November 2012

Learn the purpose behind the chart and the Blackberry.


Ah-Ha! Moment – For the past six years, we have set aside the Tuesday before Thanksgiving for a Firm Meeting – from 8:30 to 11:30, we have continuing education, and then we break for our annual Thanksgiving covered dish luncheon. At six years, this annual gathering for education and a simple shared lunch seems to have been going on much longer. The reason? For the twenty-one years the company has had people other than me, we have had a Thanksgiving luncheon. When there were just one or two staff members, I'd take us all to a restaurant for this lunch. Once the firm had about four or five total persons, we had enough people to bring items for a covered dish lunch.

Whether the lunch was a restaurant meal, a covered dish meal in the office or other location, or a meeting followed by lunch, we've always had this tradition – and I'm very glad we have. It sends the right message – regardless of what's going on with our clients, we take a few hours to be with our colleagues, seeing each other as equals and experiencing our co-workers outside the usual workplace confines. We take a few minutes before we eat to reflect on what's really important, and to give thanks.

We have other annual traditions as well – a Christmas dinner, a late winter Firm Meeting to go over the prior year and plan for the upcoming year, and a Firm Reception for our clients and other friends of the firm. Other traditions include celebrating milestone birthdays, welcoming a new firm member over a meal, or having a lunch to say farewell to a departing firm member.

Doing all these seems like a small thing – yet, not doing them would be a big thing. Our traditions are a big part of "Who We Are."

Lesson learned? A firm's culture is built on many things, and key building blocks include the traditions we all share.