Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Mine Versus Ours

Building a book of business is hard work. Most attorneys and accountants are paid, based primarily on their ability to bring in revenue through billings. Because of this some partners become incredibly good at building barriers between their client relationships and their firm… meaning, “The relationship and business is mine.”

Does this help to grow a firm? Not really. It certainly helps a particular partner to increase his/her stake in the partnership, but it also creates an imbalance in the culture of the firm. I’ve spoken with a lot of firms and often hear the comment, “Pretty much everyone is on-board with the firms efforts except Mr. Rainmaker. He doesn’t see any need to be involved.” Sometimes there are two or three rainmakers that have chosen their own direction and are openly indifferent to firm-wide initiatives.

It’s not a good way to allow a business to run. Is it right for one or more people that can hold a firm hostage by claiming customers as their own? A sales representative would never be allowed such control of a company’s livelihood, but when the sales representative is also an owner… Bit of a sticky wicket, eh?

Over the next few months I am giving this subject a lot of thought. How can a firm create a culture where partners see clients as firm assets, not individual claims? If you have thoughts on this please add a comment or send me an email. I’ll share what I figure out as I stumble along.