Through the years, and especially in recent times, the man had carefully selected younger professionals to join his business. He had interviewed them extensively, shared his vision of the future of the company, and listened as they shared their hopes and dreams to determine if the candidates might be a good match with his company. He noticed whether they had a strong desire to be successful and considered their intellect, foresight, confidence, honesty, courage, goals and dreams, concern for others and philosophy of life. Eventually, he had three junior partners in his business and each had valuable abilities and strengths. He invested hours of time with each one so they knew how he thought and they each understood his philosophies of doing good business - the same ideals that had always guided him in business and helped him become an investment leader.
After years of pleading from his wife he had decided to take his family and go away for some much needed rest and relaxation. He felt confident he could trust his business partners to take charge of business matters while he was gone.
He called his three junior partners into a conference, explained that he was taking a vacation and laid out the plan of action for the time he would be gone. First of all he explained that the very able office manager would, as always, be in charge of all day to day clerical duties pertaining to accounts and office management. The junior partners were not surprised that he asked them to give special attention to specific investors, though. To the youngest junior business partner who loved to multi task, was very capable in making wise decisions quickly, and was single and, therefore, more flexible with his time and able to work extra hours whenever needed, he gave charge of five of his most active investors. To the junior business partner who was the most analytical and had an innate ability to see all the angles at once and consider all the possibilities in depth, he assigned two of the most critical accounts. To the junior business partner who was great at tracking investments and recommending changes, kindhearted and patient, he gave one very valuable account. In addition to being a major investor, this particular client was facing lots of difficulty in his personal life. His wife was seriously ill with a debilitating medical problem. His teenage son was acting out, angry because his dad was so busy with his mom he felt he didn't have time for him. The client was just too overwhelmed and had entrusted his rather large investment portfolio completely to the company. The owner knew that this particular junior partner would give this account the attention it would need in the trying weeks ahead. He advised the Junior Partner to even go beyond business duties with this client - maybe send a gift card with an encouraging note, make a few phone calls to check on his wife, invite his son for a game of golf or something.
In the next couple of days, the Senior Partner also met privately with each junior partner to be sure they understood exactly what he expected of them during the time he would be away and to discuss any concerns they might have. When he was sure that all concerns had been addressed and the assignments were completely understood the Senior Partner felt confident that his capable partners would attend to all the needs of their clients during his absence. He happily bid them farewell and assured them of his return on a specific day.
The next day, he left with his family, so happy to have this opportunity to enjoy such a special time with those he loved so much.
The youngest Junior Partner was thrilled with the opportunity to oversee five of the most active investors of their firm! He responded quickly to all inquiries from these investors. He watched their investments closely and notified them of all possibilities of increasing the worth of their investment portfolio. He advised them of the ones he felt were most worthy of their investment. They were pleased as they saw their investments increase in value and each one recommended the firm to a friend who was searching for an investment firm to help them with their portfolio as well.
The most analytical Junior Partner spent hours each day reviewing and considering all the complexities of the two accounts that the Senior Partner had entrusted to his care. These investors were very particular about the kinds of investments they were willing to make - they wanted to know particulars such as the company mission and purpose. He was determined to guide and advise these clients of the most worthy investment opportunities as he discovered them. These clients were very pleased with the investment opportunities the Junior Partner advised them toward and each one recommended the firm to a friend.
Since he was in charge of only one account, though he knew it was a very valuable account, the third Junior Partner did not feel any urgency to get right on his assignment. He decided to take a closer look at investment trends and other good information that would, perhaps, give him a slight edge over the other junior partners. So, he got completely sidetracked and failed to be vigilant about tracking the particular client's investment portfolio to which he was assigned. After all, he really felt he was capable of handling more than this one account and resented the boss's decision in the matter. So, he figured there need be no hurry since he actually was particularly assigned only that one account. He had a nagging reminder in the back of his head, though, about the clients wife who was very ill and even started, several times, to pick up the phone and check on her and let the client know he had his back as far as protecting, even growing his investment portfolio. But, he was afraid he might not respond correctly if the news of his wife's condition was worsening, so he decided it would be better if he did not call. He decided the safest thing would be flowers and a get well card for the wife. But, he didn't know what kind of flowers she might like and what if he couldn't find a card that said the right thing? After all, what should a note of encouragement say in dire circumstances such as this? He decided that was a bad idea after all. He had been ashamed to admit to the Senior Partner that he didn't know the first thing about the game of golf, but was resigned to try to comply with the senior partners request. When it came down to it, though, he just couldn't bring himself to even try to do it. He remembered he'd heard that the son was a district golf tournament winner. Wouldn't he look like a goof out on the green with this kid?! But the days of the Senior Partner's vacation were ending soon and he would be back in the office and would be asking for a report. The Junior Partner decided he would just have to explain to the Senior Partner why he could not succeed at managing and protecting the account he had been assigned. He was sure the Senior Partner would understand.
Meanwhile the Senior Partner was enjoying a great time with his family. They went to Orlando, a place they'd always dreamed of going. They weren't disappointed! Disney was great fun!! They ate great food, the hotel accommodations were superb and just being together, having fun with his family, was such a good time. So, the senior partner and his family returned home with their buckets full! They felt closer. They'd had a great family vacation!
The Senior Partner returned to work the next week with a skip in his step and a smile on his face, grateful he'd had three capable partners to leave the business with while he'd enjoyed some much needed R&R. After he'd greeted his office staff, and gave a little summary of his vacation, the next order of business was to conference with each Junior Partner individually and hear their reports.
The first Junior Partner reported the value of his assigned clients portfolios had increased by five times! These investors had been so pleased that they have introduced five more high profile clients to the firm. The Senior Partner was very pleased with his report and gave him a firm handshake of appreciation for a job well done. A bonus would also be forthcoming.
The second Junior Partner reported the value of his assigned clients portfolios were increased three times and they had been so pleased that they had introduced three more clients to the firm. The Senior Partner was very pleased with his report and gave him a firm handshake of appreciation for a job well done. A bonus would also be forthcoming
The third Junior Partner gave his report, concentrating on all the reasons he did not attend to the particular client whom he had been assigned. Instead, he proceeded to share some suggestions he had pertaining to other clients whose portfolios he had reviewed in light of the trending investment opportunity. The Senior Partner was astonished to learn that the Junior Partner, whom he had chosen because he felt him to be especially suited for the assignment, had not even tried to help this particular client in his absence. He quickly pulled up the account in their company computer system and saw that his investment portfolio was disintegrating. The Senior Partner became angry and asked the junior partner why he had put his own desires and perceived shortcomings ahead of this very important client and his needs! "You gave me the most difficult assignment! I'm an investment specialist not a grief counselor, resource provider or babysitter! You expected me to go way beyond my responsibility just to keep this client happy." The Senior Partner reminded him that he had made his expectations clear to Junior Partner when he assigned the account to him. He reminded the Junior Partner he had confirmed he understand the expectations and agreed to the task. He also reminded the Junior Partner that one of the company ideals was to always treat clients as people first, clients second. "I had every right to expect you to be a great representative for our company and our ideals in my absence. I know you are capable and you could have extended our company's compassion toward this client and increased the worth of his portfolio if you had only tried!" Right then the Senior Partner felt too angry to continue the conversation and asked the Junior Partner to leave his office.
The Senior Partner felt so very troubled and distressed. He knew this client must be contacted at once and assured that his investments were being carefully looked after and that his portfolio was a priority for the firm. Most of all, he knew it was important that this client feel his investment company was caring and compassionate. He reassigned this account to the youngest, but most energetic Junior Partner. The Junior Partner called the client immediately. He asked about the son; sadly, the father said his attitude was about the same. He asked the father to pass on an invitation to go play a game of golf with him and maybe help him improve his game. He asked what his wife's favorite flowers were and ordered a beautiful floral arrangement to be sent to her at once.
With the client reassured and feeling glad that he had put his portfolio in the hands of a company with a heart, the senior partner returned his attention to the problem at hand. He agonized over the decision that must be made - whether to allow the Junior Partner to stay with the company or not. He prayed about the decision. Finally, he concluded that a junior partner who does not take to heart the importance of an assignment such as he had been given but, instead, acts very selfishly, preferring his own comfort and pleasure to that of the client and success of the company, could be the ruination of the firm. Finally, he called the Junior Partner, whom he had thought to be kind, caring and compassionate, back into his office and gave him the bad news - he would no longer be a part of the firm. Sadly, he said to the Junior Partner, " even if you had tried and had failed, that would have been forgivable, but not even trying is totally unacceptable and unforgiveable. We can no longer keep you in the firm. I believed you to be talented and capable, not perfect. I want you to remember this: I would not have dismissed you from our firm today if you would have only tried to take care of this very special client I left in your care. So, sadly, I bid you goodbye and can only lament how different might today be if you had only tried!"
By Becky Benedict, inspired by Matthew 25:14-31