January 29, 2021

New to a role, one of the biggest challenges is not to continue doing what you’ve always been doing.


And for a partner, it’s no different.


Make no mistake. “What’s got you here won’t get you there!”


Here are the 3 steps you should take to ensure that you deliver the goods your firm expects from you.


To this day, it’s ringing in my ears. “Making partner is easy, Max! Staying partner is the challenge!”


Yes, that’s what I heard. And, frankly, I never believed it.  I always thought that’s “staying partner being tough” was a typical senior partner tale. But I learned. 


“Staying partner” is tough!


Because as someone new to a role, what you need to do now has to be different, different from what you’ve been doing on your way up. And it applies to partners as well. 


But often it’s like this: Great analysts keep analyzing. Super project leaders keep focusing on delivery. Top-notch subject-matter experts keep working at their expertise.


And, by golly, nothing will stop them or you. It gives you the kicks!


Because you feel r-e-a-l  c-o-m-f-y doing it.


Also, in your head is that little voice: “It’s what’s made me successful. I excelled in doing it. Must stay with it. It’s served me well!” 


But hold it! Let’s step back. Is that the expectation of the people who put you in your new role?


With the new role, there comes a set of new expectations


Frankly, they don’t know how you’ll perform. They think you possess certain qualities that make it likely, but, hey, there are no guarantees in life. The proof is in the pudding. 


They all hope for the best, watch you, and wish you luck.


They watch expecting you to be doing the right things, things that match the specs of your new role. Delivering the goods – and more!


The major thing for you to realize:  “What’s got you here won’t get you there!”


So, to deliver the goods, you need to start managing expectations and become accountable quickly. And don’t wait for your firm’s official review at the year-end!


Waste no time and involve your stakeholders


How to go about it? 


I recommend you involving 2 or 3 of your immediate stakeholders:


  1. Check-in with them and ask, “If you were in my shoes right now, what would you focus on? And what would you stay away from?”
  2. Listen and clarify, then pop the next question, “And how would you go about it?”
  3. Take note and then ask your final question, “Would you be ok with me coming back in a few weeks to get additional input from you? Perhaps even review some results?”


And then you go away and put your plan in place, laying out your objectives, key results, and activities to achieve them.


And you stay accountable to yourself and your stakeholders.


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