What do you do with a talented square peg? Create a square hole.
Allow me to share one of my favorite Frank Moran stories. Frank was meeting with a client in the early days of the firm when he was introduced to a man named Bob Petz. Frank was immediately impressed by him—so much so that he decided to hire him. “You’re crazy,” said Frank’s colleagues who, at that point, numbered less than 20. “He’s not even an accountant!” “No,” said Frank, “but he’s a really smart guy.”
When Bob arrived, he was a square peg amid a slew of round, accountant-shaped holes. So Frank created a square hole. He sent Bob back to school to get his psychology degree, and shortly thereafter, Bob became the firm’s first director of human resources. He recruited much of the talent that has made the firm what it is today. All because Frank recognized his talent and came up with a creative way to leverage it.
And that’s just one example. Over the years, we’ve found a number of talented people and supported them as they defined their own career paths. I think of Chris McCoy, who spent more than two decades as an auditor before taking the helm as our current HR director. I think of Vince Selasky, who spent more than 15 years as a member of our facilities/maintenance team before joining Marketing as our video and webinar guru. I think of Melanie Ceo, who started out as an administrative staff member and is now an HR compliance consultant. And I think of Lou Longo, who started out as an audit staff member and parlayed his passion for international business into a role as head of Plante Moran’s global services consulting team. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It goes back to one of our founding principles, the Wheel of Progress: hiring good people who do good work results in good clients who pay good fees which allows us to hire more good people. Sometimes those people are the usual pegs who fit neatly into predefined roles. Sometimes their edges are more angled and need our support to carve out their place. At Plante Moran, there will always be room for both.
What about you? Have you made room for any square pegs at your organization? Has there been a time where you hired someone based on talent alone?