There is an old saying that “you can’t truly understand a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.” Keystone Agency Partners embraces that dynamic when partnering with new agencies. And as Vice President of Integration with Keystone Agency Partners, as well as the former owner of an award-winning agency for more than a decade, I have been in our partners’ positions and know the hard work they have put in to get to where they are. I also know the passion and commitment needed to reach that next level of success.
Our firm’s partnership approach weds coaching and collaboration as the cornerstones of our new agency relationships. These are the manifestations of our ‘Connected Autonomy’ philosophy wherein we expect our agency partner leaders to maintain their identity and growth objectives, bolstered by the capital investment and consultative resources that a partnership with us offers them.
As our CEO Jeff Turner wrote in his recent post: “[w]e are not the owners of [our partners’] vision, their future or their drive. Instead, we provide whatever we can to engage their entrepreneurial spirit and support their desire to be even better than they currently are.”
I have the great pleasure of working with our partners from Day 1, helping them chart their course to even greater success. During the first weeks and months of our partnership, we embark on an exciting journey. This journey is tailored to each partner’s needs, but the bedrock components always include:
- Transparent communications. For owners, selling their firm is akin to selling a part of themselves. It represents much of the hopes and dreams they have realized over many years. Those emotions can run deep and should not be minimized. Agencies are very much like families and those cultures are what have driven – and should continue to propel – their success. Through open and honest conversations, we work with our partners’ leadership teams to keep these cultural elements intact and employ them throughout their growth strategies.
- Open collaboration. Through a series of townhalls, one-on-one meetings and a two-day strategy session, our integration process begins with a bang by ensuring everyone is on the same page and working together toward a shared goal. Our partner agencies are typically fired up following the closing of the transaction and want to hit the ground running with their new goals, resources and strategies. We only partner with agencies that have that fire in their bellies to make a great organization even better.
- Leadership coaching. Our support continues and deepens after the two-day strategy session From that session, a strategic course is developed. We then support the execution of that strategy with mentorship and monthly trainings. We believe personal and professional growth are the keys to firm growth and we encourage all aspects our partners’ development.
In future posts, I’ll outline in more detail our integration process. We are very proud of the results our partners have produced so far and know things will only get better in the future. We believe a core reason for that success is the rigor of our process and the teamwork it elicits.
Talk to you again soon.