TZL 1426 (web)


TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients? JJ: Trust is absolutely the main ingredient for long-term relationships. It is not only developed during the “good times;” trust is earned as you work through consensus development, through difficult decision- making processes and through conflict resolution. All relationships and projects have challenges. What forms the bond is how you resolve the problems in a manner that demonstrates you have the clients’ interests in front of your own. “The emergence of current generational cultures has reminded me the importance of work-life balance late in my career. My hope is that future generations are able to achieve work-life balance better than me.” TZL: Howmuch time do you spend working ‘in the business” rather than “on the business”?” JJ: At Hafer, we purposely choose not to highlight the distinction. Our strategic plan focuses on integrating activities of both concepts into the typical work day for all employees. It’s our goal to build a culture where continuous improvement, client service, employee development, and business development is embedded into everyone’s mindset. The result is not shifting focus back and forth, but a collective understanding of holistic approach to the accomplishment of both concepts. TZL: They say failure is a great teacher. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn the hard way? JJ: My roots are firmly grounded in the baby boomer mentality. Therefore, I have often focused on the accomplishment of tasks and many times failed to experience all the opportunities life and family have to offer. The emergence of current generational cultures has reminded me the importance of work-life balance late in my career. My hope is that future generations are able to achieve work- life balance better than me. TZL: What skills are required to run a successful practice? What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now?

JJ: I learned the joy of creative thinking in college, but it wasn’t until I competed for work, dealt with human resource challenges, and “paid the bills” that I discovered true creativity in a holistic business practice perspective. I have learned that successful business practices are what ultimately allow you to be in the best position to experience the creative joy born in college and to produce truly inspiring work. TZL: In one word or phrase, what do you describe as your number one job responsibility? JJ: My first priority is to be a facilitator – to help our future leadership navigate client relationships, conflict resolution, encourage growth, and to be a resource. Ultimately, it’s all about sharing the information and building the confidence necessary for greater future success. TZL: A firm’s longevity is valuable. What are you doing to encourage your staff to stick around? JJ: I spend a great deal of time thinking about our firm’s longevity. Our firm is in its 43rd year of existence. I am its second president and part of the second generation of leadership. My mission, as we transition into the third generation, is to teach them what I know and help build a strong foundation. From there, I will be their greatest cheerleader as they work to achieve their dreams. We know staff stay because of compensation, benefits, and culture – but I suggest the reason they thrive is the opportunity to mold their future. “A planned, informative, and transparent process is critical to building a new generation of independent, courageous leaders who will guide the firm to new heights.” TZL: Over the past year or so, your firm has made several new hires and made several leadership promotions. Is this growth part of a current strategic plan? What’s your growth forecast for the next five years? JJ: During 2020, our firm completed an enlightening and comprehensive strategic plan. The plan focused on four pillars: Clients, Process, Financial, and People. While we know you can’t succeed without See INSPIRE BY EXAMPLE, page 8





■ ■ Evansville, IN

■ ■ Owensboro, KY

■ ■ Carbondale, IL

■ ■ Columbus, OH


■ ■ Architecture

■ ■ Engineering

■ ■ Interior design

■ ■ Landscape architecture

■ ■ Planning

■ ■ Sustainable design


■ ■ Civic

■ ■ Corporate

■ ■ Education

■ ■ Financial

■ ■ Healthcare

■ ■ Libraries

■ ■ Religious

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

UARY 31, 2022, ISSUE 1426

Made with FlippingBook Annual report