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Are We Getting Off-Road Enough?

By Joey Havens

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A few weeks ago, we discussed the importance of getting off-road more to see and find our clients new and changing needs. In essence, doing many things that we haven’t done before. It requires us to get muddy, get a scratch or two and even assess what we are driving as a firm. Are we getting off-road enough?

After reading this blog, one of my mentors and close friends Rick Dreher, former managing partner of WIPFLI, provided some great pictures and insights which are so relevant for us today as we are faced with some serious muddy disruption.

Rick’s grandson William, a total of 6 years of age, is racing off-road side-by-sides. These recent pictures of William and his side-by-side provide some very relevant insights for us as we think about our future services and clients.

Muddy Side by Side 4

In these first two pictures, we can see that when we get behind the competition on a muddy track, it can be very difficult to see where we are going! Think about that for a moment. It is really important that we cut the trail on many of these opportunities first, not waiting for someone else to break the surface.

When we are out front, we can see where the next turn or mudhole is. I would also note how muddy William’s side-by-side is when you are running second, third, fourth or even last.

This mud represents everything from being slow to the opportunities to having to follow our competition catching the mud they spin on, as well as looking like a firm that is lost in the disruption rather than helping set the trail for others.Muddy Side by Side 3

I love this last picture on Sunday when William got out in front and you can see what he is holding and look at that smile! This picture alone should inspire us to take those risks when warranted and go off-road. Do the things that our clients need and figure out the right path as we go.

There will be plenty of trophies for the firms and individuals that do not let fear, uncertainty and comfort zones keep them from cutting new trails.

One last thought as I gaze at William’s side-by-side, it’s a little different than your average side-by-side. What are we driving as a firm? We know the road ahead is not the paved interstate we have driven on the last 50 years or that it will have some serious gridlock up ahead. If we are going to grow as firms and individuals, we need to assess what we are driving.

Our skills, our focus, our diversity, our training, our recruiting, our technology, our messaging, our everything needs an upgrade. Take a moment and draw a picture of your side-by-side and think about what’s ahead. Disruption and uncertainty for sure, but this side road is full, overflowing in fact, with opportunities like the one William is holding.

Thanks, Rick, for your wise observations, insights and for sharing William’s story with all of us. I know you are a proud granddad!