With apologies to my math teachers, I’ve found that this simple equation is the key to professional success and motivation. I’m a big believer that we become the people we spend time with. When we surround ourselves with inspiring, passionate, and successful individuals, we’re naturally motivated to work harder and become better versions of ourselves. A top performer amplifies everyone’s impact and we’re all more successful together.
Likewise, one bad apple can spoil the bunch. Is there anything quite as de-energizing as finding yourself on a team with individuals who constantly complain and put in the bare minimum effort? It’s hard to give 110% each day when the people around you have a “who cares?” attitude.
Smart Hires + Strong Leadership = Greater Success
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of smart hires to drive team success. In the last year, we’ve brought on 15 new Associates to the Accounting & Finance division here at Lucas Group. These are what I call “wet cement” hires. They’re open-minded, glass-half-full individuals who are excited to learn. With such positive attitudes, I was confident they’d be successful in their new roles. But what I didn’t expect was just how much their success would lift up entire teams.
Jess Lalka is our A&F Managing Partner in Denver, and since January, she’s brought on three new Associates who are doing a phenomenal job. These new hires have had what we call “fast starts”– they’re surpassing KPIs left and right. Getting started in recruiting can be tricky in the best of circumstances, and this challenge has been compounded by remote work, pandemic stress, and economic fluctuations. Jess not only made smart hires, but she’s also worked hard to really mold her team into a family. As a result, Denver is now our top branch with year-over-year sales growth of 90%.
Anya Baron, our Managing Partner for Chicago Accounting & Finance Contract, manages one of our most tenured teams. Like Jess, she’s made very smart hires. One of her hires started last September and he’s trending to become a top 10 producer for all of Lucas Group. He’s raising the bar for everyone on the team regarding what’s attainable, and he’s about to be the first person on the contract team to hit a million-dollar milestone. Anya has been very intentional in building a strong team. She holds daily calls, runs a very comprehensive onboarding process, and continually checks in with her team via Zoom to celebrate the big and small wins. Whether her team is remote or in-person, this supportive, ongoing contact keeps everyone unified and driven.
The Right Approach to Recognition and Rewards
If you ask Jess and Anya, they’ll tell you that Lucas Group’s culture of success is one reason they’ve been able to make such strong hires. Everyone we’ve hired has interviewed with other search firms and they all chose Lucas Group because of our focus on inclusion, diversity and camaraderie. When you run an organization with a “1+1=3” mindset, you’ll naturally attract high performers because they want to be part of this success.
One thing that sets Lucas Group apart is that we’re collaborative rather than combative. We aren’t threatened by another’s success; we’re inspired by it. We start by celebrating the small wins with public praise in emails and daily notifications. We build these small wins into the big ones and celebrate those too, whether that’s a spot on our annual sales award trip (we’re heading to Punta Cana next year) or earning year-end awards like President’s Club.
Building strong teams isn’t easy. But when you get it right, there’s something truly magical in how success can ripple through an organization and a single hire can inspire everyone to up their game. There will always be bad days but when you’re on a supportive team, it’s much easier to build the resiliency and grit you need to bounce back even stronger. When you have the right people in your corner, anything can be possible.