We were settling into our respective offices in January 2017 ready for the New Year as long-time account executives at L&L Management Services. Little did we know that, within two years, we would become business partners and owners of Global Management Partners, LLC—an association management company specializing in medical and legal associations. On Oct. 1, GMP celebrated its one-year anniversary. Since its inception, GMP has realized 36 percent client growth while fostering an infrastructure based on trust, open communication and a common vision.
When offered the chance to buy the company, we knew we had a strong foundation with long-term clients and dedicated staff. Our challenge was to execute a change in ownership while retaining clients and lifting the internal office climate. We agreed to focus on the following to meet this challenge: be transparent from day one; create a shared vision; and strive for operational excellence.
Long before the purchase was finalized, an all-team meeting was held to discuss the upcoming change. We shared as much detail as was known about the purchase and what this change would mean to the individual employee specifically in the areas of health and wellness benefits, paid time off and holidays. We continued this transparency through several subsequent meetings by reporting on areas still under discussion or simply unknown. Everyone was invited to share their views on issues they felt needed to be addressed in order to create a dynamic organizational culture and expand client services.
All staff was involved with the naming of the new company as well as the selection of the GMP logo. A strategic planning session followed where the team was engaged in the creation of the vision, mission and value statement which is today GMP’s guiding principles. Dialogue was held with action steps identified to guide the direction GMP over a three-year period.
Armed with this feedback, decisions needed to be made to support clients and staff alike. Some were tough decisions such as saying good-bye to a long-term client, while others were easier such as adding a new support position to the accounting team. Continuing educational opportunities were offered such as Lunch and Learn Webinars, a Spring Rejuvenation series on culture change and leadership, and financial support for attendance at industry programming.
GMP Special Interest Groups were formed to discuss best practices in the areas of technology, meetings, membership, and health and wellness. Work groups were organized to evaluate existing internal practices and create policies and procedures to ensure operational excellence. A work-from-home program was instituted which required an investment in technology—everything from laptop computers for all team members to taking shared files into the Cloud for easy access.
By all accounts, GMP experienced a successful inaugural year. When you ask us for our advice to anyone starting a new company, in true partnership style we agree: stick to your vision, be transparent and lead by example.
JoAnn Taie and Janel Fick are partners/owners of Global Management Partners, LLC. Janel oversees the professional development and human resource aspects; JoAnn oversees the internal operations and new business development and is the lead facilitator for strategic planning for clients. They both serve as consulting directors, overseeing and providing guidance to several of the executive directors who serve GMP clients. gmpartners.org