September 27, 2021

Are you ruthless enough to be partner? You have to ask yourself this question. And be honest. Yes, you heard me. To be successful partner you need to be somewhat ruthless.


You struggle just thinking about it. But it’s absolutely necessary or you will be letting everyone else down.


“But Max, I can’t be ruthless. No one will like me!”


I totally get it. It was the same for me. We all are supposed to be nice, aren’t we?


And that’s why many partners shy away.


Be ruthless not rude


You gotta be direct.


I tell you – you don’t have to be rude but you gotta be truthful with those around you.


Over the years, I have seen careers fast-tracking and stalling. Fast-tracking – great! Stalling, not so much.


Team members don’t know what everyone around them sees: they will never make the next step. Lots of reasons, and different for everyone (hey, we can’t all run a sub-4 mile right) but you need to tell them.


As a partner, if you don’t provide the right steer, you’re breaking the implicit contract between the firm and its talent.


Yes, those higher up may get their feathers ruffled. Yes, I know the group is highly utilized right now. Best to keep quiet and charge him or her out for a few months more. Pure profit! Right?


Stop the excuses


And the firm wants to appear nice, non-threatening. And you don’t want to be the bad person And now is not a good time to be truthful.


No harm done. So many excuses!


It is never a good time!


But you need to tell people if it’s not working for the firm and them. Give them a chance to refocus and step up, or move on. So they don’t waste their lifetime at your firm.


Later they may see you were the good guy.


And your team and firm will thank you because everyone is now better off.



Want to find out where you are at with your partner powers? And get some tips on getting there? Perhaps my PartnerPowers Scorecard is for you. It will take you 2 minutes to find out where you stand with the market, your team, as a leader.

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