September 7, 2015 by Gino Alberelli

We may deal in numbers, but it’s a people business

Embrace your ‘human economy’

What business mindset shapes your leadership values? For many years we’ve embraced the idea that knowledge, combined with technology, is the value capital that drives business growth (the knowledge economy). In turn, many leadership strategies seek to foster and capitalize upon knowledge within the workplace.

This makes a lot of sense. Knowledge is integral to innovation and being competitive. But some researchers, such as author and ethics management expert, Dov Seidman, suggest that we’ve reached a “watershed moment, transitioning to human economies.” He argues that your most valuable resource is not “hired heads” but rather “hired hearts.” Employees who bring creativity and collaboration to the workplace as well as the requisite knowledge needed for their job.

Traditionally governance is concerned with controlling and preventing unwanted behavior, says Seidman. He suggests that instead we want to build a human operating system that focuses on unleashing employee’s potential to achieve. 

Be disruptive

In our financial services practice at Collins Barrow, we’ve put people at the heart of our business. Yes, numbers are our forte, but our greatest value to clients is the specialized, personalized service we provide. How do we achieve this? In the past few years, we’ve strategically built an agile and diverse team of people who have a challenger mindset.

We’ve hired some of the youngest partners in our network, giving them the chance to own (literally and figuratively) their business. And then we set them loose. Our company culture tells the team they are not only allowed, but encouraged to push the envelope. Innovation in our solutions and delivery to clients is critical.

Management consultant leader, Peter Drucker, famously summed it up: “People who don't take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”

Share the love (knowledge)

In a workplace with a ‘human operating system’ of course knowledge still has inestimable worth. But the real value of knowledge is harnessed when it’s shared – both internally and with clients. Productivity goes up, as does competitive advantage, when employees use knowledge sharing tools and practices. As well, this improved collaboration breaks down information silos and makes employees feel that management genuinely trusts them. 

Collins Barrow Vaughan is an entrepreneurial office; we don’t necessarily need complex and expensive knowledge sharing tools. But we can and are investing in platforms and practices that encourage our team members to speak up and share their expertise for the benefit of our clients and peers. For instance, our managers and partners do team social-media training to connect with each other and potential clients/influencers, as well as post their own thought leadership. 

As we build collaboration into our daily business process, we’re astounded by the added value our team has produced, that we might never have accessed otherwise.

Gino Alberelli, CPA, CA, joined Collins Barrow (Vaughan) LLP in 1991, and has been managing partner for the last 10 years. An expert in owner-managed small and medium sized businesses, Gino has 30 years of experience advising clients in industries that range from construction and manufacturing to retail, distribution and professional service (medical and non-medical). When he’s not building value for clients, Gino enjoys actually building things, including his own cottage from the ground up. Gino’s daily breakfast of champions is multi-grain toast with peanut butter and organic wild blueberry jam, but he splurges on bacon and eggs with his sons on Sunday mornings.

If you would like to connect with Gino please contact him at or on LinkedIn.

* Leadership Series blog posts are the result of a collaborative effort between managing partners and the National Marketing Team.