Think about your team
The development of a strong team begins with an effective hiring process, and Niemann says he’s found one thing to be particularly revealing when it comes to determining cultural fit.
“One of the most insightful, thoughtful questions I’ve received over time that told me about the person was when they asked about our firm’s values,” Niemann says. “We know about our values and we hold them as really important. But when someone who is considering a career at EY cares enough to ask about our values, that tells me a lot about the person and their priorities.”
When you take the time to get to know people who you’re thinking about hiring and you make a connection that prompts the person to ask you about your values and the things that your company stands for, it’s a great indication that you’ve found a good candidate.
“We take that lifelong relationship very seriously,” Niemann says. “We want to make sure we get to know people even before they join our firm and make sure they have an opportunity to really know us and see what we’re all about. We want them to have access to all the people they feel they need in order to make the best and most informed decisions for their career.”
At the end of the day, you need a team that can provide great service to your clients. Your ability to do that begins with hiring, but it continues with the way you work with those people and the way you support them so they can do their work effectively.
It’s all about building strong relationships at every level.
“What we aspire to do is build a better working world,” Niemann says. “That value says so much. It’s so important in what we do every day, and it drives how we serve clients. It drives how we look after people and their careers. I think about it as a partner, as a colleague, as a friend, a father or a husband. To me, if I’m building relationships based on doing the right thing, I’m going to be successful in this firm and in life.” ●
- Focus on one person at a time.
- Show your people that you care.
- Help your team achieve its potential.
The Niemann File
Name: Patrick Niemann
Title: Managing Partner, Greater Los Angeles
Born: Kirkwood, Mo.
Education: University of Southern California Marshall School of Business
Who has been the biggest influence on your life?I’m really fortunate to have been exposed to many great business people, leaders and mentors not just during my career, but throughout my life. But it started with my parents, both of whom had exceptionally rewarding careers: my mom in real estate and my dad as a partner at EY, who retired a few years before I started with our firm. Beyond my mom and dad, my 10 brothers and sisters and many of their spouses have also had a lot of success in many different career fields, and I’ve gleaned lots of lessons from them.
If you could speak with anyone from the present or past, with whom would you want to speak with?President Ronald Reagan. He was such a charismatic leader who used his talent, skill and his position not to divide, but to bring people together and find common ground and even compromise. In the real world and in the business world, whether you’re growing up in a big family or working at a firm like EY, there is such a high priority put on teaming in order to provide exceptional client service.
You don’t need unanimity, but you do need to find a path and common ground. I’d love to talk to President Reagan about that. But I also feel I’ve learned a lot observing his public life. I think we can all learn a lot from what President Reagan taught us.