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?


6 Business Development Skills That Get Results

Success depends on being capable of anticipating client needs. The ability to probe and anticipate opportunity is a critical skill to develop.  Here are a few tips to practice for those who are insight challenged…

1.  Step back from the task at hand and reflect on what issues the client might encounter once this project is complete.  What is the next logical step or phase?

2.  Listen to the chatter and concerns the clients employees are talking about.  How can you help?

3.  When the client makes a statement or shares a problem, ask yourself, “what are they asking of me?”

4.  Schedule time regularly to think about the client needs and how you can position your firm’s expertise.

5.  Do not assume the client will connect their issues to your firm’s capabilities. That connection is yours to make.

6.  People do not like to admit a problem until they know you have a solution.  Build a reputation for having solutions and resources.