June 14, 2019

End of an Era

End of an Era

The world-famous Four Seasons restaurant in New York City served its final meal this week, after 60 years in business. With the “power lunch” going out of style, people weren’t eating there as frequently as they once did, and the owners couldn’t turn a profit. To me, it feels like the end of an era. I was fortunate over the years to have had a meal there on occasion, but I guess its eviction from its original landmark location in NYC’s Seagram Building and costly move to its new location took a greater financial toll on its investors than anticipated.

Even in the digital age, there’s no substitute for face-to-face relationships, which is how Marcum has built its success. One reason I keep my own calendar, even though many people are surprised I don’t delegate it, is so I can seize an opportunity when one presents itself to have a meal with a client, prospect or referral source.

Marcum has worked with some families for generations. I want to know what’s going on with the clients we serve, and breaking bread together is a great way to catch up. Emailing or texting back and forth just doesn’t cut it when you’re going beyond routine matters.

The longer I run our firm, the clearer it becomes to me that strong human relationships are more important in doing business than anything else, something quite often taken for granted in this immediate-gratification digital age. One thing I often tell our fast-growing team is you can’t be successful from behind your desk. You’ve got to get out into the community to build your network and spend time talking with clients in person. It’s the unplanned conversations that often lead to the most insight, helping us understand their situations better and to develop strategies that help them meet their goals successfully.

We take the same face-to-face approach within our team. As many of you know, the Firm has been growing nicely in the past few years, thanks in part to the many mergers we’ve done. It’s been a fantastic way to add to the expertise we can bring to our clients and expand our footprint nationally.

Many of us spend more time in our offices during the week than we do at home, and I’m always happy to see it when team members take the time to get to know each other. That’s not always easy, with our people spread throughout 25 offices around the country. The relationships we build with colleagues and clients are an important part of our lives and can bring a lot of meaning to the work we do, if we make time for them.

We may have left the “power lunch” era behind, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take the time to get to know each other a little better as we tackle the day’s projects. Sometimes all it takes to get the ball rolling is to walk to a colleague’s office to ask a question or to pick up the phone instead of shooting over an email. Even if no one has the time for Four Seasons-style lunches anymore, it doesn’t mean we can’t build strong bonds with each other. It makes coming to work a lot more fun – and meaningful.

Sunday is Father’s Day, perhaps one of my favorite days of the year. It’s one of those rare days when I get to spend it with all five of my children in the same place at the same time. So to all of you lucky enough to be spending the day with your father or your children, as the case may be, enjoy and cherish the day together. There are far too few of them.