This year, we celebrate what Deane and Esther Wymer built five decades ago. From a five-person, home-based tax and accounting shop to what we are today – a holistic wealth strategy firm with five thriving offices across the state. What does it take to achieve that kind of longevity? What work ethic, follow-through and commitment to clients builds the sort of legacy Deane left and our firm must carry?
Despite the growth we’ve experienced in 50 years, I honestly believe our greatest years are still ahead of us. It’s because of these lessons I learned from Deane, which remain foundational to our business, that our future looks so bright:
Hire the right talent, before you need them. There’s arguably no business decision more important than the talent you hire. And when the right person shows up and the opportunity presents itself, hire them. Even if you can’t afford them or have the work to justify their position yet. It’s a leap of faith, but you’ll never regret hiring great talent. The work will follow when you have the right people in place.
Lead by serving. Contrary to what we hear all around us, there is strength in vulnerability, humility and service, and Deane modeled that for me daily. He taught me that you should believe the best in everyone and give your all without needing recognition. Regardless of your position in an organization – be it entry level or C-suite – serving others is what truly distinguishes a leader.
Reward without expectation. Early in my career, I complained to Deane that more people didn’t say “thank you” when we distributed bonuses. Selfishly, I wanted them to recognize our generosity and understand that bonuses weren’t a given; we would often forego our own bonuses to give more to the team. Deane gently reminded me that we don’t give bonuses to hear “thank you.” We reward people because we want to bless them and for no reason other than that. Getting a bonus is great, but it’s even better when you get to give them. Thanks to Deane’s wisdom, it remains one of my favorite days of the year.
When I received my first paycheck from the firm, it was $1,200 more than expected. I went to Deane and said, “I’m sorry, Deane, but I think you overpaid me.” After confirming my starting salary and amount of my check, he said with a twinkle in his eye, “I’m pretty sure you’re worth it.” A generous and unsolicited raise made me feel incredibly appreciated. When I think about it, that’s the single greatest lesson I learned from Deane about business – to make sure you have great people on the team and that they always know how much you value them.
Blog by Kyle Brownlee, Chief Executive Officer.