Leaders Do Not Wait On Leadership…

…they lead.

The managing partner explained that he had not developed a strategy for his national service line because “leadership” had not yet decided if the service line was strategic to the firm.  I couldn’t believe what I had just heard.  Here’s the way I see it…

First, it is highly probable that leadership will never view your practice as strategic if you, the leader (if only by title), do not passionately believe it yourself.

Second, why hold the leadership position of a national service line if you aren’t going to lead?  Resign immediately and let someone step up who has a vision for that practice.

Leaders do not wait to be told what is strategic.  Leaders think and act strategically, especially when everyone else is managing through minutiae.


Competence Only Gets You To The Dance

Professional service firms are crowded with bright people; However, the brightest do not always make partner. Why is that?

In my experience, highly competent professionals often think their technical dominance guarantees getting on the partner track.  They fail to understand that competence only gets them to the dance.  To be invited into the partnership involves several important and often unspoken expectations.  If you aspire to partnership or higher leadership within your firm, consider these for starters…

1. You may have talent, but do you have a pleasing personality?  Highly analytical people often undervalue the importance of being able to connect with and influence other people.

2. You may have expertise, but are you sophisticated?  Organizational savvy and how you represent yourself directly impacts how other people view you.  Make it your business to expand your understanding and knowledge of things beyond your work.

3. You may have the work ethic, but can you leverage the time and talent of others?  Demonstrate your willingness to let others do the work and the ability to restrain your tendency to do it yourself.

These three things may not get you an immediate advancement, but they are a great place to start.


Work Harder On Your Leadership Than You Do On Your Job

Business results and achievement come from the ability to organize and mobilize other people for productivity and effectiveness.

Doug achieved respectable success in a commercial construction firm through his estimating skills.  After being promoted to Vice President, he struggled with letting go of estimating.  He explained to me that he believed his credibility and value to the company was directly tied to his technical ability.

There was one problem.  The president of the firm viewed this as Doug’s inability to work through others and build a team around himself.  The president said, “Doug can’t be a leader because he still wants to be an estimator.”

There is a time in one’s career when people skills become more critical than technical skills.  A choice will need to be made.  Leader or technician?