I believe the CEOs of every professional services firm should make it a point to review the story of the sudden collapse of Arthur Andersen & Company. At one point, Arthur Andersen was one of the world’s leading professional services firms – Arthur Andersen himself practically invented professional services in 1913 when he founded the company. But in 2002, Arthur Andersen & Co. vanished.
The company collapsed after being found guilty of crimes in the company’s auditing of Enron. And the demise of the company resulted from just a few people failing to live the values of the business.
The story of Arthur Andersen’s collapse still resonates for me, especially because all professional services firms, like Arthur Andersen, are no better than their people. And without a firm brand foundation to guide their people, any professional services firm is at risk for the same thing happening to them.
In my newly published Forbes column, “Why Professional Services Firms Need Brand Foundations to Succeed,” I discuss why now is the time for professional services firms to do a self-check on their brand foundations, including their purpose and values. The column is based on the ideas in How to Lead a Values-Based Professional Services Firm, a new book I co-authored. How to Lead a Values-Based Professional Services Firm will be published on January 29.
For more insight into why professional services firms need to build strong brand foundations, check out my Forbes column.