Putting People First Keeps AGH on Top
Coach’s CornerCreating Productive Work Spaces

Putting People First Keeps AGH on Top

AGH was voted by its employees as the No. 1 place in Atlanta to work

How do you become one of the best places in all of Atlanta to work?

That is just one of the questions I posed to Kathie Gottlieb, the president of AGH, LLC, which has its headquarters in Atlanta. AGH is a leading accounting and advisory firm providing audit, tax, accounting and consulting services to clients globally.

Almost a decade ago, AGH was voted by its employees as the No. 1 place in Atlanta to work, as reported by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Things have only gotten better and grown since then.

Before I get into the bits of wisdom shared by Kathie, allow me to explain how I came to change the slant of this column. I can write and expound on the correct ways to run and grow a business. On paper it all sounds good, yet it is just theory.

I believe more can be learned from people running successful businesses than just theories by an expert. When theory and the actual real world collide, usually practical advice and experience have shown to be better guidelines. So I’ve decided to take a different approach moving forward.

I am now seeking local, Jewish-owned businesses that are successful to be highlighted in this column. Ideally, I would like to interview the CEO or president. It can also be one of the founders or owners.

I want to know your secret sauce. What sets you apart from your competition? Share with the community a tip or two so that we can all get better and grow.

Part of being Jewish is helping to lift one another up and grow. Together, we can make Atlanta one of the top places for business in this country.

I am starting out by highlighting AGH because I believe to it be an example of any definition of a well-run company. Out of all the things Kathie Gottlieb shared with me, one quote stuck out the most: “If you want to grow, empower your people.”

It is such a simple idea, yet so very hard to do in practice. Many owners and business leaders want to control everything. This is truly a limiting factor on your business, as it will never grow past what one person can accomplish.

Let’s examine the AGH model of empowering your people.

First and foremost, you have to attract and hire the right people. When asked what AGH looks for in a great hire, Kathie shared that it is more than just technical skills. Skills should be a given, she said. What AGH truly looks for are a great attitude and an excellent fit for the culture. They are always seeking complementing people, not people who seek complimenting.

In her words, Kathie views people in three ways: minders, finders and grinders. AGH is always looking to find the right balance of these three types of people to maximize their growth potential.

Put into other words, finding the right mix of visionaries, rainmakers and workers. Everyone has a role, none more important than the other. Truly a company that embodies the acronym TEAM: Together everyone achieves more.

Some other foundational practices at AGH are receiving unlimited personal days off, dressing for your day, and being celebrated for little achievements as well as milestones. All this serves well for personal responsibility.

All employees should know what’s expected of them. If they can achieve that and more, they can live their lives (time off and dress) the way they want. Truly AGH is a people-first company.

In summary, Kathie shared a personal motto that we would all do well to follow: “Always do your best, nothing more, nothing less!”

Imagine what we all could achieve if we followed those words.

To have your company spotlighted in this column, please reach out to me.


Jason Adler is a John Maxwell-certified executive coach (www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/jasonadler) helping people and their organizations hire and keep quality employees.



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