So you want to grow more and better partners? If you’re serious, then be prepared to invest partner time mentoring your senior high potential staff. Not the way most firms do it now, paying lip service to mentoring without real investment. Take a step back to rethink your approach. Then, design the right program for your firm, delivered in a way that will actively engage partners and proteges. A successful Mentoring program should be designed by the partners with the assistance of experienced facilitators.
Here are 6 steps to an impactful program:
1. Gain a broad consensus on the issue — through approaches such as interviewing, surveys and focus groups of both partner and managers.
2. Convene a Partner Task Force to design the mentoring program – establish tight scope and timelines with clear milestones, responsibilities and decision rights.
3. Present mentoring program recommendations to the Executive Committee – gain approval and commitments to sponsor the program.
4. Communicate program to partners in a forum that permits rich discussion — be prepared to have your top partners lead the way as champions and initial mentors.
5. Pilot test the new program – start small and test the program’s effectiveness, measuring progress at multiple interviews
6. Launch the program — move from pilot to rollout leveraging what you learned from the pilot.
The key is not doing too much too soon. Partners must play an active role in mentoring professionals on the path to partnership. It’s not realistic to expect a partner to mentor more than two people at a time, and even that number may be too large. So be selective.