It was all a dream.
You started out, just you and your friend/colleague/partner, with degrees in hand and a few years of experience at a big firm.
You never planned to stay long – you both agreed the way to go would be to gather experience and exposure, then jump and form your own firm.
Which is exactly how it went down.
You went out, rented space, and started building a client list.
It was slow growth that first year or two, but things picked up and you needed an admin, so you hired one. It was “us against the world” – and it was terrifying, thrilling, and deeply satisfying.
Every day was an adventure; and what you couldn’t handle, your partner could. Things grew, and you took on an associate, and then another admin. But the workload kept growing, and it became a challenge to keep income outpacing the overhead – somehow it kept working.
Everything happened so fast.
Then there was another associate, and two more admins, and soon associates wanted to become partners. You got a lawyer to help you draft a partnership agreement. But everything was still collegial.
No one was anyone’s ‘boss’ – the very idea of ‘bosses’ was something you left behind. After all, you trusted each other and were all shooting for the same thing, right?
The practice grew and grew. Ad hoc agreements and relationships proliferated.
What to do?
Incredibly, partners who’d collaborated for years began to squabble and then ‘hate’ each other as money flowed in. Mutual trust began to erode, and there were rumblings of departures.
A ‘grapevine’ of gossip and rumor developed. A workplace that was once thriving and fun to be part of, grew stale and even toxic.
The progression I’ve just described, believe it or not, is typical for many professional service practices.
Growth solves problems and produces more.
But when the growth causes more problems than solutions, your practice needs help.
When I work with your group, we will focus on developing clear answers to these four questions:
- What is the current situation?
- What do you want your group to be?
- What is stopping you from getting there?
- What are you willing to contribute toward that end?
As your group works its way through these questions, a plan will emerge that is unique to your practice.
I am not in the business of supplying cookie-cutter solutions.
Clarity and productivity will increase as each partner, associate and admin defines his or her own position within the hierarchy and takes responsible ownership of it.
Squabbles recede and are replaced by collaboration. Leadership sets the tone for the working environment; tensions ease.
You are talking to each other across the board once again, not simply within your own group, or, worse, on the ‘grapevine.’
If you don’t like what’s going on, should you really wait another day?
If you’ve recognized any of the troubles common to professional practices in your own group and would like to take steps to confront them, give me a call.
I will arrange a free one-hour consultation with you and your partners to see how I can help.