Just as every person has a unique personality, every business has a unique culture. While possessing a distinct culture is a great way to separate your business from the pack, our clients don’t often talk about how to change, improve or grow their unique culture. When I speak with partners about growing their firms, the conversation almost always goes to bringing in more business. And while I don’t disagree that bringing in more business is a key component to growth, I often have to step back and ask why a problem exists in the first place. What I’ve learned is that many times firms hit a wall because they haven’t established a culture of growth. If you are only expected to work hard, meet your billable hours and obtain continuing education you will miss a vital step. Sometimes firms tell their younger staff that they need to network and build business and in rare cases, firms might even have this written down. However, what I find is that many firms don’t give their people enough time, or more importantly, opportunities to develop the skills they will need to be a rainmaker and thought leader in their firm.
Building a culture of growth needs to start long before associates become partners and even longer before they step away from being a partner. The most successful firms I know start early and with a few important components.
- Expect participation in growth activities. Building a culture of growth will mean that firm leaders need to set the expectation that growth activities are important and provide their team with the tools, resources, training and mentoring to develop the skills appropriate for each level. While employees always have a choice in what they do, the firm should make it very clear that associates cannot progress to the partner level without these skills. This expectation manifests differently in every organization, however, the best-of-the-best firms incorporate growth activities into their performance metrics and job descriptions.
- Train early. When building a growth culture, you can’t assume people will simply pick up the skills by osmosis. Firms that have a culture of growth train their people and provide them with the tools and resources they need to succeed.
- Reward the right behaviors at the right level. Firms with a focus on growth have realistic expectations. They don’t expect a young staff person to bring in 50K a year, however, they do want them engaged in the right behaviors and activities, and they reward them for it. As individuals progress, the expectations should change appropriately for the position and level – a firm should never lower these standards.
Firms with a real growth culture don’t just have 1 or 2 rainmakers contributing to growth. They have a high-functioning firm with lots of contributors to growth. These firms also have natural successors in place.
Building a growth culture doesn’t happen overnight. It is a commitment that takes time and intention. If you are looking to grow your firm’s growth culture and aren’t sure where to begin, call us at 1-888-491-9330 or email us at at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put it into practice & start building a culture of growth with The Rainmaker Development Program®
If you are looking to grow the next generation of rainmakers or have individuals who need to improve on business development, consider the Rainmaker Development Program (RDP) created by Convergence Coaching, LLC. Inovautus Consulting is now offering this virtual training program that teaches participants critical business development and marketing concepts.