support team

If you were a director or senior associate and bringing in work worth over £1 million, you would think that you would be a sure bet for partnership. This may not always be the case, read on to find out more… The world of theatre has a phrase called a triple threat. This is someone who is equally strong at acting, dancing and singing. If you are going to make partner at a Big 4, Magic Circle, Big Law or any firm you will need to be a triple threat; i.e. you can lead and engage their team, win business and be great with clients. In the last twelve months we have been talking with many firms about the skills their partners of the future need. They are looking to find their equivalent of the ‘triple threat’; well rounded partners who can lead their team, win work and be great with clients. In fact, I have just started working with a director from a large firm who found that being a double threat was not enough. He had a client portfolio worth over £1m of fees (remember this is a director), his clients respected him and he wanted to make partner. However, his team hated him. This lack of engagement with his team cost him partnership and he is moving  firm to have another go at partnership. Assess partnership potential copy 200pxTo see whether you are building the skill set to be a triple threat, take our free partnership potential self-assessment test.  Let’s now look at these three skill sets in more detail.

Make partner: Win business

I must sound like a broken record, but the days of being promoted to partnership without a track record of winning work are long gone. Unless you are in the Big 4, Big Law, or Magic Circle and only work on big ticket pieces of work, you have to show you can build up your own client portfolio when you are a senior manager or director. If  you only work on these Big Ticket pieces of work, which only a partner can realistically win, you need to show work-winning potential. This means building your profile, nurturing a network of introducers and people who can refer you to work in the future, contributing to your department’s marketing plan. guide to building personal networking strategy 200pxguide to creating a marketing plan copy 200pxTo help you build your client portfolio, or show potential to win big ticket work, download now our free step-by-step guide to writing your own marketing plan and your free step-by-step guide to building your own personal networking strategy. 

Make partner: Great with clients

Realistically if you have progressed your career beyond the newly qualified level you will be good with clients. After all, not enjoying working with clients is a pretty big career limiting move for working within the professions! However, are your clients singing your praises to your partners? If not, why not?

Make partner: Lead & engage your team

I’ve often in the past thought you can get to make partner by only being a excellent rainmaker. However, many firms are becoming more savvy about the need to have good role models at the top of the firm. This means that if your partners and team have doubts about your leadership or management capability, they may block your route to partnership – regardless of how well you can win work. So, what do people who are good at leading and engaging their team do well?

  • They allocate time to spend with them regularly regardless of the amount of work they are delegating to them
  • They routinely set expectations about the standard of work they expect
  • Their team always know where they stand with them
  • They over rather than under communicate
  • They seamlessly adjust their management and motivational style depending on the person’s level of competence and commitment
  • They show that they care about their team
  • They go out of their way to help their team develop their skills and career.

Many people who are poor at leading their team have gone on to partnership and then come a cropper. Without having a team who want to work for you, your business development efforts will eventually come to a full stop before full equity partner status is available. This is why the partners who go on to become full equity partners, are triple threats.

In summary

In order to become a triple threat you can’t afford to just focus on leading your team OR winning work. You need to be able to do both… Author Credit: HowtoMakePartner book jacketWritten by Heather Townsend. I help professionals become the ‘Go To Expert’. I am the co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life‘ and “The Go-To-Expert” (publish date March 2014) and the author of the award-winning and bestselling book on Networking, ‘The FT Guide To Business Networking‘. To find out whether I can help you, have a look at “our services” Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter

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