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Re-Treading: Not Just For Tires Anymore!

By: Joe Combs

Beautiful woman think and write notes on paper working on a laptop freedom from office at home

In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steve Covey tells a tale of two woodsman cutting logs.  One works feverishly at his task while the other pauses periodically to sharpen his saw.  In the end, the woodsman who pauses to sharpen proves to be the more productive of the two, a lesson on the importance of investing time to keep on top of your game.

In the spirit of the saw sharpening woodsman, I recently had the opportunity to attend our new hire orientation as a “re-tread”.  Re-treading for SEI isn’t really a remedial course or a simple refresher.  It’s a complete re-immersion into the “why” of SEI in order to help consultants re-connect with what attracted them to SEI in the first place.  Along the way, I gained a deeper understanding of what makes SEI a cut above.

We have gotten much more intentional about orientation and it’s a good thing. When I was hired on, orientation was a single day event.  The new format features social activities, case studies and discussion sessions, all carefully crafted to inspire the type of bonding and collaboration that makes SEI’s model so unique. This common shared experience starts every new SEI’er off on a sure footing of knowing that there is an entire team of consultants across many disciplines and geographic spaces who all have their best interests in mind.

There aren’t always clear-cut right answers.  As we worked through case studies discussing options and speculating on a course of action, it became clear that there are always multiple points of view to consider.  Whether it’s a challenging client, a hiring decision or new business pursuit, I learned that SEI has created a fantastic framework for allowing our consultants to come up with creative solutions and make decisions that serve all parties well.

It’s great to be surrounded by talented, motivated professionals.  One of the things that initially attracted me to SEI was the caliber of the people I’d be working with.  Getting to meet a new pledge class re-affirmed for me the value of being able to interact with like minded professionals.

Transparency is so crucial to what we do.  It’s easy to take for granted after so many years.  Seeing SEI through the eyes of a pledge class getting their first look at our open book management style and discovering the directness of our discussions, gave me a new appreciation of how much our model depends on transparency.

Re-treading is hardly a new concept for SEI.  In my own new hire orientation seven years ago, our pledge class was joined by Dave Hoy, a consultant who already had several years of solid SEI experience under his belt.  Dave was looking for a tune-up.  I’m as grateful for the opportunity to recharge my batteries, by taking a fresh look at the “SEI Way”, just as Dave did years ago.

Joe Combs


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