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Your Firm Is Your Foundation

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

How “healthy” is your company?

Why do we ask? Because we at Shepherd Advisors see a healthy firm as foundational to building a high performance growth machine. The firm is the crucial HOW - HOW we organize and manage our people, activities, resources and assets to achieve more robust and profitable success.

“Health” speaks of “soundness of mind and body” and “freedom from disease or ailments.” Rings true for our persons, and our companies. A good way to discern your firm’s health is to ask yourself and your team, “In our firm, how frequently are the right people doing the right things at the right time and in the right way?”

When the response is “Sometimes,” or worse “Rarely” or “Never,” a frequent cause is that the team’s efforts, activities and resources are not aligned. The team is not working on the same page.

It’s natural. Again and again we see that as most firms grow, they become more complex. What starts as a simple product and a single market with a clear sales pathway branches into multiple products in different markets, each with their own distinct sales pathways. Addressing this added complexity is challenging – and crucial to building sustainability.

To pivot towards greater health, here are seven clarifying questions to consider:

  • How aligned is your team and its activities to achieve your vision?

  • How well understood is your business model? How effective is it?

  • Does everyone understand and agree with your core growth strategy?

  • How well does your culture support the growth your striving for?

  • How well is your team aligned around core values that drive your success?

  • Where does execution of strategy and actions break down? Why?

  • What are the gaps between the capabilities your firm has vs. what its growth aspirations demand?

A caution: the real answers to these questions can be negative even when a firm is experiencing growth. Indeed, the more rapid the growth, the more one has to dig to get the actual truth!

With this in mind, steer clear of these blinding assumptions:

  1. All is well because on the surface, so everything is great!

  2. Our robust growth numbers tell all we need to know.

  3. Our strategy got us here and it will get you there.

We’ve all experienced how such “good enough” assumptions can mask an amazing array of “disease or ailments:” poor leadership, structural breakdowns, culture toxicity, inefficiencies that waste time, energy and resources, and a lot of lost opportunities because customers and markets change but your firm does not.


Eager to strengthen your firm? Request our growth audit to get customized tips for your business.


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