Back in the 1960s that prescient sage of organisations – Peter Drucker – stated that “Only three things happen naturally in organisations: friction, confusion and underperformance. Everything else requires leadership.” Today , with colleagues who are better educated than ever before, the 21st Century professional service firm presents leadership challenges of an entirely different order of magnitude to those from the past.
Recently the Senior Labour Market Economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in the UK stated “Too many are promoted ……..because they have good technical skills and then receive inadequate training and have little idea how their behaviour impacts others or how to get the best out of their staff”. The essence of leadership indeed.
Typical Leadership Issues
Every organisation we work with is, in the main, well managed – one of the few good things to come out of the crises of the GFC and 2008. The surviving firms are almost all well managed and have their systems, processes and platforms in place. In fact everything that enables future success except the inspiring, motivating, and direction of the most important resource in any PSF – the people who win, look after and provide service – either directly or indirectly – to the firm’s clients.
Typically we meet with leaders who are:
- Taking on new roles as practice departmental, sector group or departmental heads
- Becoming managing partner of a firm, office or geography
- Leading teams of partners or other peers
- Leading teams of younger associates and Millennials
- Partners leading big and challenging client service teams
- Leading their colleagues through the changes occasioned by AI and technology
We help all of these partners get to grips with their leadership issues through a better understanding of their personal style, how it impacts on others and how to provide the “lift” in performance they are seeking for their practice or their firm.
How to improve your firm's leadership
We believe you can’t learn anyone anything! So we start out by identifying the real issues the leaders are grappling with and crucially the context in which they are operating. We know every firm is different, so we take pains to make sure we understand the specifics and what makes each firm different. We are then in a position to make the intellectual case for leadership. Why it is important, what is does, how it is different from management. We seek to win the mind, before trying to help the leaders change their behaviour changes.
We will then work together to build a range of strategies, tools and tactics in order to help the partners make the step change they seek. We work in formal development programmes; we provide support to in work projects, we offer diagnostic tools and interviews and , of course, coaching when it will be helpful.