Finders, Minders and Grinders. Those three terms were coined over a decade ago by management guru, David Maister. But, they’ve been resurfacing recently as professional service firms adjust to a fast-changing landscape of tax tumult, technology turmoil and demographic shifts. Sure, we know you have to have a balance of all three worker classifications to be a successful firm. Sure, we know you should do whatever it takes to hold on to those rare multi-talented individuals who can Find, Mind AND Grind simultaneously.
But, if you’re a leader of a professional service firm today, it’s not enough to recruit and nurture those Finder/Minder/Grinder corporate triathletes. You need to be one yourself. How do you personally divide your time among these roles, asked Richard Lavin, founder of the Leveraged Wisdom CEO Forum. “Are you consistent? Would your employees and partners agree with your self-assessment?” he added.
Most of you reading this blog have known from an early age whether you’re an introvert or extrovert. You’re highly accomplished leaders, but at the end of the day, most of you prefer to be either (a) out with potential clients hunting down the business or (b) quietly in your office grinding out the work.
Our client Blake Christian, CPA takes a modern-day look at what Finder, Minders and Grinders are in his new book “Becoming a CPA Preneur”:
- Finders are the hunters who seek out new business and relationships for the firm. They’re typically partners and senior manager levels, but Finders can be found (and developed) at lower levels of your organization, too.
- Minders are the project managers who keep the trains running on time. They’re attuned to processes, staffing and workflow, and focus their energy on nurturing the organization internally.
- Grinders are the technically skilled staff. They work well on their own, are good at taking instruction, and like to keep busy. These are the ones who get the work done. Without grinders, the firm would be all talk and no results!
*** Are you a Finder, Minder or Grinder? Take our Insta-Poll and see how you stack up to your peers.
Generally, employees fall into just one of these classifications above, said Christian, “but occasionally an employee will have more than one of these groups of skills. When you find them make sure you retain these gems.”
Rebecca Wilson, author of Stretch Yourself marketing blog wrote that “each role is absolutely critical to the success of a company and they all think that they are the most important. Without finders you would have no new business coming in the door, and no new projects for your team to work on. Without minders you would miss your deadlines and fail to monitor and achieve your profitability and success. And without grinders, nothing real would ever get delivered to your clients.”
She agreed with Christian that there is one rare type of professional in a services business who can carry out all three roles and “flip between them as required, with ease.” If you find one of these workplace triathletes, “be sure to value them for the quality jewel they are.”
Lavin said you can see skill sets and behaviors that drive each team member’s success. The Grinder will need to be a “detail person, analytical, have perseverance and be willing to be held accountable on a micro level. The Minder will need to have professional competency, good communication skills, an understanding of the lifetime value of a customer and an ability to assume advisory role. The Finder must be outgoing, comfortable in new settings, an excellent communicator and able to represent the firm and its services at the highest level of CXO circles.”
If you’re in charge at a professional services firm, Lavin said you need to make sure you are:
- Assigning similar roles to the various job descriptions of your team members.
- Hiring the skill sets and behaviors consistent with this simple model.
- You are defining, supporting and holding your team members accountable for the skills and behaviors consistent with their roles.
- Expecting team members to step out of their comfort zones.
- Training the appropriate candidates to grow into new roles.
We agree with the experts cited above. In this volatile, unpredictable age, everyone in charge has to become a corporate triathlete who can switch rapidly between Finding, Minding and Grinding. That means switching in and out of your comfort zone and better yet, expanding your comfort zone as you must provide new and innovative ways to show continue value to your clients.