O P I N I O N
The soft stuff
Company culture, employee engagement, and morale are often the differentiators between common and great companies.
I n his book The Advantage , Patrick Lencioni presents a compelling argument that a company’s health is the differentiator between common and great companies. In the typical AEC firm, the focus is often on metrics like utilization, direct labor multiplier, and return on business development expense. The “soft stuff” like culture, employee engagement, and overall health are often overlooked.
my own), which became our South Florida operation, and had a legacy office in Tampa. Three distinct cultures came together under one flag. Naturally, silos began to form, and our financial performance and employee morale started to suffer, a sign we were becoming unhealthy. “After finalizing them, our values were always top of mind. We discussed them in virtually every meeting; they were our rallying cry. We insisted on teamwork and serving the client first.”
Lencioni describes a firm that is healthy as one with “minimal politics and confusion, high degrees of morale and productivity, and very low turnover among good employees.” He asserts that: “Turning an unhealthy company into a healthy one will create a massive competitive advantage and improved bottom line. It will also make a real difference in the lives of the people who work there. And for the leaders who spearhead those efforts, it will be one of the most meaningful and rewarding endeavors they will ever pursue.” At SCS Engineers, I had the perfect laboratory to test Lencioni’s assertion. In 2015, I was given the opportunity to serve as the regional manager of our Southeast Region. We had recently acquired two small firms (including
See EDUARDO SMITH, page 10
THE ZWEIG LETTER JUNE 8, 2020, ISSUE 1348
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