Professional Services and Generational Relevance…

Michael D. Moberly, Principal, Founder, kpstrat – ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’

I encourage discussion, but little debate to the premise underlying this post. There are and will continue to be heightened ‘generational attention – preferences given to conveying + asking, why, when, from whom, circumstances, and perhaps conditions which Gen X’s Gen Y’s, and/or Gen Z’s may consider – seek ‘outside’ professional services.

There are ample indicators that pointedly suggest professional service firms which frame, describe, and convey their services – offerings to existing and especially prospective clients, may warrant ‘generationally relevant revisions’.

Respectfully, in many instances, professional services and offerings, have been, and variously remain influenced by and executed via relatively structured conventions, ‘steeped in precedent and/or cast in stone’….(a.) this is way it’s always been done, (b.) this is the way it’s gotta be done, (c.) there’s nothing we can do, or will find necessary to alter that anytime soon, and (d.) you are welcomed to try to find another firm who may be receptive, but, good luck with that…

In many instances, those conventions are extensions of variously required (mandated – institutionalized) standards of practice and/or statutes, portions-of-which have been relatively-un-altered – un-changed for decades and/or generations.

For a host of reasons – influences, some Gen X’s Gen Y’s, and Gen Z’s, are-likely-to-be-at-ease to seek – ask for – question, and perhaps debate continued relevance of some conventions, e.g., what’s important and different ways of describing offerings and practices, e.g.,

  • perhaps less emphasis on – attention drawn to conventionally conveyed achievements, ala wins, and
  • more attention to relevant, ideologically authentic-consistent, and ethical strategies which reflect resilience to national and global practices, need for resilience, demands, and trends,

Awareness of the various business things intangible in play and their relevance vis-à-vis, how same are conveyed to-for the benefit of clients, carries relevance in practice, execution, and outcomes.

Unarguably, it is prudent to consider current generation of thinkers, doers, achievers, are more likely to seek, with less hesitation, and perhaps variously expect something different, apart from the status quo.

Existing and prospective clients seeking professional services, could conceivably frame the above ‘portrait’ to be a (personal – professional – fiduciary) obligation for the leadership of professional service firms, e.g., to reconsider – re-frame whathow they prefer their firm’s ‘reputational differentiators’ to be received and judged.

It’s the intangibles assets which firm leadership – management teams develop, express, showcase, market, all-of-which are in play, largely in, open source.  Hence, generational – operational familiarity with business things intangible can really matter, as it should.

I define business things intangible as various forms, contexts, and applications of unique – often proprietarily developed…

  • intellectual capital, (thought, knowledge, know how, expertise),
  • structural capital (processes, procedures, operations) and
  • relationship capital (associations, connections, affiliations, rapport)
  • which collectively – collaboratively converge as attractive, competitive, and lucrative operating cultures, which a business and/or professional service firm deems ‘mission essential.’

The leadership of professional service firm should perhaps consider it a fiduciary – strategic planning obligation to review – assess some version of the following, i.e., can – will certain time-honored ‘bill board’ conventions…

  • sustainably attract – be deemed relevant to current – future generations of doers, thinkers, and achievers.

Again, its’s which + how a firm’s intangible assets are conveyed – exhibited, that will influence, attract, and will likely matter…

  • when conventional, time-honored, relied on pipelines and sources – methods of re-attracting repeat clients and prospective clients,
  • recede, deplete, and/or change, as conveyed here, and is already occurring,
  • leadership – managing partners are respectfully obliged to consider same.

There is no suggestion posed here that current-future generations are or will seek – request special advantages or privileges, or otherwise endeavor to skirt ethical – legal boundaries or standards that may induce a professional service firm to jeopardize their reputation or cause same to become suspect. 

Rather, it is in part because their businesses and innovations, etc., are irreversibly, intangible asset intensive, dependent, and reliant. Again, it’s the intangibles in play, which growing percentages – generations of clients look for and will rely on, that matter.

So, consider please, examining – assessing particular-practices, insofar as why-when-how they are conveyed, described, exhibited, and executed, as…

  • current generations of leaders, management teams, and investors, et al, may be obliged to consider and may determine some conventions not particularly attractive, reflective, accommodating, or designed to address…
  • their perspectives and the arrays of challenges they routinely grapple in business operating environments, ala products, services, brands, etc., which are intangible asset intensive, dependent, and reliant than any other period in business operation history.

So, whom, current – future generations seek guidance – representation of their business interests, circumstances, and the various types of ‘intangible asset’ intensive – dependent – reliant transactions being considered and engaged…

  • whether – how those sought-after services can be delivered and should prudently include compatibility relative to clients ‘mission essential’ intangible assets in play

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