Seven Surprises for New Partners – the role of a partner might not be what you think it is it is.

Original feature article in HBRThe following text is adapted from an article by Michael Porter and colleagues in the Harvard Business Review in October 2004. He wrote about CEO’s as leaders in a corporate world.

I’ve taken his messages and applied them to a professional firm today. The messages seem just as relevant to partners in modern law firms. See what you think?

1. You can’t run the firm – they’ll be so much to do, you have to let go of responsibilities and delegate to others and then monitor and make decisions – your role shifts from having direct influence to getting things done through others.

2. Giving orders is very costly – a pushy style tends to encourage pushback

3. It becomes hard to know what’s really going on – relationships change upon appointment and you’ll drown in information, though informal channels of communication disappear. You become one of them!

4. You are always sending a message – your words and actions get heard and seen by many and are amplified

5. As a new partner don’t think that you are the boss – the governance of law firms is simple though subtle – you report to the head of the practice group and then the Board who report in turn to the partners.

6. Managing the firm is not about pleasing the partners. That is not the goal – such actions might not be in the firm’s interests. Be prepared for your fellow partners to be uncomfortable and challenge your ideas.

7. Even though you are now a partner, you are still only human – resist the illusions of self-importance, omnipotence and omniscience and try to keep a connection with the world outside the business. It’ll keep you grounded and sane.

Do these messages seem relevant to you?

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