Why is becoming a "Member of the Club" so important to your future career progression?
Being seen as a member of the club is the emotional part of your Personal Case. It's not enough to match up against the criteria required for partners in your firm (the rational part of your Personal Case). Your partners have to like you and trust you enough to allow you to buy equity in THEIR business. Before your partners will vote for you to be made up to partner in the partnership vote, they need to be proud to call you their business partner. That means, they need to know who you are!
To put it simply, they want to make sure you are the right type of person to uphold the values and culture of your firm. They are not going to vote for you if they have the slightest worry that you may cause conflict around the partnership table.
Shouldn't the best candidate for partnership always get to partner? Well, while that does make sense, that's not always what happens. It is fairly common to hear about partners sitting around the table, openly acknowledging that a candidate has a very strong Business Case, will credibly lead their part of the firm, and is very likely to make the firm lots of money. But then something is missing. Something doesn't connect for the partners at the table, so they turn the candidate down for partnership. No partner wants to introduce someone into the club who will upset the natural order of the club.
Ultimately, you may be asking some of your partners to trust you with the business that they may have founded or grown over the last 20 to 25 years. Can they trust you to carry on the business and take it into the future? Remember, their capital may be at stake if you muck up! If your partners don't intrinsically trust that their business is in safe hands with you, they will not make you up to partner.
This is why you need to spend time before the formal part of the Partnership Admissions Process strengthening the emotional part of your Personal Case. You can do this by:
- Growing your profile across the partnership
- Lobbying and building your fan base in the partnership, and
- Running your own internal PR campaign
How to demonstrate you're a Member of the Club
To tip the odds in your favour, here are a few things you can do to demonstrate that you're a Member of the club:
Change the type of conversations you have with your partners and your team
Create strong relationships with the influential groups of partners
Build up a strong network with the junior partner population plus the next generation of partners
Make your partners' lives easier
Turn up to work as your authentic self
Review your reputation and fix it if it is damaged