Defining A Company Through A Wider Lens
Blog Barista: John Leigh | Sept 17, 2018 | Culture | Brew time: 4 min
I once heard a partner from my previous job say, “No matter where I am at, or what I am doing, I have the best interest of the firm at heart.” For whatever reason that phrase has stuck with me. Little did I know it would also become a part of the business philosophy that has shaped who I am as a leader.
As one of the founding partners of KL&A, my goal as a leader was to always have the best interest of this company at heart. I believe it’s vitally important to remember that the best interest of KL&A includes all of KL&A. But what does that mean?
Well, KL&A is more than a software development and consulting firm. It is more than a small enterprise of the Midwest. It’s a small part of something much bigger. It’s a company that is comprised of our passionate employees, our incredible clients and a unique set of values in our culture.
KL&A provides services, not products. And as such, our success depends solely on the capability, commitment and performance of our staff. Without them, there are no products for our clients, no services that we can provide and, as a result, no KL&A.
However, as a company, we also recognize that our employees include their families. In a sense, that makes us one big family. If anyone from our staff is experiencing issues within their home life, then it directly impacts their ability to perform at work. And more importantly, if a great support system exists from their families, it allows each of our employees to really commit to their long-term career objectives and go over and beyond to serve our clients.
Our employees are representatives of our firm. This means that our employees are known to our clients. We engage with our clients through meetings, working sessions, after work gatherings, golf outings, or wherever they may need us. Many of our clients can spot us because we’re the only developers who wear suits. Others notice us because they see our shirts being worn by our awesome kickball team, our walkers in the JDRF walk, and our running team. Still, others see us in the shirts of the fifth-grade basketball team sponsored by KL&A.
KL&A will be judged, valued and loved by our employees’ actions even when they may not be aware.
Without clients there is no reason for KL&A to exist. We don’t write software to satisfy our own intellectual curiosity, but to solve the business needs for our clients. Clients also help in the recruitment of great staff.
Having large clients with sophisticated technical needs and environments allows KL&A to attract great developers, business analysts and project managers; all who want to experience the challenges and successes of helping our clients solve their complex business needs.
Of course, without our clients, there would be no revenue and, as a result, no KL&A. We value the partnerships we have with our clients, and in turn, view them as part of our company.
Of course, we have the organization which provides the home for our staff, establishes the services that we provide, and the contracting vehicles for working with our clients. But most importantly, it establishes a culture and core set of values with which we adhere to and love.
Our culture and values permeate all our decisions, activities, and relationships. Given that we have a 25+ year history demonstrating our values and performance, our reputation plays a key role in our client’s’ ability to trust KL&A to perform meaningful engagements.
It’s All About KL&A
My wife Elaine will often tell me, “It’s not about you.” And she is correct.
As a founding partner, it is not about me. And it will never be about me. It is all about KL&A. It is inspiring to see the effects of KL&A’s core from someone who has seen it grow from two men in a pancake house to over 100 employees in two states. It is because of our employees, our clients and our values that has made prosperity possible at KL&A.
So, whatever I do, I do in the best interest of KL&A. I view this company as a singular entity, a core group that includes all of it: our employees, our clients, and our company’s values. I believe this view is what makes for a great company because it is not just about our revenue or our business goals, it’s about all of KL&A.
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