What do you get when you mix courageous leadership, exceptional people, and passion to revolutionize your industry and make the lives of your clients better? You get the Leadership Summit for HORNE LLP, a CPA firm that is redesigning the way their clients are served, their team members engage and their culture is created.
I just finished keynoting at this event, one of the most innovative, fun and powerful Leadership Summits for which I have ever spoken. This event, held in New Orleans, LA, was the brainchild of the team of HORNE LLP, an accounting firm (wow that does not even begin to describe them) based out of Ridgeland, Mississippi. HORNE defines themselves as decidedly different, and there are no better words to describe this firm and this Leadership Summit.
From the authentic second line parade, to the House of Blues Kick Off Event, to the building of the Wise Firm via personalized Lego sets. This event had it all, all wrapped into a set of powerful messages designed to reinforce their culture and empower their team.
So typically, as a business motivational speaker, I go to events expecting to share my wisdom, my thoughts and my ideas, but it seems that every time I interact with HORNE I am the one walking away with a new lesson, a new story, a new example of what powerful leadership and an engaged culture really looks like. And this event, this Leadership Summit, was no different.
Three Strategies to Create Full Team Engagement
Community – this event began like no other Leadership Summit I have ever attended, it began with a full second line parade down the middle of Canal Street and continued all the way to the House of Blues. Just so you get the full picture, the entire team of HORNE literally took over Canal Street with a full band, full parade, and a full on march, making a big splash in the BIG Easy. Once at the House of Blues, it was a celebration, great food, an amazing band and a show – HORNE’s Got Talent! And while I could talk and tell stories for hours about this kick-off event, what I learned was the importance and value of taking the time and investing in building community. See, Joey, HORNE’s executive partner, and the team of HORNE understand what they gain when they encourage their team to connect, have fun, and build relationships outside of the work environment. I think one the HORNE team members said it best when I asked him about working at HORNE. His answer was we are a family, and the more we play together, the better relationships we build, the more productive we are.
Purpose – the entire theme for this event was based around building the Wise Firm, which is the name of HORNE’s culture, both who they are and who they aspire to be. This concept, this roadmap so to speak, gives this team purpose, a common language, a reason to be so much more than a team member or employee at HORNE. What I took away just from watching this team interact at the Leadership Summit, working together to “build” the Wise Firm is that purpose is critical in what creates and the level to which your team can engage. Purpose is both what drives and what bonds them, the Wise Firm, is their secret language, and their mutual understanding of what success really looks like. Having the Wise Firm gives the meeting and the entire team purpose, a reason to serve something bigger than themselves, and an understanding of what it means to be a part of larger vision. When you inject purpose into your culture, you create a team that has a reason to be dedicated, focused and engaged.
Empowerment – the underlying message and the desired result of this meeting was empowerment. See. the culture at the firm has been created, and it is actively being enhanced and strengthened and for those team members that want to engage the culture is there to ensure they can be successful. I learned that leadership can create the culture, but the employee has to choose to engage. HORNE has dedicated themselves to building and designing a culture where those team members that want to fully engage (emotionally connect and discover their intrinsic motivation to help the company achieve its vision) but they understand the choice to do so, the choice to be empowered belongs to the individual not to the leader. The decision of whether you become a part of something bigger that belongs to you.
So again, an amazing event, and an amazing team, HORNE truly is something and someplace special. This journey of full team engagement, it is not an easy one, but the payoff is ten-fold and well worth the investment.