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Entrepreneurial mindset in professional services

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Entrepreneurial mindset in professional services

The brief

One of the Big Four firms came to us looking for an innovative programme to shake up the traditional mindset of their tax division.

Our Managing Director, Sandra Evans, tells us: “The client came to us specifically because they were looking for something different to what they might find with other learning and development providers. As a fairly traditional organisation, they wanted to shake up their tax division with a programme that would get people to think differently and be more innovative in their solutions.”

The challenges

Spending time in the organisation, we recognised quickly that employees were thinking in a very linear, problem-solving way; which is perfectly suited to tax issues, but was blinkering them to more opportunities and ideas that come with broader thinking. We needed to pinpoint what might help people to think differently on a regular basis in the future workplace.

The solutions

Based on the proven concept of Open Innovation, we challenged the organisation to consider how well their current approach was working. Then, together, we developed our ‘Entrepreneurial Mindset’ programme, encouraging people to think like an entrepreneur - albeit within the parameters of the organisation - with an implied consent to go ahead and look at things differently.

As Sandra says, “It challenged them to think more broadly and get a taste of what innovation really is in today’s workplace. There’s risk involved in anything like this, so for a risk-averse organisation like tax, that proved a challenge, but I think the partners and the managers all agreed that it was something they had to do."

Following outstanding pilot feedback, we rolled out the programme and ensured sustainability by training in-house facilitators to deliver the initiative after we left.

The results

During the project, we found that while much thinking was often traditional, the more junior grades in particular fully embraced the concept of the 'Entrepreneurial Mindset' and developed some fantastic ideas and creativity amongst them. They were more curious to talk about what stops us from being curious and when we lose that ability to be curious, which was the basis of the whole piece of work. Further projects have been developed in partnership with us to take this thinking forward.

As the client commented, “We know that it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight, and in some cases linear thinking is absolutely right, but what difference would it make if we had broader conversations with our clients rather than just seek to solve their immediate problems and needs?”

Kerrith Harris

Kerrith Harris

Working with the Tax Practice, we asked traditionally risk adverse and conservative financial services professionals to step outside of their comfort zone and embrace an entrepreneurial mindset. Whilst challenging at first, delegates had an invigorating and highly impactful experience resulting in fresh ideas, new ways of working together and maximising opportunities for future growth.

"There are two key reasons why I keep coming back to The Art of Work to support us in developing learning solutions. Firstly, they embody the qualities of curiosity and continuous personal development which we want to encourage in our teams. They are constantly questing for new ideas and ways of working, and challenging received wisdom to produce the best solutions; Secondly, they are truly collaborative partners, generous with their own ideas and time and seeking to fully understand our culture and needs without any preconceptions so that what we build together is absolutely right for us."

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