We regularly speak to audiences of lawyers, accountants and consultants about the challenges of making partner. In our talks we share the 12 Key Indicators that they all need to work on as they progress along the partner track. One of the most important (and the first) of our Key Indicators if you want to progress your career in the professions is your Mindset.
Surely all the 12 Key Indicators are important?
When I ran a ‘How to Make Partner’ event on behalf of the Pro-Recruitment group, one of the questions posed to the panel of partners and myself. That question was:
“What is the one thing that you must do to ensure you successfully get to partner?”
Two of the panel members said there was one thing that really stood out for them. Perhaps surprisingly, this wasn’t about hitting your numbers or having a cast-iron business plan. The key thing – and the most important lesson to learn for any aspiring partner – is to change your mindset and start to act, think and feel like a partner, rather than a senior fee earner.
How do you ‘act, think and feel like a partner?
This means you need to understand that:
- Making partner is not just another promotion, it is where your partners trust you enough to give you a slice of the firm
- That it is not the firm’s responsibility to drive your development or career, it is your responsibility to drive your career.
- You need to be focusing on what is good for the team, department and firm rather than your own particular agenda
- Business development needs to be part of your day job rather than something that you do when the workload is light
- You need to treat your practice like a business, not just a job to be done
When I mean get, you really do walk your walk and talk your talk. All too often you hear people in the professions talking a good game. But when it really comes down to it, they don’t follow their own advice. It’s often the little things that trip them up – and trip them up when they really matter. Such as:
- Complaining that they are not getting enough work from the partners, when they need to be actively trying to bring in their own work
- Having an attitude of “I deserve to make partner”, rather than realising this is where your partners will be offering you a chance to buy into the firm
What happens if you don’t think, feel and act like a partner?
What I’ve seen happen when senior fee earners don’t change their mindset is that their partners don’t actively engage with them to help progress their career to partner.
This could be obvious like refusing to talk about helping you make partner, or the less-than-obvious such as giving others the decent opportunities to further their career. Don’t be overlooked because you haven’t made the changes to your mindset!
If you want to know if you have the right Mindset to make it to partner, spend 10-12 minutes on our Partnership Readiness Assessment . We’ll send you a personalised report with feedback tailored to your specific needs. It will take you 10-15 mins to complete.
If you can adopt the right Mindsets for your success, then it will become much easier to create sustainable behavioural change. And it is this behavioural change which will take you from being a senior fee earner to becoming a partner.