Several years ago, we at Ivy Sea had a year during which several full-time staff members for a certain job category came and went. An intern on our staff suggested that a graduate student would be more compatible with an organization that was very oriented toward learning and continuous improvement, which is how she saw our firm. In her view, people wanting the more settled routine and established outside-of-work socializing more typical of larger corporations wouldnt mesh well with our independent, mastery-focused group. Students, on the other hand, were geared toward learning, and would find the firms dynamic pace and culture exciting.
We took her suggestion to heart. In addition, we expanded our definition of student to include candidates who had valuable skills but might be looking, for example, to re-enter the job market after graduate school or parenting, or who were making a career shift and wanted to put their skills to use in a new way. We created an advanced internship we call an Ivy Sea Residency. The positions are full- or part-time, finite-term opportunities that can be extended for additional three- or six-month intervals based on discussions of mutual benefit. The positions are compensated fairly, with the high level of learning opportunity taken into account as part of the compensation package. Residents, in return, contribute their skills and get an opportunity to re-enter the market, as well as add new marketable skills to their résumés and work samples to their professional portfolios. Based on feedback from participants, the program has been a success, and helped us stem the turnover that had previously occurred in that job category.
Weve now developed relationships with what we call our extended family a small circle of like-minded professionals with compatible vision, aligned values and a commitment to rising above the norm in their work. In addition, we maintain contact with a network of other self-employed professionals and small businesses with complementary areas of expertise with whom we partner and exchange referrals. This allows us an experience and expertise pool that is both deep and broad, without having to expand the organization to a degree that would negatively affect our ability to work according to our big-vision priorities and the Golden Rules for right relationship.