As you know my focus is very much on helping ambitious professionals and ambitious professional firms. I’ve been asked whether I can define such a firm. Dare I say it’s a bit like a meteor – easy to recognise but not so easy to describe in detail.
My dictionary defines ‘ambition’ as a strong desire to do or to achieve something; and as a desire for success.
Success of course means different things to different people. In the same way the partners in different ambitious firms may well aspire to different achievements. I have encountered a wide range of professional service firms over the years and the more successful ones invariably ascribe their success to different factors.
Having said that I would also note that there are a number of generally accepted characteristics of successful professional firms:
· Profits in excess of £100k per partner (sometimes considerably more)
· Consistent double-digit annual growth
· Dynamic inspirational leadership
· A defined firm culture
· A positive attitude to risk
· Consistent cross-selling
· Actively selling non-compliance services
· Increasing the proportion of fees that come from non-compliance services
· A structure that allows leaders to lead
· Clear investment strategy for the future
· Appropriate planning procedures and systems
· Lower than average staff turnover figures
· Increasing use of technology across the organisation
· Client portfolios that remain with the firm when partners leave/retire
· …. And a genuine enthusiasm for what they do
If you’re an ambitious professional you may want to take a moment to consider how your firm measures up.
Of course no one firm will consistently demonstrate all of these characteristics and in other firms there may be good reasons for choosing not to pursue all of them.
If you harbour ambitious dreams though you will want (or ‘desire’) to do things so as to make those dreams come true. That means taking active steps in the right direction. And that requires that you know where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.