Voice from the Trenches / November 9, 2015
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We spend too much time trying to hide our firms’ flaws. What we should be doing is re-thinking how those supposed flaws might actually be our strengths.
Recently, I was at a networking event where I had the chance to meet someone from a competing firm. We started talking about a recent project that we both submitted a proposal on, and shared our reactions when we saw each other’s firms on the short list. Our firms are vastly different. We’re small, they’re large; we’re regional, they’re national; we have experts, they have rock stars.
Their impression of my firm: a small, nimble firm that can respond to pricing pressures because of reduced overhead expenses, deliver high-quality products and provide high-touch client services and compelling community engagement programs. Obviously, the client would feel “safer” with a small firm.
My impression of their firm: an impressive portfolio filled with large-scale projects, broad geographic experience that makes the client feel like they’re getting a national expert and the backing of a large firm, thus more resources to put toward a project. Clearly, the client would feel “safer” with a large firm.
We both felt insecure about the same thing–our firm’s size! But as the old adage goes, size doesn’t matter. It took that chance networking encounter to make me realize its truth…
We all hold insecurities about our firms. And what I learned is that just when you think the object of your insecurity is a weakness, it may actually be your biggest strength. So what are you insecure about, and how can you turn it around and start exploiting it as the strength it truly is?
By the way, my firm won that project–so I guess small isn’t so bad after all.