And Now for Something Completely Self-Serving

by Gordon Krater on August 31, 2015

A couple of months ago, Jeff, our chief marketing officer, was enjoying pizza and a glass of wine at one of his favorite Detroit restaurants. He got into a conversation with a fellow diner, and they exchanged information about where they work. “Plante Moran is a great company,” said the diner. “I’m actually a wealth management client. It’s too bad more people don’t know you offer that service.”

Not exactly what you want to hear as CMO of a firm that’s had a dedicated wealth management practice since 1977.

And not just any wealth management practice. Earlier this year, Plante Moran Financial Advisors ranked eighth on Forbes’ national Top 100 Wealth Managers list, with more than $10 billion in assets under management. Wealth management is a significant area of focus at the firm and has been since the days of Frank Moran, who once said that the secret to having wealth is “spend less than you make, and invest the difference wisely.” Wise words.

Jeff’s story came at a very opportune time. We had started to entertain modifying our firm logo to include the verbiage, “wealth management” alongside “audit, tax, and consulting,” but in the spirit of deliberate decision-making, we were taking our time and discussing among ourselves whether or not it was the right thing to do. That evening in Detroit reinforced that it was.

So, without further ado, I invite you to head on over to, and check out our new, slightly revised logo. Here’s to a greater visibility.


What Would You Say if I Told You to Jump?

by Gordon Krater on August 19, 2015

What Would You Say if I Told You to Jump?

When my oldest daughter was in high school, she asked me for a desk for her room. It seemed like a reasonable request, so we went out and got her one.

A few weeks later, I went into her room and found her in the middle of her bed, books and papers all around her, stereo on full-blast, and she was on the phone. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Studying,” she replied.

So I turned down the stereo, asked her to get off the phone, moved the items off of her desk, and sat down. “So this is how I always studied,” I informed her. “I put my book here, my paper there, and I took notes like this. I think you’ll find this is a better way to do it.”

She listened quietly to my lecture, but then my 4.0 GPA daughter asked, “What was your grade point average in high school, Dad?” I thought to myself, “What the heck am I doing?” I got up, turned the stereo back up, and shut the door. While her methods wouldn’t have worked for me, they were certainly working for her.

I’m reminded of this anecdote whenever I hear someone complain about Millennials. “That generation just doesn’t work as hard,” is a common criticism. “They can be difficult,” is another. Neither is accurate or fair.

As my story illustrates, Millennials work just as hard as other generations; they just work differently. They bring fresh perspectives, and they’re curious and inquisitive. When I was starting out, if my manager told me to jump, I’d ask, “How high?” That won’t fly with Millennials. You tell them to jump, and you’ll likely be met with a “Why?” or a “What’s the business case for jumping? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just walk around instead?”

Can that be irritating? It takes some getting used to. But fielding those questions really makes you think, “Well, could walking around be better?” If the answer is yes, they’ll respect you for acknowledging their perspective. If the answer is no—and you explain why it’s no—they’ll respect you for your experience and perspective. It’s a win-win.

So what’s your experience working with Millennials? And, if you are a Millennial, do you feel you’re unfairly categorized in the workplace?


I Have Always Depended on the Kindness of PMers…

August 4, 2015

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, talking about what a special place Plante Moran is and how much we care. So I try to focus on external things—cybersecurity, recruiting top talent, why “multitasking” is a misnomer. But the beauty of our firm is that, just around corner, there’s another example of our bright, caring […]

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It Takes a Village to Grow an Orchard

July 22, 2015

Internally, we often liken Plante Moran to an orchard. It has “trees” (or clients and staff) that have been planted at different times, bear different kinds of fruit, and have different lifespans. When new staff come to the firm, they have the benefit of capturing the fruit from trees that were planted before them and […]

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Creating a Great Workplace for Gens X & Y

July 7, 2015

Recently, we received two “best workplace” awards focused on specific generations of staff.  Crain’s Chicago Business named us the No. 1 place to work for the Gen X generation, whose birth dates span the 1960s through the early 1980s. Shortly thereafter, FORTUNE magazine named our firm one of the “100 Best Workplaces for Millennials (a.k.a. […]

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Got Team Spirit? We’ve Got an Award for That!

June 22, 2015

Recently, Bill Bufe, a retired partner and former HR director of the firm, reminded me of the origin of our Morrison award, which we give out each year at our firm conference to the one or two staff members who best epitomize firm spirit. It’s an interesting story, so I thought I’d share it with […]

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Sorry, Not Sorry

June 5, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me how creative Plante Moraners can be. Check out this email that Marketing Director Kim Greenspan recently sent to her female colleagues: I’ve noticed that women substitute “sorry” for any number of stronger and more appropriate words, thus running the risk of being perceived as the weaker gender — and […]

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17 Syllables for 17 Years

May 25, 2015

Each year, Plante Moran celebrates our inclusion on FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list with a contest. This gives us something fun to do during busy season, and it adds an element of celebration during the post-holidays winter lull. We’ve hosted trivia contests, photo caption contests—you name it, we’ve probably done it. This […]

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We Never Use the “E” Word (And We’re Not Alone)

May 11, 2015

Last month, our own Chris McCoy and Jim Proppe had the opportunity to present a breakout session at the Great Place to Work (GPTW) Conference in Dallas. After the session, Vlad Coho of Riot Games (developer of the astoundingly popular League of Legends videogame) approached Chris. “I noticed you didn’t use the word ‘employee’ at […]

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That Struck a Nerve

April 28, 2015

We’ve been getting a lot of feedback on a recent article we wrote for CNBC. The topic—cybersecurity—is admittedly controversial, but we were surprised at just how much of a nerve it struck with some small and mid-sized organizations. In the article, Group Managing Partner Jim Proppe asks, “Think only big companies get hacked?” only to […]

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