At Nordens it's not only the clients who receive a five star experience. Their CEO Mitch Hahn took time out to talk to myself and Kayleigh Graham, a Senior Partner Manager in our Partnership Management Team, about how Norden’s company culture is a key ingredient to their success, and the steps and lessons learnt along the way.
Mitch joined Nordens after a professional football career was paused at the age of 18. His father suggested that the most successful people were accountants, although it wasn’t something he had initially considered, but it inspired him to look at the world of accounting.
Mitch met with Mark Norden (Chairman of Nordens) and Nick (Mark’s Border Collie), and was offered a position. Although Mitch admits that he wasn’t the best early employee of Nordens, (he still had premiership dreams at the time) he discovered that he was inadvertently making a big impact with clients, by helping them to improve their businesses and ultimately their lives.
5 Things Mitch would tell his younger self:
- Take responsibility for your actions
- Release the ego, because it's not you
- It's all going to be alright
- Spend more time with family
- There is no ceiling on what you want to achieve
Helping clients became the primary focus of Mitch, leading to a role more focused on business development than accounting. And this approach of building trust, establishing relationships, and looking for ways to develop, fed into his approach when it came to helping build the team at Nordens. And is a key part of the overall leadership of the business.
"We are very much obsessed with the client [at Nordens]. We make sure the client gets the best possible service and the best possible experience working with an accountant. I want clients to be excited to see us and be happy when they leave. It's a big thing to achieve, but that is where we are aiming. And we’ve taken that ethos and used that internally. It's about being excited to come to the office. Be excited to help a client. We want to invest in what individual people want to achieve with their lives. And we will give you the tools to achieve that without any ceilings.” - Mitch Hahn
Mindset transformation has been a key part in this journey. Helping people open their minds, remove barriers and blockers and discover the tools to achieve their goals. Whether this is fear of failure or fear of taking risks, changing perceptions and recognising that success can come from these experiences is part of team development. Nordens also has an internal leadership committee that helps build the culture of the firm from within, a reflection of Mitch’s belief that your internal vision of your world (what you think, believe etc) has an equal impact on what happens in your external world.
On a personal level, limiting beliefs has been a challenge for Mitch to overcome. Going from a frame of reference on what he thought he could achieve, and who he was, to now exploring and challenging those behaviours and values. And capitalising on the construct that we all have the same amount of time in a day, but it's what you think, and how you think in that time, that makes the difference to your world.
"It might not be your fault, but it is your responsibility"
Mitch’s Top Post-It Note Inspiration #1
But it's not all been smooth sailing. During a period of hyper growth, where the interview process didn’t test candidates on values and beliefs, and investment in training and development waned, the morale of the business took a tumble.
Mitch reached out to a friend, whose business was thriving, and asked how to fix things. As a result Nordens brought in resources to help re-engage with the team. A pool table was given from this friend, investment in an HR Manager to help build engagement strategies, external coaching programs were brought in, and daily communication across departments and managers was established to identify early solutions to blockers.
This experience made Mitch understand that company culture isn’t something that you can take for granted. It needs to be nurtured and cared for in order for it to thrive. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to be successful. The core values and standards + at Nordens were adapted, after Mitch saw them at an event for another company and was struck by how similar and aligned they were to what Nordens was aiming for.
Never take anything personally - ever!
Mitch’s Top Post-It Note Inspiration #2
Going into Covid-19, the culture went from strength to strength as Nordens implemented regular “family” calls, three days a week, giving everyone the opportunity to share client stories, personal fun facts, and stay engaged with their colleagues, plus find out how the business was evolving to support them and their clients in a time of need.
Mitch feels today, the culture at Nordens is the best it's ever been.
Where you can go from here
Mitch’s essential reading and listening for a new manager, setting up their own practice and wanting to grow!
True Wealth by T. Harv Eker
Mitch: Thoughts lead to feelings lead to actions lead to results - everything comes back to your thoughts.
- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Alan Singer
Mitch: When you get feelings of doubt and negative thoughts as a business owner… explains you are not your thoughts, you are just experiencing your thoughts - better on audiobook.
- The Missing Secret: How to Use the Law of Attraction to Easily by Joe Vitale
Mitch: Using a Hawaiian meditation technique ( Ho'oponopono) it teaches you how to communicate with the universe clearly.