It’s been a year like no other for Professional Service Firm Leaders. Managing industry and client disruption, reinventing service offerings, collaborating with teams in a completely transformed virtual work environment and in some cases, taking difficult decisions to ensure the long-term sustainability of practice areas. Amid continued uncertainty, how do you as Practice Area Leader now go about resetting an ambitious vision for growth in 2021 and then inspiring and engaging your team to deliver it?
Looking back to move forward
Have you taken a long hard look in the rear view mirror of 2020 yet? Which markets, clients and practice or service areas did better than expected? Do you fully understand the areas of poor performance? Where have you innovated best in response to client challenges and what have you and your team learned from this? Which client accounts were the most profitable and which were the least profitable? Do you really understand the highs and lows of the year from your team’s perspective; what have you changed for the better and what still needs more work? A thorough understanding of current performance will best position you to build a plan for future success.
In planning for 2021, the first critical focus needs to be getting super clear on your growth strategy.
Creating an environment for success
Creating and evolving a growth-focused culture is key for success.
Shifting gears by managing the right metrics
When it comes to professional service firms, the easy-to-track fall-back metrics tend to be chargeable hours and revenue billed rather than more commercially-focused metrics like client satisfaction, cross line of service account growth, account profitability and referrals.
From a people perspective, traditional metrics tend to focus on people engagement (annual) and retention. Rather than these very broad metrics covering wide populations, start with looking at engagement levels for your top performers and their intention to stay. Equally when it comes to performance, many firms tend to shy away from more transformative incentivisation plans and from dealing with poor performance promptly. Is your performance scorecard commercially measureable? And does it genuinely inspire and empower the performance you are looking for from your people..
As Jack Ma tells us, “success and profitability are outcomes of focusing on customers and employees, not objectives”. To explore how to consistently drive growth across your firm or practice area in 2021, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. ‘The Customer’ is focused on coaching, training and advising ambitious professional service practice leaders and partners to drive profitable revenue, value-focused client relationships and high-performing teams.
Photo credit: Joanna Kosinska