The Power of Connection
When I was graduating from college, I learned an important lesson about relationships. I had originally started my college career at The Ohio State University. It wasn’t until the spring of my freshman year that I was able to fully appreciate what it meant to be a student at the largest public university at that time. I, along with the other 750 students taking a college algebra class, had to show our student IDs to verify that it was actually “us” taking the test and not someone else that was better at algebra. I was a number at Ohio State. It was then that I realized I needed a much more personal college experience. I transferred from OSU and its 57,000 students to Otterbein College and its 2,400 students.
It was through my initial application process to Otterbein that I met the most important person to help launch my professional career: my Otterbein guidance counselor. She not only helped me balance my academic career and my work schedule, she also introduced me to her network of Otterbein graduates and business professionals that she had cultivated over her years as a guidance counselor. While many of my friends graduating from Ohio State were struggling to find a job, or even internships, I was fortunate enough to have my choice of several paid internship and job offers.
While it was true that my grades as I was graduating from Otterbein were much better than they were at Ohio State, that’s not what gave me an edge. The people and companies I was interviewing with knew me and I knew them — through their participation in guest lectures, invitations to job fairs, and taking the simple steps of making a phone call and introducing myself.
I’ve learned quite a few lessons in my 20+ years of being a professional. The most profound one, I learned early: Relationships matter.
More Than a Sign on the Wall
This is why I chose to work at IA — they understand that a culture, supported by trust and collaboration, allows us “IA-ers” to flourish in an environment centered around building and maintaining relationships.
The IA culture is not something that just happens, and it’s not something an organization can achieve by just creating a mission statement or posting slogans on a wall. The IA culture is purposeful, constant, and aligned to specific values that support relationships.
Building a Culture of Collaboration
IA-ers listen, and we are focused on being present, not only with our clients and service providers, but also with each other. This means we talk less and listen more — something rare from a consulting firm.
We are transparent and have a point of view. We have the integrity to speak up when things aren’t going well and the courage to deliver difficult messages.
We are reliable — we do what we say we are going to do. And, finally, we are fully committed to connecting with our colleagues, clients, and service providers.
We don’t sit by idly and wait to build relationships — we continually work on them. It’s why our clients know we will always have their backs.
These fundamental pillars of relationship building are what make IA different and what make us successful, and these are the reasons I chose to work at IA.