1. Professional Services, by nature, are complex
Professional services are about as complex as the people they sell.
That's to say, if your business sells a non-physical product or service, then your customers are buying far more than just a product or brand. What they're really buying is your knowledge and experience.
Hence why it's equally fitting to apply the nature vs nurture debate to help explain your biggest challenge as a professional services business — your people.
People inherently (nature) bring complexity to your business well before your customers bring you an external (nurture) problem to solve. So, professional services must first reduce the complexity internally by empowering a culture of trust and transparency while maintaining control and mitigating risks.
Let's say you're a major legal or accounting firm, a management consultancy, or you manage large-scale construction and engineering projects. Often, the only way of quantifying the expertise of your people is to bill their time against a long list of deliverables. But the devil is in the detail, and in most cases, it's the non-financial impact of your people (and their level of engagement) which will determine the success or failure of your business in the long run.
Gallup estimates a $7 trillion cost to the global economy per year due to low engagement alone, reporting that only 20% of the world's workers are engaged.
So, perhaps the most important challenge of all is appreciating the true complexity of the business you're in and remembering that your employees are your product.