mistreating their employees, by abusing their management positions and treating their employees as dispensable objects. She explained how frustrated she became with her peers’ behavior and their indifference to fellow employees’ plight. Exasperated, she appealed to them stating they should “consider the person”.

Three simple words: “consider the person”. They carry so much meaning and are a distillation of a simple idea: treating others with respect and care. Sadly, it’s often easy to find examples where individuals or organizations fail to live up to this core value. Finding an organization that models this behavior is not always easy, so it was refreshing to reflect on how SEI organically empowers consultants to consider all the people in their lives: colleagues, clients, and communities. It’s this “consider the person” mindset that has kept me so engaged over my career.

Consider the colleague ties into everything we do. From the ground level: whether it’s making sure our fellow consultants are successful at a client, celebrating life milestones, or supporting each other in difficult times, SEI consultants rally to help one another realize their potential. From an organizational level, it’s seeing the consultant as the sum of their family, work experience, strengths, weaknesses, and every myriad of personality traits. It’s an organization’s responsibility to understand that all these things make them excellent consultants and supporting them in nurturing each of these aspects.

Consider the client manifests in making the best decisions for a client, regardless of professional benefit. Clients engage SEI to provide an external and honest perspective of their opportunities and challenges. Often, SEI consultants are presented with a myriad of challenges at a client; some easier to solve than others. From day one at SEI, “client first” has been our marching orders. We are counted on to be a trusted advisor. We’re tasked in doing right by the client even it’s not the easiest solution. A successful client is one that will bring us back to tackle additional problems and sing our praises to other potential clients.

Consider the community is an extension of reinvesting where we both work and live. In the last five years, I’ve seen consultants share the causes they are passionate about during staff meetings, informal family outings, and our internal collaboration tools. There is often a groundswell of response from fellow SEI’ers to provide resources, helping hands, and a shared passion. It’s a wonderful and rewarding experience. This is also one of those special components of our culture at SEI. We consider the community because this is where we both work and live.

“Consider the Person”. It’s those three words that best sums up my five years at SEI. Seeing how we’ve come together to help each other, our clients, and our communities, I’ve known that my problems, challenges and passions weren’t mine alone to tackle.

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