By Chaney Barton – Nichols, Marketing Assistant
“There are few, if any, jobs in which ability alone is sufficient.
Needed also are loyalty, sincerity, enthusiasm and team play”
-William B. Given, Jr.
Being given an opportunity to write a year-end recap of a business as an employee who hasn’t yet reached her “one year anniversary” may seem unusual, but I have learned Lucien, Stirling & Gray is a pretty unusual place. On one hand, there is insufficient context for comparisons to be drawn to the past, but on the other, my perspective is fresh and not jaded by negative comparisons that often overshadow the celebration of a year’s victories.
In the past nine months, I have had the privilege to work alongside my colleagues to implement many changes and improvements that will help to make 2016 a better year – for our clients, for each other, and for the company as a whole. More importantly, in my short time here, I witnessed a shift in the energy of this team that will impact Lucien, Stirling & Gray far beyond 2016.
From my very first interview with Thomas and Cass, I felt like I was joining a family. I found Lucien, Stirling & Gray by pouring over Austin Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” list and applying everywhere seeking a marketer. Coming out of my previous job, I recognized that what I truly wanted from my workplace was to be surrounded by people I could relate to in an atmosphere that fostered trust. LSG felt warm and welcoming right away. My skill set aligned with what they needed in a Marketing Assistant, and the focus of my interview switched to something I never had an opportunity to prepare for in college, or in my past experiences. Thomas began talking about the people who made up this team and the tight-knit relationships they shared. He told stories that revealed bits and pieces of personalities and emphasized the importance of every individual and their strengths. If that weren’t enough, the average tenure of an employee here spoke volumes – 17 years for advisors and 6 years for staff. Watching Cass and Thomas interact immediately gave me a sense of comfort, but the idea of coming in as “the new guy” to a group of people who had such a strong bond was intimidating. At this point I threw out most of what I had learned from interview preparation, followed Thomas and Cass’s lead, and spoke from my heart.
I was struck by their sincerity and found it easy to share my genuine personal goals rather than my rehearsed talking points. I imagine my first interview as a prospective employee was much like what a new client experiences at their first appointment. The anxiety that comes with being vulnerable during a life transition diminishes when you are able to relate and communicate by sharing personal stories. It did not take me long to realize the value of LSG was in the intimate, long-term relationships that are formed here between advisors and clients.
On my first day at Lucien, Stirling & Gray, Thomas gave me a thick, stapled stack of papers titled “2015 / 2016 Goals and Objectives.” That was Monday, March 16th. One week later, I proposed the first of my many ideas for improvement to our entire team – a complete overhaul of this publication, our monthly e-newsletter. This meeting was my chance to “prove myself” and I was confident and hopeful. However, somewhere mixed in with my excitement and healthy amount of nervousness was a touch of cynicism. This cynicism was not something that my mind formulated during my first week at LSG. Instead, it was resurfacing as I began to reflect and compare this moment to similar past experiences. My cynicism was baggage I had brought along from a previous journey, and I let it overshadow my excitement.
Fortunately, I received positive feedback and a sense of inclusion that I truly believe sparked a chain reaction of idea sharing and brainstorming that allowed the original “2015 / 2016 Goals and Objectives” document to grow far beyond its original intent. As we accomplished and crossed off the tangible goals (a new website, new signage, an updated e-newsletter…), it created a new energy. Several people noticed a renewed enthusiasm around the office and despite being a year when more “new guys” were added to the team in a short period of time, the sense of camaraderie and inclusivity was at a high. It was encouraging and motivating to see a team that, in my eyes, already seemed close to perfect become better in just nine months. Ultimately, that’s the greatest goal a business can achieve.
“There are few, if any, jobs in which ability alone is sufficient. Needed also are loyalty, sincerity, enthusiasm and team play.” This quote graced the bottom of LSG’s “Career Opportunities” page on their website and I noticed it for the first time when I was preparing for my interview. I like to think of it now as a foreshadowing of the many inspirational quotes that Thomas would share with me over time.
This idea that each person contributes more than just a skill or ability encompasses how this team fits together, and why this group of differing personalities meshes so well. I also think that it truly makes Lucien, Stirling & Gray one of the best places to work. We hope the loyalty, sincerity and enthusiasm of the individuals that work here shines through to the people we help each and every day – our clients. We love to share stories, and we love to connect people through stories – and we think that is what makes us unique. We hope as you reflect on 2015, you find yourself celebrating your victories and not letting comparison serve as a pitfall. Lastly, we hope you are as enthusiastic and full of excitement about the upcoming year as we are!