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Passion, People and Principles

“The One-Firm Firm” – new free seminar

post # 167 — August 21, 2006 — a General, Strategy post

This week’s strategy podcast seminar, “One-Firm Firm” (downloadable at no cost), is based on an article I wrote in 1985, and which subsequently appeared in my 1993 book Managing the Professional Service Firm.

Back then, I asked the question, “What do Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, (Accenture), Latham & Watkins and Hewitt Associates and other prominent professional businesses have in common?” (I referred to Accenture by the name of its predecessor firm.)

Besides being among the most profitable firms (if not the most profitable) in their respective professions?

And besides being considered by their peers among the best managed firms in their respective professions?

The answer I gave back then:

A commitment to a model of professional business management which stresses teamwork, collaboration and institutional loyalty, which I term the “one-firm firm” system.

This seminar is one of the very few I have written where I talk about specific firms by name. After all this time, I still feel that I chose the correct firms to discuss.

I am in the process of writing an update for this article, which will appear later this year. But since I think that the lessons still apply (and because these firms are still hugely successful) I decided to make a podcast seminar out of the original article, changing very little.

The seminar includes:

  • An analysis of what makes “one-firm firms” great
  • How the best firms generate loyalty and a sense of mission
  • The ‘open secrets’ of great firms’ strategy on hiring, mergers, compensation, and more

You can listen to this episode with the player above, you can download “The One-Firm Firm” here, or sign up to receive new seminars automatically every week by subscribing to my Business Masterclass series with iTunes or other podcast players. (Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to subscribe.)

The podcast draws from ideas I discuss in these 3 previous conversations on my blog:

I also highly recommend “The Lessons of Andersen” by Brian Sommers — presenting an ex-Andersen perspective on the Enron convictions.

What does your experience say?

Does the evidence really match my conclusion that the loyalty-based, real team-play organizations actually ARE triumphing over the decentralized, profit-centered, internally competitive and entrepreneurial organizations?

And if the “one-firm firms” truly are winning, why isn’t their “one-for-all, all-for-one” approach more common?

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