In a previous post I described professionals who wanted to hire business developers instead of doing the hard work of getting business, themselves. These people don’t think like partners, because they want to abrogate the single most critical responsibility of an owner in hard times, making sure there is a flow of work to maintain the staff and pay the rent. *
Contrast these people to Cleo. A year or two away from being put up for partner, she already thinks like an owner. She established herself as a high potential employee when the economy was hot by doing excellent work in large quantities and mentoring junior professionals. She also built a small, but productive network that feeds her new business. A staff member at one name corporation goes out of her way to find Cleo opportunities at the company.
Last fall, as the cold hand of recession gripped her firm, Cleo asked to have much of her client work reassigned to others who were under-utilized, so that she could devote more time to finding new business. She has found it tougher going than she had expected and hasn’t generated as much revenue as she had hoped. Even so, she has increased her already substantial respect among some key partners. She thinks like one of them.
* Note: Business developers can be hugely valuable to a firm. Here I refer to a partner’s recommendation to hire one as a way to avoid revenue responsibility, himself.