Podcast

Episode: 560 |
Russell S. Reynolds, Jr.:
Building a World-class Professional Services Firm:
Episode
560

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Russell S. Reynolds, Jr.

Building a World-class Professional Services Firm

Show Notes

Russell Reynolds, founder of Russell Reynolds Associates and RSR Partners, shares his story of starting his own executive search firm in the 1960s. He served in the Air Force and later joined JP Morgan. After working there for six or seven years, he joined William Clark Associates. However, shortly after, he decided to start his own firm with his friend OB Clifford and a few other friends. They collected $50,000 and started Russell Reynolds Associates. He also decided to invite his friend Lee to join the firm as partner. The firm was established in 1969, and the partnership worked well. Today, Russell Reynolds Associates is one of the largest search firms in the world. As a big producer, Russell believes that success in a service business is about doing a good job and connecting with clients. He was introduced to the senior partner of Oppenheimer and company; they became great friends which eventually led to many more clients.

 

Key Factors in Hiring Talent 

Russell states that it is important to look for people who are well adjusted, positive, and excited about the future. He believes that integrity is the single most important ingredient for success, and if people are honest and try to do the best they can, they will prevail. He shares the key points he looks for in people, including whether they are givers or takers and the questions he asks candidates. When hiring for Russell Reynolds Associates, one of the key questions is whether the person has integrity or adapts to their style of client service. Russell asks for samples of their writing, because communication skills are so important, and he also asks about family relationships and what they do on weekends. He also emphasizes the importance of taking them off base to see how they really behave, and  allows him to see how well they are prepared and how they can be receptive to new ideas. Russell believes that bright young people are the key to success in a business because they are motivated, hungry, and want to please you. 

 

Building the Board and Expanding the Firm

Russell discusses the role of an external board of advisors, which included prominent business leaders from JP Morgan and Shell. He shares the firm’s approach to governance, and how it  was run like a public corporation. He also discusses the institutions and practices set up to develop people. The firm grew through branch offices, and rules established by each branch, but there were certain rules that were set up across all branches, and he explains what they were and certain aspects which were encouraged such as involvement in charitable and political activities. Russell shares stories of when he was involved in fundraising for both charitable and political campaigns, including meeting then Prince Charles, and time spent raising funds for George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

 

Success Factors of the Firm

He talks about maintaining and building relationships and shares a few tips on maintaining positive client relationships and how his firm offered new ways of providing value to clients. The firm’s search businesses are broken down into practice areas such as healthcare, financial services, wealth management, consumer, industry, board, and recruiting. He also talks about building a service firm and practice management. In 1993, Russell sold his shares in RSR Associates and decided to start RSI Partners. The firm expanded into executive search, which is still going well today. He explains why he made this decision. He is now chairman emeritus, and although he is not directly involved, he is on the board. He shares why he sold RSR Associates and why he decided to come out of retirement to start a new company. The conversation turns to career mistakes and Russell recounts a story of being charmed and betrayed, why he believes physical fitness is important in the assessment of a candidate, why he’s leary of academic achievers, and what he considers valuable assets. 

 

Professional Career Advice

Russell advises young college graduates to focus on developing their skills and investing in them. He suggests attending seminars, conferences, and listening to podcasts to learn new skills. He emphasizes the importance of having a balanced life, including vacations, family, and relationships. He also suggests being on outside boards, both charitable and for profit, for educational and helpful experiences. For those building a professional services firm, Russell suggests not taking no for an answer, not to be limited by one’s imagination, and the importance of being grateful, humble, respectful, and recognizing that they are not the most important person in the world. He also emphasizes staying in good health physically and mentally. However, he also recognizes that the advice depends on the individual’s interests and goals.

 

Timestamps:

05:37 Leadership, client service, and hiring practices in professional services

16:01 Leadership, governance, and talent development in a consulting firm

24:42 Political connections and relationship-building in the recruitment industry

31:43 Career development, business growth, and leadership lessons

40:46 Career development, leadership, and success

 

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

 

  1. Russ Reynolds

SPEAKERS

Russ Reynolds, Will Bachman

 

Will Bachman  00:01

Hello, and welcome to Unleashed. I’m your host will Bachman. And I’m so excited. We have a very special guest today. We have Russell Reynolds on the show. Russell Reynolds is the founder of Russell Reynolds associates, the global executive search firm as well as RSR Partners. Russ, welcome to the show.

 

Russ Reynolds  00:24

Thank you. Well,

 

Will Bachman  00:26

Russ, it’s such a thrill to speak with you. You founded one of the largest executive search firms in the world, Russell Reynolds associates, grew 23% per year for 20 years, which is an incredible record. You left Russell Reynolds associates in the early 90s, and started another firm RSR Partners. But I was wondering if we could start by take us back to 1966, which I think is when you started a new executive search and paint us a picture of what executive search was like, in the 60s.

 

Russ Reynolds  01:03

Okay, thank you. Maybe I should give you a little background. I was born and raised in Greenwich, the descendant of farmers who worried about the weather and crops and worked very hard. I was an only child. So I didn’t have some of the input that some people have. I was raised in a Christian family where I was taught that I was not as important as certain other things. And I went to private schools and Greenwich and then Exeter in Yale. And then I was in the Air Force for three years as a navigator, Bombardier in Strategic Air Command. I had been hired by JP Morgan and returned to JP Morgan, when I got out of the Air Force, worked there for six or seven years, loved it, made some fantastic contacts, got married while I was in the Air Force. And I got married I was 24. And my wife was 22. So we started a family early and fortunately, they’re very much around. Anyway, working at JP Morgan, and not coming from a wealthy family. I was slightly restless, slightly ambitious, and slightly ready for a change. I had a friend from Yale, who was a very interesting guy who joined a small executive search firm on Madison Avenue. And I became very intrigued in the business. And I ended up joining that firm, which is called William Clark associates. Shortly after I got there, I became a big producer. And I felt that the other partners of the firm were, frankly not the best people to recruit executives because they weren’t the best executives themselves. I tried to get Bill Clark to let me hire a bright young assistant, calm but he he didn’t think it was fair to the other people. And I thought it should be a meritocracy, another democracy. So I was fascinated and laughed. And I went racing ever to my best friend OB Clifford’s house, and now Kisco and he was at McKinsey, and tell them in my frustrations. And he said, What are you gonna do you quit? And I said, Yeah, I am so upset. I think I’ll just have to start my own firm. And I did. OB put up a little money and a couple of our other friends did. We collected about $50,000 and started Russell Reynolds associates. I also thought I was going to be so successful, that I would need a partner so I could be on Vacation sometime. So I persuaded my good friend Lee gets to join us. And he did. And we had a very good partnership. I was the accelerator. He was the break, and it worked very well. Anyway, the friend got started in 1969. And still going strong,

 

Will Bachman  05:33

certainly is one of the largest search firms. You said that you’re a big producer, then it didn’t sound like you had necessarily a lot of mentorship to, you know, teach you those skills. What, how did you manage to become a big producer? What was your approach to client development

 

Russ Reynolds  05:56

it’s not client development, its client. The, the the trick to being successful in a service business is to do a good job. And I was young at that point, I had a lot of great contacts, and maybe I’m pretty good judge of people. So one day, I was doing a search for white Wellman coupling, which was a very blue chip investment bank for a chief financial officer. And somebody told me that the best person on Wall Street was then head of finance at Oppenheimer and cufflink. So I called him up, had lunch with him. And he said that his day salary was fairly low, but his bonus was extremely high. And that they needed people in Auckland Harbour, and Oppenheimer. He introduced me to Leon Levy, who was the senior partner of Oppenheimer, and we bonded and became great friends. And over the years, we created a great many people and firm Oppenheimer. So it was through doing a search that I got a new client, and it was through that client that I got a lot more clients. And if you do good work, and know how to connect with the client, the business will follow.

 

Will Bachman  08:00

You’re obviously being quite modest when you say that you’re a moderately good judge of people. You’re clearly one of the best ever. What are some of the things that you some of the your practices for judging talent? What do you think that you look for that other people might miss?

 

Russ Reynolds  08:24

It’s pretty simple. Whenever you need somebody, do they look you in the eye? Do they have a good smile? Do they seem happy? Do they seem well adjusted? Do they seem positive or negative? Are they anxious, or excited about the future? I look for people who are well adjusted. And we recently had our as our partners, gave our first annual that’s why it’s Reynolds Jr. Chair of the Year award to a woman named Sarah Nash, who has had an incredible career. And I looked her in the eye when I met her. And I said what is the single most important ingredient for success? And she didn’t even blink. And in one word, she said, integrity. And I couldn’t agree more. And we’re living in an environment today where integrity is even a recognized word in the government and in any circles, that I think if people are honest, and try to do the best they can, if they will prevail.

 

Will Bachman  10:00

I’d like to talk about some of the ways that you went work to build the institution of Russell Reynolds associates. You’re the first firm that you started. And I’m taking some of my questions from the book by Charles Ellis, who wrote What It Takes Seven Secrets of Success from the world’s greatest professional services firms. One of these, the first one is mission. What did you do to create among your team that you hired an overarching sense of purpose?

 

Russ Reynolds  10:46

No, I must say, it’s very hard for me to answer that question. And maybe you should ask the other people. But I definitely have, and still have, I think, a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment and a sense of responsibility. You got to worry about your clients on nights and weekends. And when you’re out sailing, you really have to make sure that everything that can be done for them is being done, you have to have a service mentality. And another thing I look for in people are, are they a giver, or a taker? And if you have the service mentality, and if you are in the right environment, you will be repaid. Without asking for it.

 

Will Bachman  11:51

When you were recruiting team members for your firm, what, you know, you mentioned some of the things you looked at, you know, shake hands, smile, look you in the eye, they feel adjusted. But were there questions that you’d ask to help get a sense of, you know, does this person have integrity? Or does this person is this person going to, you know, adapt to our style of client service? And be, you know, that focused on putting the client first, like, how would you screen for that?

 

Russ Reynolds  12:22

Well, one thing I always did was to ask for samples of their writing. Because communicating is so important. And there are a lot of graduates of great schools who don’t know the difference between me and I. And I do. So communication skills are important. I look for people who make a good impression, if you’re the master of your own first impression, and they need to be neat, clean and in reasonably good shape. I asked people, what are the three worst things that ever happened to you? And, and it’s amazing the answers you get. I also ask people, about their family relationships and things that the woke movement may not approve of. But what for example, what do you do on weekends? And I used to ask people what their fathers did, but I don’t anymore. In other words, he gets to know them personally, because the resume says that all from a business point of view, but it doesn’t say what kind of person they are.

 

Will Bachman  14:05

You mentioned fitness, I mean, the how, excuse

 

Russ Reynolds  14:08

  1. Yeah, but the the other thing I always did, and I still do is if I’m thinking hiring somebody, I get them off dates. I play squash with them, or tennis, or take them sailing, or at least have a meal with them. Because if they’re in a room, face to face, they’re pretty well rehearsed. But if they’re in different territory, it’s easy to see how they really they had and then it’s so important. I’m a huge believer in bright young people, and having been one myself for a long time and go I think that they are the key to success in a business because they’re motivated, they’re hungry they want How to please you. They don’t have all the answers, they’re receptive, and they get your motor going.

 

Will Bachman  15:08

Tell me a story about when you got someone out of that face to face environment when you went sailing with someone or played squash. Tell me a story about, you know, either someone that, you know that when they revealed their true side, either that made them a particularly great hire or that you decided to pass on the person because they revealed something about themselves in that sort of environment.

 

Russ Reynolds  15:37

Well, on a squash court, you can tell a lot about a person is a plate of wind, or do they play to please hear, if they play to please you? They’re losers. If they play to win their winners, whether they win or not? Do they pick up the ball? Are they nice to the people around you? And are they bright? And I think being bright is primarily a question of common sense. More than a question of formal education. It’s instinctive. I’ve had a number of disappointing experiences. Once I had a young assistant who insulted me on our island and name. And he behaved very badly over the weekend, and, and so on social sense. And on Monday, we had the firing. And by the way, I’m having lunch with him today. We’re still friends.

 

Will Bachman  17:02

It’s nice that you were able to stay, stay in touch for a long time. And stay friends.

 

Russ Reynolds  17:09

Here, you know what, he apologized. He knew he was wrong. He was sorry. And I accepted his apology.

 

Will Bachman  17:21

So one tip I’m hearing is get people out of the interview environment. So you can see how they behave, perhaps go for a walk, have breakfast, have a meal, play sport. What are some other things other tips you have other questions or ways to really, you know, get at the way someone’s going to behave on the job? And how you know how ambitious they are, for example?

 

Russ Reynolds  17:49

Well, one thing I was thinking about is, I never thought I was anything special. And I had self confidence and a lot of spirit. But I didn’t have a big ego. And I’ve found over the years that if I asked somebody to do something with me, I better be prepared for a positive response. So I became much more audacious, and much more careful. And one time at Reynolds associates, we needed a new independent board member. And I was trying to think somebody to get and I asked the president of JP Morgan, if he knew anybody who could be a good board member for the firm. And they said, Well, what about me? And I couldn’t believe that the President and JP Morgan would lower himself to be on the board of an executive search rents. So I jumped at it. And it made me realize that the firm was much more appealing than I realized. And then I added several more very interesting, successful people to the board, including John Loudon, who was chairman of Royal Dutch Shell and Phillip Caldwell, who is the CEO of Ford Motor Company. And I I really had trouble believing that they would want to do that but they were really terrific directors. So, one point I would make is, don’t underestimate yourself. If you’re doing well. Keep sticking your neck out. And you may, you may be pleasantly surprised.

 

Will Bachman  20:19

Talk to me, since you brought up board members talk to me about governance for a bit. How did you use that external board of advisors? What, what role did they play?

 

Russ Reynolds  20:31

Well, they were legal directors. And we ran the firm, somewhat like the public corporation, the board was taken very seriously. And I use the board to for advice, which I genuinely respected. And if they felt strongly about something, we did what they thought, I controlled the company. Pretty much until the day I retired from 1993, because I still had a big slug of stock plus I was a trustee of the ESOP we had set up. So but I very careful listening to other people, depending on who he listened to.

 

Will Bachman  21:32

I’d like to hear about the institutions and practices that you set up to develop people. So I imagined in the very early days, you could be directly mentoring the people that you brought on board. But as the firm grew, you had to set up systems I imagined to develop people. Could you talk about those systems?

 

Russ Reynolds  22:00

Well, and all honestly, there was no formal thinking about setting up systems. The firm grew through branch offices. Their first branch was in New York, which grew tremendously. The second branch was in London. The third branch was in Los Angeles, because my wife was sitting there and she had a lot of good contacts from her family. And then the fourth branch was in Chicago, which I started with a exceptional man named Ferdinand, Nan Herning, who was a great Yale football player. And I left it to them to pretty much set their own pace that we did have certain rules, like you would have to introduce three candidates in the first month of his search, or it won’t be successful. All candidates had to be original ideas, not from a databank of people who are looking for jobs. All candidates have to be good communicators and well checked out to make sure that we know embarrassments. So I would say a big believer in having the right connections, and we encourage people who belong to the best clubs in the town. We encourage people to be involved in charitable and political and extracurricular activities because that’s where you meet people. And I wanted the firm to be perceived as interactive in society. So for example, one day, I got a call from a woman in London who asked me if I would hit a fundraising, the American friends of the Mary Rose, which was an organization created in England to raise rec, the tutor warship Mary Rose, which sank in 1545. And the President of the era’s organization was then Prince Charles. So I told her that I was not important enough to do this myself, but I would try to get somebody at the right level, so I asked Walter Cronkite, David Rockefeller, and two or three others if they would do it. And they said no. So I got stuck with the job and became an acquaintance of the then Prince Charles, which was an extremely interesting experience, personally, but also probably very good for the firm. And there were many cases like that, where I got involved with political campaigns, and then an awful lot of interesting people. And I did a because I believed in it, but be because I thought it would be good for the business. And I could go on

 

Will Bachman  25:54

what sort of role did you play in political campaigns?

 

Russ Reynolds  25:59

Well, then my wife and I had our 25th wedding anniversary party in Greenwich. Prescott Bush asked me if I would share fundraising for his campaign for the Senate. I ended up doing that he dropped out. But the Bush family became impressed with my fundraising skills. So I ended up being very close to George H. W. Bush, and later to George W. Bush through the Bush family. And I, I’d already done a lot of work for Ronald Reagan, who I thought a lot of. But today, the candidates are not quite as idealistic, as they were, to put it mildly.

 

Will Bachman  27:06

Can you share any stories from raising funds for George Bush, George HW Bush or George W. Bush?

 

Russ Reynolds  27:17

Well, Bush 41 was terrific guy, great sense of humor. And one day, I mentioned that I was going to China to explore opening an office in Beijing. And he wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, which said, I would appreciate it, Mr. Prime Minister, if you would show, Mr. Reynolds, the same courtesies. You’ve shown me and my family. And I thought that was pretty nice. So I was hosted in reception in the Great Hall, the people and treated very nicely. Didn’t get much business. I felt good.

 

Will Bachman  28:12

So in terms of developing people, How then did you develop a Russell Reynolds way, if you know, how did you get a consistent approach across the firm, and how you know,

 

Russ Reynolds  28:30

about a year after I started the firm, I had lunch with Lester Korn, who I knew who had founded Korn Ferry in Los Angeles. And he asked me to be an equal partner of theirs. Representing the East Coast and financial recruiting. And I had zero interest, but I told him that I appreciated it. And I said, what is your objective last year? And he said, Oh, our objective is to be the biggest firm in the world. And I didn’t say this, but my objective was, was to be the best firm in the world. So today, they’re at around two and a half billion, and they went public and all that. Russell Reynolds is still a private company still run by its internal stockholders and board and they hit a billion and I’d rather have a billion dollars in quality in two and a half billion of I wouldn’t say not quality but with a different attitude. Coin fairies of fine firm

 

Will Bachman  30:02

Being in the people business in the talent business. Tell us a bit about some of your practices over your life of maintaining and building relationships.

 

Russ Reynolds  30:17

And then why

 

Will Bachman  30:18

maintaining and building relationships? So how would you, you know, stay in touch with people that you had served as a client at some point or had as a candidate at some point, or just gotten to know through one of your political activities or, or volunteer activities?

 

Russ Reynolds  30:35

Well, it’s extremely important to stay in touch with the client. And you can assume nothing, except that all your competitors are trying to replace you. So I, one thing I did with clients, where we worked at the board level, was I attended the annual meeting, and usually had lunch with the board. And they seem to appreciate that, I think it is imperative to make a personal call on a client at least twice a year. No matter how inconvenient it is, I think it is critical for a top level recruiter to meet with a client company periodically, but more often than not, they appreciate it. And they often don’t think of it. So you, you have to initiate it, you have to be bold, and you have to have something to offer.

 

Will Bachman  31:54

Talk to me about product innovation. So in terms of how you over the course of Russell Reynolds Associates, and we can go to RSR Partners, how did you develop new ways of providing value to your clients, new ways of serving them new types of service offerings?

 

Russ Reynolds  32:20

The search results is usually broken down into practice areas like healthcare, financial services, Wealth Management, consumer, industry, board, recruiting, etc. And it’s a good idea to get people who are experts in those fields. And I’ve had some experience in the

 

Will Bachman  32:53

on the topic of practices, could you talk to me a bit about how you selected practice leaders? And what sort of autonomy did they have? How did how did you sort of organize your practices within the firm? So they could, you know, either be developing knowledge or training or, you know, client development. Talk to me about practice management?

 

Russ Reynolds  33:24

Well, I think to build a service firm, you have to be opportunistic, and take advantage of opportunities. In the search business, every single human being you need whether it’s a baby or an old person, every single person you meet is somebody who can be either a candidate, a source of good ideas, or maybe a client. And you need to recognize that and play the game accordingly. So, in building practices, I would tend to be very opportunistic, if I ran into somebody with a beard station, who I liked, and they have to be an expert and growing wheat. You might hire them because A, they meet your general criteria, and D they know a lot about something you know nothing about. And an awful lot of the growth of our hay came from opportunistic, me meetings and then following up on them. Things don’t always go exactly the way you want to so you have to be flexible.

 

Will Bachman  35:04

In 1993, you mentioned that you sold your shares in Russell Reynolds associates and decided to go to the next chapter in your life. Talk to me about that decision that?

 

Russ Reynolds  35:20

Well, in 1993, I was in my early 60s, I thought that I had it, I thought I would be able to exist if I didn’t work. I have the world’s best wife, and three fabulous children. And by that time, grandchildren were beginning to appear. I had a wonderful life, and a lot of outside interests. And in the firm, I felt that they were getting tired of me, I thought, I heard Oh, very goes again. And I was very tired of being in the front of an airplane going to Singapore, with a burden in my hands in first class. And I thought if I never see another claim is a way to sin. On top of that, I had appointed one of the bright young people as CEO, and I was then chairman. And he, he and I did not have a good relationship. And I felt that it would be better if he took over and I departed. So it was not all positive. But in retrospect, I would do the same thing again. And then, when I was in my early 60s and blessed with this great personal life and great health, I decided to start, RSI partners, which at that point was called the directorship search group. And we were able to advise corporate boards, but I had a non compete on executive search for 10 years. So in the beginning, it was just about boards, and then it segwayed into executive search, which today is going quite well. I’m now chairman emeritus. I’m not directly involved, but I am on the board.

 

Will Bachman  37:59

So some people might have decided to just kind of permanently retire, what was it that drew you back and led you to start a new firm?

 

Russ Reynolds  38:11

Well, I believe that if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards. And anybody can sit around and clip coupons, play golf, go to Antigua. Go to the best restaurants, enjoy the best wine. But as a descendant of Connecticut farmers, I was taught that Being idle is not good. And so anyway, I just felt that it was important is stay involved.

 

Will Bachman  38:56

I would love to hear your thoughts around. First some career mistakes that you’ve seen people make over the decades, perhaps or some themes that you’ve seen people make in managing their careers.

 

Russ Reynolds  39:15

Did you say career mistakes? Yeah, career mistakes

 

Will Bachman  39:18

that that you’ve seen people make?

 

Russ Reynolds  39:22

Well, one day I was going to our beautiful church in Greenwich and I met a charming person who ended up joining my firm. And that person later betrayed me. And I felt that I had been duped in a graceful setting by a bad person. So I made a mistake. And I’m sure I’ve made many of them. mistakes, I often tend to be somewhat outspoken. So I tend to occasionally get my foot in my mouth. But I’m a big believer in honesty and direct conversation with people not going around their backs. So but in terms of the big business picture, I don’t think there were that many mistakes. Because the offices, we opened our era, and I think they’re now almost 50. all Turned out to be a good idea. Everywhere you go, people need better people. And the search was as a very simple concept. I meet you and I introduce you to the person I get a fee. It’s quite simple. So you don’t want to overcomplicate it. And I don’t think I also was misled by a couple of people that are a who I believed, but you know, the batting average is pretty good.

 

Will Bachman  41:24

You mentioned earlier, one of the things that you look for in candidates is, you know, general fitness. Talk to me about other characteristics that you have noted in people who are successful in managing their career is, is physical fitness, one of them someone who’s active, it sounds like you are a squash player, a sailor, do you see that’s a common characteristic that people need to get some? Yeah, yeah,

 

Russ Reynolds  41:53

well, I may be a little present this fun. I am a big believer that if you’re in good shape, physically, are probably in better shape, mentally. And so I look for people who have an athletic background, especially people who are in Captain of teams, because that means they’re a team player, and not a soloist. I’m also wary of people who are academic achievers. People who had a 4.0 average at a top school make me nervous because they’re too interested in the intellectual side and not enough interested in the practical side, or the fun side, or the romantic side. So I looked for people who went to very good schools, but who were well rounded and not nerds.

 

Will Bachman  43:07

That’s so interesting. That’s, in some ways, counterintuitive that. Symbol Kamelot a graduate is not necessarily the best one to put forward.

 

Russ Reynolds  43:19

No, and it’s a won three awards for intellectual achievement and AI. I would love to know them, but I’m not sure I’d hire them. You might people who get along with people.

 

Will Bachman  43:38

How much weight would you put on someone’s past accomplishments versus what seems to be their potential?

 

Russ Reynolds  43:50

Well, I think the track record is very important. And one thing that turns me off are people who have changed jobs every two to three years. We call them Rolling Stones, and they gather no moss. And today, the younger people tend to be very, very resume conscious. And they tend to join a firm because it quote, looks good, unquote, on their resume, or it’s a building block. So they go to McKinsey for a couple of years. And then look for another job or they work for a financial firm, and then want to shift. I looked for people who make a commitment to me and the one I’m doing and want to make me obsolete because they’re better. So I’m very worried today about the lack of value Is that people display their plate and self serving approach to things instead of their desire to please others. I heard somebody not long ago, I putting an ad in the media. And I, it was not for the firm, or anything. Like I said, we wanted a team player, a giver, not a taker, a positive attitude. And it’s all about the firm, not about you. And I said, if you don’t have these qualities, please do not respond. I got 40 responses in the heart of absolute star. So you can put words in other people’s mouths and see how they respond.

 

Will Bachman  46:10

If you’re advising a young person today, say a recent college graduate, what advice would you give them? If they say, rasa? You know, I want to keep developing my skills? What skills should I invest in? What would you suggest to them? And if they’re thinking about anything from technical skills, learning how to code or learning about AI versus learning to sell, versus learning to negotiate versus learning to write? What sort of skills do you think are going to be timeless and worth? Where do you suggest people focus on their invest investing?

 

Russ Reynolds  46:54

Well, I think it’s very important that you keep educating yourself. So I would encourage people to attend seminars, to attend conferences, to listen to all kinds of podcasts or other ways of learning. And I would also, then I also think attitude is extreme, extremely important. And the question is, as John F. Kennedy said, as to what you can do for your ask, not what your country can do for you, as what you can do for the country. And I recently told one of my grandchildren, when they joined a big successful firm, that she should aim to be the CEO of the company, not just a step on the ladder. And if you didn’t feel that way about it, you shouldn’t be there. But, again, I think it’s important to have a balanced life. I think, vacations are critical, and that people who don’t take them are dumb. I think that family is critical. Relationships are critical, and it’s all part of a package of success. But as important as self education is, I think, being on outside boards, both charitable and for profit can be extremely educational and helpful. So that it all depends on the individual.

 

Will Bachman  48:49

And final question, any parting thoughts for someone who is building a professional services firm, whether it’s a search form or a consulting firm, or other sort of professional service firm? What other tips would you share that you didn’t already mentioned today?

 

Russ Reynolds  49:09

Well, in the first place, the sales staff starts when the customer says no. So don’t take no for an answer. Secondly, you’re limited only by your own imagination. You can get anything you want, if you know how to go after. So keep trying until you can’t do it anymore. And the third thing is, be grateful, Be humble. Be respectful, and recognize that you’re not the most important person in the world. But you can help those who are so it’s a combination of things And the most important thing of all is stay in good health physically and mentally.

 

Will Bachman  50:08

Russ, it has been such a pleasure to have you on the show today. Thank you so much for joining.

 

Russ Reynolds  50:15

Thank you. Well, I really appreciate your interest. Say well

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