As the saying goes: “it’s lonely at the top.” Nowhere is this truer that for the managing partner of a regional accounting & advisory firm. Surrounded by talented partners who have a personal stake in every decision made, the managing partner needs a place to get objective help, understand the competitive landscape and show his personal feelings, including vulnerability. Working with a coach creates this place.
As leaders, managing partners are faced with the challenge of guiding the firm to a successful future. To survive, the firm needs to grow and sustain profitability. Daily, they navigate the tension between driving organic growth and growing by acquisition. The first path depends on more focused partner execution. The second stretches management capacity and risks control and cultural consistency.
They also struggle with the disparity between partners’ abilities, and the weakening abilities of some older partners who have contributed to the firm for years. And, they regularly deal with the difficulty of getting partners to retire when scheduled and managing the cost of their pensions. In the background is the question: are we better off being acquired in an upstream merger or, more precisely, if that is the only way to survive, should we do it now when we are in a position to negotiate the best deal?
It’s also a role requiring constant balancing among competing priorities such as rewarding merit vs. tenure, making leadership changes or keeping peace, demanding more of staff or helping them with work/life balance, and focusing more on growth or profitability. Getting the help of an experienced coach can help the managing partner make the right decisions.