For Bronwyn Condon, managing partner of the accounting firm Marsh & Partners, this journey involved moving up the company's ranks from a graduate and taking on more responsibility until she reached a leadership role.
Building a strong team
Throughout Bronwyn's career, both as an accountant and in a management role, she has seen how central people are to the performance of an organisation. Since assuming the managing partner role, her belief in the importance of having the right people in the right roles has solidified further.
'The biggest challenge is always your people. As a professional services firm, we are very people-focused anyway, it's all about your people,' said Bronwyn.
'If you don't have the right people in the right places it can all fall down around you.'
After taking on this role, Bronwyn has implemented a number of different strategies to build the team within the organisation. Addressing this challenge has formed a key part of her management strategy within the company.
Focusing on mentoring and employee development
For such a people-centric business, Bronwyn has focussed on a number of separate measures that guide employees from their first role as a junior accountant through to higher level positions in management or as a partner. This starts at the recruitment stage.
'We ensure that we employ the right individuals to start with. We ensure that we have people who are energetic and passionate. Pro activity is a big thing as well for us, we don't want people who will just sit at their desks and do what is required of them,' said Bronwyn.
'Mentoring is the next big process. We have a mentoring program within the firm where we ensure they are getting to whatever level they need. Beyond that is when I get involved directly. That means ensuring they can move from an accountant role to a manager and to a partner role.'
Bronwyn's personal experience within the company has also played a major role in her development as a leader. Many current staff development efforts are grounded in her own earlier experience working for the company.
'[A management strategy] is about not forgetting your roots. It's about remembering what it was like to be an accountant versus being a partner. That's the big thing that I've learnt the whole way through,' stated Bronwyn.
'The rest is just through trial and error to a certain extent, but obviously having the support network around you to ensure you are getting to where you need to be.'
By focussing on these structures, Bronwyn has seen a positive impact in areas such as staff retention and engagement with these opportunities.
Creating meaningful opportunities for staff
For Bronwyn, the biggest result from the focus Marsh & Partners has placed on staff is in better employee retention. Since assuming the role, Bronwyn has seen firsthand the impact of this people management strategy in action, with a number of different people advancing their careers within the company.
'We've got a lot of people who have been here for 10, 12 years who have worked their way up to the manager level. They wouldn't be here if we didn't have a strong process in place.'
TEC has also played a major role in Bronwyn's own development as a leader, in her work with clients and when managing the business as a whole.
'Strategically TEC helped as well. My role and what I do with clients is all strategic work so I sit down with the partners on a quarterly basis and strategically look at the firm, what we want to achieve and how we are going to get there.'
'The one-to-ones we do with our TEC Chair, once a month are also great. They let us voice our issues and work through solutions for our businesses.'
Importantly for Bronwyn, these opportunities have filtered through into her own work and into the conversations she has with her clients, many of which are facing similar issues relating to their own performance.
'The other component for me is the assistance I can provide to my clients. The speakers we have on a monthly basis are on all sorts of topics and, nine times out of 10, I would use that with 12 different clients in the coming month,' said Bronwyn.
'Because we coach businesses as part of our work, having those ideas from other industries has a big impact on our client base and making them better.'
Having a people strategy is clearly crucial to business success, and leaders who can develop this strategy will set themselves up for future growth.