CEO Blog

Criteria for a Critical Relationship

Published on February 7, 2019 Back to blog
Peter Finn and Jeff Freedman

Just over 16 years ago, I started Small Army with my close friend, Mike Connell. Three years in, Mike was diagnosed with cancer and, 2 years later, he lost his battle. Although I never intended to be the sole leader of Small Army, I couldn’t avoid the circumstances. 

As I promised Mike, I kept the dream alive. I channeled every ounce of knowledge and inspiration I could from him, and stepped up to be the leader that I knew he would want me to be. And, I’m certain he’d be proud – not just from the great clients we’ve built relationships with and amazing work we’ve created but, maybe even moreso, the culture we’ve built, the incredible talent/people we’ve attracted and the heart and soul that permeates through everything we do. Of course, I can’t take all the credit. I have an amazing leadership team who has helped me drive the business, and 45+ people who are passionate about what they do and bring their best to the table every day. 

However, as I looked to the future, I realized that continued growth and success would require more. So I began considering a new relationship – one that could help Small Army become even better than it is today. And, today, I’m proud to announce that we found the perfect match. Effective immediately, Small Army is a part of Finn Partners

As with considering any critical new relationship in life and business, I focused on the things that I believe are most important (and I encourage everyone to consider the same criteria for your relationships):

  1. You share the same core beliefs and values – From the moment I met Peter Finn (CEO of Finn Partners), I was sure we were cut from the same cloth. While his intelligence and business acumen were impressive, it was his big heart and kindness that attracted me the most. Perhaps the best way to demonstrate this is by sharing the letter that Peter shared with everyone at Small Army yesterday. There is no question that we are fully aligned. 
  2. You can be yourself – To succeed (and be happy) in life and business, we need the ability to be who we are. It is also our heart and soul that makes us unique – and attracts others to us. That is what attracted Finn Partners to us – they like us for who we are. They don’t want us to change, they just want to help us get even better. Which leads me to…
  3. They make you better – As I often tell my wife, I could never have done many of the things in life without her love and support. The list – from our kids and friends to our travel adventures and, of course, Small Army – is endless. Finn Partners will certainly have a similar impact on Small Army. Their global reach (19 offices across 3 continents), depth of talent/resources, domain knowledge (i.e., technology, health, financial services, travel, publishing, consumer, education, etc.) and PR expertise are just the beginning of how they can help.
  4. You can see yourself with them for the long term – Over the last six months, I’ve spent time getting to know Peter and others on his team. And, for all of the reasons above, I have every intention on being with them for many years to come. This is an exciting time – and the future for Small Army, our team and our clients looks brighter than ever. 
  5. The feeling is mutual – Of course, every relationship has two sides (at least). And, each side needs to feel the same way. I am confident that Finn Partners feels the same way about Small Army as we feel about them and, together, we’re going to be an amazing team. 

While this may have been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made (in life or business), I know it is a good one. I’m more excited about the future than ever before, and look forward to you being a part of it with me. And, I know Mike would be proud.

Thank you for your continued friendship, support and encouragement.

– Jeff