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I’m not a big believer in the old saying, ‘If you put your mind to it, you can do anything.’ I’ve always found more success focusing on doing things I’m really good at and love to do. The real trick is connecting with people whose set of unique abilities and interests – sales, claims, accounting, office management, and so on - complements your own and then organizing them as a team.
This approach guided me as I built my firm, Singer Nelson Charlmers, into a specialty broker focused on professional services business, in particular architects and engineers, and law firms.
When I found myself searching for the right firm to acquire my firm, I took a meeting with Risk Strategies’ Founder and then-CEO, Mike Christian. He explained that he was building a brokerage differentiated by a focus on specialization – not growth for its own sake. He wanted to build on existing specialty practices and add others where it made sense. Adding Singer Nelson Charlmers would double Risk Strategies’ nascent capabilities in the AE industry.
In that very first meeting, Mike repeatedly used a word that resonated deeply with me - collaboration. Listening to Mike talk about collaboration and the specialty areas he wanted to grow, it struck me that I could extend my ‘unique abilities’ approach beyond a practice team, to partner with different people in other specialties and accomplish great things in areas I had never touched in my career.
What I heard when I first met with Mike and what has happened are the same thing. I wasn’t sold a bill of goods.
After the acquisition, I found Risk Strategies’ culture of collaboration and expert-driven specialization solid ground on which to build out my philosophy and collaborative approach. With no territorial silos to instigate turf wars over deal structures, it was easy and natural to partner across the organization. I could entrust smart, expert people with important work and, in the process, learn from them in ways that led me to new opportunities. For example, when a meeting with an influential contact led to an opportunity to win a nursing home account, I was able to quickly bring in a lead Health Care Practice team member for a board level presentation. He hit a home run. We won that business and it opened the door to land several more lines with the same facility.
I found Risk Strategies’ culture of collaboration and expert-driven specialization solid ground on which to build out my philosophy and collaborative approach.
These sort of collaborative interactions in the years since the acquisition have helped me expand my horizons in ways I hadn’t anticipated. In addition to helping build the A&E practice into a top national player, I’m now active with clients in Higher Education, Private Equity, and Health Care – sectors I likely never would have considered previously.
Risk Strategies’ culture and operational approach are rooted in specialization and collaboration, and because I came from that same mindset, joining up with Risk Strategies accelerated the best of what I and my people had to offer.