It is always a great moment for us when a client we have been supporting makes it over the line and gets the approval to join the partnership. However, the work doesn’t stop there. After all, once you have reached the top of one career ladder, you then need to start at the bottom of another career ladder.
In addition, there is often a sense of anticlimax. After all, making partner is what you may have been striving for since you entered the professions as a trainee fresh out of university. The question is what comes next… This is what we will now explore in the rest of this blog post…
It is at this point that we highly recommend to our clients that they get an empty piece of paper and build themselves a three year career plan. This three year plan can actually be quite illuminating. In fact, John Moss, one of our specialist coaches who works with our senior clients who are transitioning into the partnership, was working with a director in a Big 4 firm to help him show his firm why he should make partner.
As John and his client pulled together the three year plan with evidenced revenue streams, based on what he had already achieved, the client had an ‘a-ha’ moment. He realised that with his track record and potential he would make an even bigger impact in a firm at the top of the mid tier. So, supported by John, he took his plan to a top mid-tier firm; they saw the commercial opportunity and hired him as a partner. John’s client has subsequently gone on to be incredibly successful.
This is an example of how a three year plan was truly transformational for one of our clients. The question is, what needs to go into your three year plan as a new partner, or soon to be new partner. Here are 7 things to think about…
1. Take time out to reflect on what really motivates you
Up until this point in your career you have probably been working very hard to get to partner. If you have just achieved it, well done. Now the pressure has reduced a little, do take the time out to reflect on what you truly want from the next three years, both personally and professionally. In fact you may find the wheel of life exercise in our free career kitbag and used in chapter 2 of ‘How to make partner and still have a life‘ a good starting point for this thinking.
If you can, take yourself out of the office – even go away for a few days. Let your mind de-stress and let yourself truly unwind, then you will find it much easier to get close to what you really want from the next few years.
2. Go back and look at your business plan for partner
You may have been asked to write a business plan for partnership. If so, this is one of the places to start looking for what you want or need to achieve professionally. It will give you a steer on the numbers you need to achieve.
If you still need to write your business case, including your business plan for partnership then download now our free guide to writing a persuasive business case for partnership.
3. Ask yourself “what do I want my legacy to be?”
If you had a crystal ball, what would you want to have achieved in the next three years? But more than that, how can you make sure that you positively impact on other people in your new role of partner? What will you do to be part of other people’s success?
4. What is going to be different now?
Up until now someone else has called pretty much all of the ‘professional’ shots for you. (Of course if you are not yet a full equity partner, the situation is not going to change that drastically in the short term…) However, as an owner of the business (yes, that’s you if you have a small slice of equity), you get to be master of your own destiny a little more. What will you do that is different and make you and/or the people around you more fulfilled, happier and more successful?
5. What is your 100 day action plan?
It is all very well having grand three-year plans, but you do need to get started on it today…. Therefore, look at your three-year plan and identify for yourself what is realistic and motivating that you can get done in the next 100 days.
6. Don’t forget you need to ‘win work’ AND ‘build your team’
All too often the focus as a junior partner can be on ‘hitting your numbers’. Remember that if you are going to build a successful career to equity partner it needs to be more than just the numbers. What proportion of your time will you spend building a team to support your ambitions going forward?
7. How will you become one of the club?
Back at the beginning of this blog post I talked about starting to climb another career ladder now you are a partner. Part of your three year plan needs to contain some thoughts on how you will become a bona fide, stalwart member of your partnership in future. Who do you need to have as an advocate for you? What cross-firm projects, groups or committees do you need to join or lead?