Friday, March 13, 2009

FRIENDSHIPS, NETWORKS AND CORPORATE CULTURES

Last night was so much FUN!

About 80 of my friends and former colleagues got together for a reunion. They were all from the New York office of Arthur Andersen's business, systems integration and risk consulting businesses. The event was hosted by Deltek (www.deltek.com).

For those of you too young to remember, Arthur Andersen was the largest global professional services firm in 2001 and it was brought down in 2002 by the Enron scandal. We laughed, told many stories that were oldies but goodies, drank lots of alcohol(Diet Coke for me), found out what people are doing now, and just had a great time!

So why do you care? Why is this worth posting on the blog?

Because during and after all the laughs, many of us made several observations worth sharing on the following topics:

FRIENDSHIPS:
Life is about family, friends and community. Careers and jobs are how we earn a living to fund our pursuit of activities with family and friends. Yet somehow we get so caught up in the career that we often lose sight of this fact. But this group last night and many similar ex-Andersen groups around the world were fortunate to be able to integrate lifelong friendships with work and career.

While we all suffer through this global economic crisis, it is a good time to remind ourselves and keep repeating the mantra "life is about family, friends and community". What was even more special about last night is that we were with old friends. Those with which we share a very special history.

NETWORKS:
Amidst the din of laughter and clinking glasses, everyone was networking. Business cards were being passed around; someone was explaining to a friend how to twitter; another guy was giving someone advice on their website; and a few business deals were initiated. My friends from Deltek, a software company serving the consulting space, were working the room and becoming part of this powerful network.

We all know that some good can come out of even the worst situations. Well one positive that has come from the demise of Andersen, is that all 150,000 ex-employees, from around the world, share a very powerful and widespread professional network. I was at a similar event last week in Chicago and the same thing occurred that night.

The other positive that came from the tragic end of the firm is that all of us have not only survived but thrived. This was a room of powerful, successful people. Yes, we all went through hard times but we came out the other end just fine.

Now a few last night have been affected by the latest disaster known as the global economic mess, but they know they survived one mess so they will do it again. Not the way we would have wanted to learn, but learn we did. We are all seasoned business people today who have been up, down and out, yet thrived through it all.

CORPORATE CULTURES:
Throughout the night I heard over and over again, how special our Arthur Andersen days were to us. How much we all learned. How loyal we all were to the firm and still are to one another.
It was a very special place.

Remember, this company came apart in 2002. That was seven years ago! Yet people are still ready to get together in large numbers in cities all over the world. When they get together, like last night, the energy in the room is palpable!

What are the unique ingredients that create that type of corporate culture that can live on even after the company is gone for so long? The companies that replicate that cultural strength and loyalty will have a great asset.

What went wrong? Open invitation to my ex-Andersen colleagues: Share your comments to this post and are you willing to be interviewed so I can delve deeper into these questions? Open invitation to our other followers: Share your comments as we need outside perspective. Are you willing to be interviewed?

Until next time,
Gail

3 comments:

  1. Gail & Daltek:

    Thank you for hosting this wonderful event. I couldn't agree more that so many of us were talking about the unique culture and opportunity that we had at AABC which we have not totally replicated as we have moved on. There was a real sense of teamwork, comraderie and enthusiasm for our clients and our work that existed as we , in addition to an environment of growth - a perfect storm in the right sense

    I'd be happy to be interviewed,

    Hari (AABC 1991-1997)

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