What is the key ingredient in the successful implementation of any multidisciplinary and/or geographic expansion strategy? Expansion is not what you do in order to achieve excellence – it’s what you are allowed to do after you have achieved it.
NOTES FOR THE EPISODE:
Most professional businesses from banks to ad agencies to accounting firms have the hope that they can grow multidisciplinary relationships with key accounts. However, most attempts to create one-stop shopping strategies have stumbled, and even those firms implementing modern client relationship management or CRM programs are still struggling to make them work.
In the next few paragraphs, I’m going to pose the questions that a client or customer would have for a prime contractor. What should emerge is that a strategy built on multidisciplinary integration is mostly a strategy of having superior managerial skills and a superior internal culture. The key to making the strategy work is not the mega- move of adding new disciplines or locations, but, as I shall try to show, in coordinating their activities in fine detail. Here we go.
Now let’s turn to the second part of this topic, adding geographic locations as an expansion strategy. What is surprising about all these initiatives is how common they are and how misguided. Expansion is not what you do in order to achieve excellence — it’s what you are allowed to do after you have achieved it.
It is no coincidence that the most financially successful (and admired) law firms in both the United States and the UK are firms that chose not to pursue geographic expansion strategies (Wachl, Lipton Slaughter & May.) These firms, unlike the majority of their grandiose, empire-building competitors, have done nothing but focus on being the best at what they do, thereby attracting the kind of top-tier work and premium fees that are the envy of their peers.
This concludes MORE THINGS IN MORE PLACES: MULTIDISCIPLINARY AND GEOGRAPHIC EXPANSION STRATEGIES, the 11th episode in my 14-part series, Strategy in Professional Businesses.