The Secret to High Performance

By now, you have likely heard me say that our people are our greatest resource. We hire the best and brightest - Last year our conversion rate from experienced hire applicants to actual hires was 2%.  If you are part of our team, you should consider yourself top talent in our industry. With that said, our expectations for our people are high. As a result, we have earned the trust of our clients and a place among the nation’s top 20 public accounting firms.  That is a huge accomplishment, and none of this would be possible without our people.  Nor will we be able to grow and progress if we do not continue to challenge and reward the talented people who drive our performance.

Be where you are

Our people are the key to our performance strategy.  The question on my mind lately is two-fold: how do we continue building value for our clients while enabling our people to enjoy a Life Beyond Numbers?  In today’s business world, these two objectives must be met simultaneously.  Many would argue that the two are counterintuitive.

I have surmised that the simplest answer is summed up like this: be where you are. We all have a finite number of hours dedicated to work each day. Make the most of them when you are working- be efficient, be effective and be resourceful. Every hour well spent is another step towards achieving your own personal career goals and, of course, our client’s goals.

Communicate with your teams

Serving your clients and living your Life Beyond Numbers requires advance planning and coordination, both in your career and in your broader life.  Deadlines must be anticipated where possible, and team members and clients deserve the respect of knowing your schedule and confirming they can still meet the firm’s goals.  Communicate frequently with your team members and clients, and show your support for their lives as well by asking for their schedules and needs for integration.  Likewise, communicate with your “teams” outside of your career: your friends and family.  Make sure they know your schedule, including when you will have time with them and when you will need to be focused on your client work.

Find quiet time

One habit that has made all the difference for me is to capture the early morning hours that often slip away. This rare quiet time before emails fill my inbox is a prime opportunity to focus, problem solve and be productive. (Of course, this early morning routine also means I have to go to bed earlier!) It also is a great time to squeeze in a workout or simply relax in the quiet of the morning.  You may find that time is actually a certain point during your regular workday instead of in the early morning or late at night.  Regardless, be sure to find quiet time when you can think clearly, meditate, and reflect on issues that are in your professional or personal life.  Your likelihood of being “fully present” at other times will be much greater if you commit this time to yourself.

Enjoy your personal life

We all need time to rest and recharge in order to effectively deliver on our strategy and values. Your life in and out of the office matters to us. It is why we have built a culture that is both rewarding and flexible. People who live fulfilling, rich lives outside of work—who have the freedom to pursue their personal passions—make happier, more successful professionals and team members. The positive results from this year’s employee engagement survey tell me that DHG people appreciate the flexibility we offer.

Understand the need for integration 

Like many companies, rather than “work/life balance,” we call our philosophy “career/life integration.” We recognize that priorities, like seasons of life, are always changing. Sometimes a pressing client deadline will require longer hours and intense focus at the office. Sometimes your child’s soccer match will call you out of the office a bit early. Both career and life require flexibility. Work hard, collaborate with your team and build resources for each other—so that when you have to juggle your daughter’s orthodontist appointment or you want to join a morning running club, you will have the flexibility you need with a solid team of people behind you.

Performance – The Key to Success

People who feel fulfilled in and out of the office are the secret to DHG’s success. As we focus on performance this year, I encourage you to optimize your time. Your career and your life away from the office deserve you at your best.