Leadership In Professional Service Firms

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A summary of our whitepaper on leadership in professional service firms

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Leadership In Professional Service Firms

  1. 1. “ Leadership in Professional Service Firms”
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ Leadership is almost the single most important factor for any firm. Good or great leadership makes all the difference – ask any partner in a firm which is off pace and it is likely that leadership is the root cause”. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why are PSFs unique? <ul><li>Rely heavily on the knowledge and skills of their employees </li></ul><ul><li>Many assets are intangible e.g. reputation, loyalty, capability </li></ul><ul><li>Constant focus on client satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>Professionals enjoy and expect autonomy </li></ul>
  4. 5. Key challenges PSF’s are facing <ul><li>Increasingly cost-conscious clients </li></ul><ul><li>A competitive recruitment market </li></ul><ul><li>Larger and more complex organisational structures as a result of growth, mergers and acquisitions </li></ul><ul><li>Danger of focussing too much on short-term fixes </li></ul>
  5. 6. Management versus leadership <ul><li>Historically greater emphasis on management </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership is essential for driving longer-term change </li></ul><ul><li>PSFs guilty of ‘underdelegation’ </li></ul>“ My research shows that, for the typical professional service firm, the firmwide average (for underdelegation) is frequently as high as 40 or 50 percent, and sometimes more… Obviously this is not a wonderful situation.” (Maister, D. 2003 p41-42)
  6. 7. Leading professionals <ul><li>little power or authority by virtue of position alone </li></ul><ul><li>professionals often unenthusiastic about being managed </li></ul><ul><li>tension between fee-earning and non fee-earning activities </li></ul><ul><li>reliant on third party feedback for performance management </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>“ excellent professionals do not necessarily make excellent leaders” </li></ul><ul><li>Delong (2008) </li></ul>
  8. 9. Lessons for the future <ul><li>Set and communicate the direction </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge the importance of leadership within the firm </li></ul><ul><li>Lead by example </li></ul>
  9. 10. As Damien O’Brien (2009) states “ Great companies will stand out from the good by their ability to attract, retain and develop key people”.
  10. 11. For a free copy of the whitepaper contact us at [email_address] and put PSF in the subject line

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