Center for Leading Organizations

Areas of FocusWe provide guidance to professional services firms to help them achieve excellence in their operations and service delivery.

Professional services firms are often ambivalent about taking guidance from outside experts, even if they are competent and understand the business issues facing the firm. Rightly or wrongly, some firms insist on their advisors having the same credentials as they, lest their colleagues reject the message from those outside the profession.

We understand this reality. We bring to the table our years of experience in the practice of law, investment management, and running advising engagements, offices and firms.

Finding a Balance between Professional Work and Firm Management

Many firm leaders have long loved their work with clients, but are less interested in firm management. All too often, people ascend to firm leadership roles because they are successful in their practice, not because it’s their hearts' desire to relinquish it in favor of firm management roles.

This is a fundamental dilemma for most firms, and it is an obvious contributor to their more-than-occasional struggle with structural, cultural or even staff retention issues.

We deeply understand this, and try to bridge the gap by giving them the right tools, the right solutions, and the right support to run great firms yet not lose their connection to the profession.

Examples of Experience with Professional Services Firms

While our initial work in this area includes the bestseller The Trusted Advisor, which Robert Galford co-authored with David Maister and Charles Green, our offering has expanded in the intervening years to include the broader issues of firm management and firm leadership. Here are some examples of that work:

  • Working with the CEO of a global professional services firm on the structural (and succession) issues facing him and his firm. It includes frequent one-on-one and executive group sessions, crafting initiatives and messages, and orchestrating firm meetings.

  • Working with the leadership and the partners of a major law firm on building the requisite skills of practice group leaders and office managing partners, and conducting sessions with those leaders.

  • Redesigning the business development approach for one of the world’s leading investment management firms, and following through with the delivery of a skills development program worldwide.


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