April 12, 2021

You’re a Big 4 partner, and your firm is driving you nuts. You heard me: your firm is driving you insane.


Well done. You’ve made it. Partner at a Big 4. Sit back, relax, it’s plain sailing now.


Of course I’m joking..


I hear from partners all the time complaining about their firm and demands made on them as partners.


“Max, there’s so much administration. All these pointless checks, webcasts. New initiatives to roll out, etc.”


It goes on and on.


That’s how life is


It’s true. All Big 4 drive their partners nuts. They probably don’t do it on purpose but it’s the reality. And if you want to succeed you need to accept it.


The other day, I was talking to a Big 4 partner. What he said struck a chord with me.


“Certain things, I’ve just accepted. There are tons of compliance and risk management to deal with. The firm is political – but what firm is not, even that smaller one in which I started my career.”


I nodded in agreement. He kept going…


“The administrative tasks coming with the partner role are enormous. Also managing the practice group, ensuring project quality, all the marketing activities. Prioritisation becomes a constant challenge. There’s no capacity left for me as an individual to respond to all the demands of the firm. The more I do the more I feel disconnected to the rest of the firm.”


I remember feeling this way. That’s how I experienced it myself. And I struggled with it.


Make your Big 4 work for you


I loved being a partner. I worked hard to get there, and I loved my firm but they were driving me nuts.


Then I realised I had to find a way for it to work for me.


Henry Ford said, “Love it, leave it, or change it!”


For me, prioritising was key. My firm still drove me nuts but I managed it better.


You need to work out what you can love and what you can change about your role, because you don’t want to leave.


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