I regularly speak to audiences of lawyers, accountants and consultants about the challenges of making partner. In my talks I often share the ten lessons that my clients have learnt along their journeys to make partner. In this blog post I am going to share the first lesson from the 10 lessons: Commit to your career.
This doesn’t surprise me….
I’ve been co-running regular webinars for people 0-3 years out from partner, for almost two years. In these webinars we offer people attending the chance of a complimentary coaching session. Not everyone takes us up on this offer. What we are finding now is that the people who turn up and have a complimentary coaching session are the people who are now making partner.
I could claim this is due to the brilliance of our coaching. Whilst I like to be able to take all the credit, I don’t think that this is the main root cause of these professionals rapid career progression to partner. The reason for their rapid career progression is because they have decided to commit to their career. The first lesson I share is the importance of committing to their career.
Why do talented professionals not commit to their career?
You’ve got a group of the most intelligent and ambitious people in the world, so you would expect that they would have their fingers on the pulse in regards to their career progression: A reasonable conclusion to make. Well, the reality for people in the professions is a little different. Actually it’s a lot different.
The reality is that when you work in the professions with it’s all-consuming nature and high billable targets, there isn’t much time for anything else apart from work and the basic necessities of life like eating and sleeping. Some lawyers may say there isn’t even enough time to get a decent night’s sleep! When work and clients are all pervading, is it any wonder that our career – and more importantly time to work on our career – take a back seat.
How do you know that you are committing to your career?
It’s all very well to say commit to your career, but how do you know if you are really doing this? And most importantly, doing this effectively?
This is what I tend to see when I work with a lawyer, accountant or consultant who is truly committing to their career:
- They have a personal and highly tailored career plan which they religiously keep on implementing regardless of how much work is on their plate
- They often have a full complement of a support team, e.g. internal firm mentor, external coach, friends inside and outside of work, loving ‘life’ partner outside of work
- They treat their career as if it is an important client and allocate time each work to work on their career.
If you want to progress your career in the professions, you’ve got to implement the first lesson, commit to your career.