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Growing and growing up

Growing and growing up

Growth represents a perpetual preoccupation for leaders of professional service firms. Grow too slow and you risk losing staff to the competition – grow too fast and you risk destroying the things that made your firm so good in the first place.  

For the leaders who seek my advisory services, this latter problem – exponential growth – is usually their particular preoccupation. They share a deep down fear with their colleagues that, just when they are at their most successful, they risk destroying the source of their success.

This is one of the reasons why professional service firms are so susceptible to boom and bust. Read more here

The model I have developed through my research shows how professional service firms grow through multiple stages of evolution and “revolution” (I have adapted Greiner’s generic life stages model).  I demonstrate how, each crisis represents, not simply a stumbling block but an opportunity for transformation.

In my model, detailed in Chapter 8 of my book, Leading Professionals: Power, Politics, and Prima Donnas” I’ve identified five key stages, each accompanied by its own set of crises. It’s a roadmap that illuminates the path ahead, helping leaders to anticipate and navigate these critical transitions effectively.

Ultimately the model is not just about growing and maturing as an organization, but about what happens to power during that process – how it shifts, consolidates, and shapes the trajectory of the organization. From the founder-focused beginnings, through the clumsy collegiality of mid-sized partnerships, to the emergence of corporate structures, understanding these power dynamics is essential for achieving sustainable growth.

In my keynote speeches and advisory consultations, I help professionals harness the momentum for growth, by learning how to push through the crises effectively to achieve sustained growth over the long-term.

To illustrate my point about stages of growth, I often draw parallels with adolescence, a phase we've all successfully navigated. Watch the concluding remarks from a recent keynote to see how I use this analogy. 

To enquire about a potential speaking engagement or advisory project, please get in touch.

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