Merriam-Webster defines flexibility as the quality of being adaptable or variable. HORNE set out several years ago to explore what flexibility meant to its people. Through this journey, one thing became clear—the “definition” of flexibility differed from one team member to the next. There was too much variability in flexibility to establish a rigid policy. So instead, we created a philosophy together as a firm. This philosophy, known as Fearless Unrivaled Flexibility (FUF), is centered on three principles: commitment, trust and communication.
The FUF philosophy provides an equation where the three aforementioned principles work hand in hand to drive discussions and agreements about what flexibility means engagement by engagement and team member by team member.
Prior to 2015, the importance of having a workplace culture that places such a strong emphasis on empowering its people by creating such a philosophy as FUF hadn’t really hit home. In 2014, my wife and I welcomed a new son, Jacob, to this world. Immediately following his first birthday, we took Jacob to see a pediatric neurologist around concerns his pediatrician had with his physical and cognitive development. Little did we know, doctor appointments were about to be the new norm for us as they attempted to diagnose the root cause of his developmental delays.
In the meantime, Jacob was referred to physical, occupational and speech therapy on a weekly basis to begin addressing the developmental delays. Therapy sessions, which began in the summer of 2015 and continue through the present, take place every Thursday morning for an hour. As it was becoming clear these appointments were going to be a common occurrence in a long-term development plan, I knew I needed to have conversations with my performance advisor as well as others that I worked with about expectations.
The partners in my focus area, including my performance advisor, were aware of Jacob’s situation so sitting down to discuss my needs with them wasn’t difficult, but without the culture around flexibility established through FUF I would have felt less empowered. These conversations centered on my commitment to provide quality and timely deliverables to clients and team members which meant working differently than others. Soon after Jacob began his therapy sessions, we realized he does better without me in the room, so I began working from the waiting room for that hour allowing me to be committed to both my family and firm at the same time.
Over the past two plus years, I couldn’t tell you how many doctor appointments, surgeries and therapy sessions Jacob has had, but I can say with complete certainty FUF has provided me the opportunity to be there when I needed to be. My wife’s place of business has taken a strong stance that work must be performed at the office so the trust given to me by the partners and my team members has been invaluable in ensuring Jacob’s continued progress.
As seasons of life come and go, so do one’s priorities and responsibilities. Three years ago, I couldn’t have envisioned how FUF was going to play such a huge role in my family’s life. Today, I am grateful that flexibility is one of the building blocks of the Wise Firm culture.
About the Author
Justin is a senior manager providing assurance services to privately held and publicly traded companies in the insurance, transportation and technology industries. Empowered by a culture that embraces fearless unrivaled flexibility, he is navigating life's unique challenges with creativity, allowing him to maintain a high level of commitment to his family, his team and his clients.