You’re working to develop a culture within your firm that supports growth at every level. One where everyone understands what you are working toward and their role in the process. One where team members are encouraged and rewarded for putting the goals of the firm before personal ones.
This is a great goal that will produce benefits to your firm for decades to come. However, it won’t be easy. Chances are it will take a few years to make such a monumental shift. You will have many issues that you’ll need to address and things to implement. And you’ll need to make some tough decisions. If you are going to bet the growth leader your firm needs, focus on:
Building a Solid Foundation
As a focus on growth plays out in your firm, you will notice that you may need to change some foundational items. Here are a few things you can expect to address:
- One-firm. You will talk about being one-firm over and over again. The growth and future success is more than any one person. You need to think and operate as one-firm. It will take time to get everyone thinking that same way, so be persistent.
- Silos. The only way you can truly be one-firm is to break down any silos that exist. This could be silos between offices, departments or people. You need to ensure people are working together with the best interests of the firm first and foremost.
- Policies and procedures. Encouraging people to work as a team only goes so far unless you have firm-wide policies and procedures that make it a requirement. Perhaps you don’t want a partner pursuing a lead alone. Make that part of your formal pursuit process. Maybe you want a niche leader to pursue more work. If so, then you need policies that require she pass off work to free up the time to do so.
- Governance. This could include streamlining a reporting structure, revamping who conducts reviews on various employees or updating job descriptions. You may need to re-evaluate your management team or executive committee and what they are responsible for. Ultimately, you need to decide what needs to change for you to truly be one-firm, working together to drive growth via industry and service-line teams.
- Reporting. Measuring the results of a growth initiative takes data that doesn’t appear in your financial statements. It requires that you segment your revenue and look at average transaction size and average number of services sold. You must know how much potential revenue you have in your pipeline and what your win rate is in terms of both number of opportunities and total dollars sold. A growth dashboard noting these KPIs and showing movement period-over-period should become part of regular management discussions.
Holding People Accountable
Accountability is the downfall of most great initiatives. You can have the best plan, but if people don’t do their part, you will fail. Look for ways you can increase participation. Start by using people to the best of their current abilities. Teach them any new skills needed. Most importantly, you’ll want a way to measure individual results. If you tie desired outcomes to compensation, you’re rewarding those contributions that augment the overall growth plan.
Providing Needed Training
Everyone in the firm will need to understand what you are trying to accomplish and what it means to them. You can’t expect people to do something differently without showing them how to do it. This has to extend past a one-time session, too. As people begin implementing what they learned, they may need a coach they can turn to for regular advice and feedback. You may notice a group of your team members struggling with something, in which case a refresher course may be needed. Growth training will never go away, but will evolve over time. For example, you will need to train people who are promoted to new positions that have a bigger role in growth on what they need to do.
Learning New Skills
Many of the skills needed to drive growth are new to partners and even many marketers. It’s important that you recognize that you are going to have to learn new things to make this successful. A few of the things you may need to learn or re-learn include:
- Segmenting, targeting and positioning
- How to create buyer profiles for each service you sell and unique audience you target
- Content marketing strategies to develop thought leadership for niche leaders
- Managing a pipeline
- Sales pursuit methodology
- Processes for taking new products to market
- Product/service offering packaging
Continual learning makes you a stronger professional. Be open to looking at marketing, business development and product management with new eyes, and you’ll be better positioned to be a growth leader.