Attributes of High Performing Managing Partners

Practice ManagementThis RedZone discusses a few of the attributes of High Performing Managing Partners. We will discuss additional attributes in future RedZones.

They are Decisive

The accounting firm marketplace is changing quickly, and is requiring managing partners to make vital strategic decisions quite often, and faster, then ever before.

“High Performing Managing Partners” (HPMPs) are decisive and act with a sense of urgency in making decisions to achieve higher levels of success for their firms and their partners. It’s not that HPMPs make decisions recklessly; however, they understand that it’s not always feasible to have all the essential information available to make important decisions. The amount of time available to make crucial business decisions has narrowed, and firm leaders no longer have the luxury to procrastinate or revert to “analysis paralysis.”

They Listen Carefully

HPMPs listen to their partners and understand their needs and desires. They try as much as possible to achieve buy-in from the partner group when determining strategic direction and making critical decisions, but they don’t shy away from conflict or debate. By doing so, they gain the support, respect, and confidence of their partners which heightens their ability to lead the firm with partners who are willing to be managed. While listening carefully and soliciting different viewpoints, they balance the process and avoid a consensus-driven culture or environment of unproductive committees that slow down the timing of important decisions.

They are Market-Driven

HPMPs are market-driven strategists. In other words, they understand the demands and needs of the firm’s clients and marketplace and make strategic decisions based upon those demands. They create a client-centric focus, and ensure that this is present in all aspects of the firm’s service philosophy. They see organizational change to react and adapt to market forces as the ordinary course of business. Many go a step further by anticipating marketplace changes and adapting their firms earlier than their competition to maintain a competitive edge.

They Make Tough Decisions

HPMPs make the tough decisions for the long-term benefit of the firm and don’t anguish over the short-term repercussions. Whether it’s terminating an unproductive partner, disengaging a long-time client, deciding against a merger that won’t benefit the firm in the long-term, or making an unpopular hiring decision, HPMPs understand and believe that making tough decisions is more advantageous in the long-run than maintaining the status quo.

The game and rules have changed in the accounting profession as competition for quality clients and staff is fierce, coupled with pressures from consolidation and baby boomer succession issues. The combination of these factors necessitates great leaders making timely and tough decisions along with adapting to the marketplace changes.

Remember, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” —Charles Darwin