For the 1st time ever I was heckled during a keynote speech. I know, it had to happen at some point… but despite my polite acknowledgement, it was a battle I couldn’t win at that point in time. So, what produced the emotion from my delegate? It was the suggestion that if firms are to increase their profitability and generate more referrals, partners needed to stop holding all the knowledge up in their head.
You wouldn’t have thought that this is controversial, but it looks like I had hit a raw nerve. In my opinion, if your partners are not passing their knowledge down to others, it’s akin to waving a white flag and saying, we don’t want to grow. Strong words I know! But, you do want to grow a profitable practice, don’t you?
In today’s tough market places, you no longer can have your partners primarily being responsible for servicing client work – that’s why you have a client team. Your partner’s role is to lead their part of the practice, develop individuals within the team, bring in new work, act as a relationship manager to the client and empower their people to deliver great client service.
If your partners are stuck in the old world way of thinking and are holding onto knowledge and client work, then your firm is heading for trouble.
Of course, no-one can do exactly what you do, and what you have studied hard for over the years. However, if you can systemise some of what you do, you can then get your younger and cheaper members of the team to take on more work. This is a win-win-win for everyone. Your younger members of staff get the chance to cut their teeth on stretching work, your time is freed up to do the really technical stuff and spend valuable face time with clients. Let’s emphasise this point again. If you are stuck at your desk actually doing the work then, this limits your ability to get out there and win more clients.
So, what’s it going to take for you and your partners to get your knowledge out your head and share with the rest of your firm?