I remember it to this day.
The country lead partner explained to me why he was not volunteering to provide the partner in another country (and profit center!) with any pitch support:
“Sending materials over? Methodologies, references, we’ve developed on our nickel? You gotta be joking, Max!
This would be like Mozart sending his newest composition over for someone else to play and then praying that the audience would be delighted – without Mozart seeing a penny.
If I send something over, my team needs to be leading the pitch!”
Having spent my formative years at a so-called one-firm firm, I was initially taken aback. After all, my previous firm let partners co-operate globally. For the good of the clients.
What about helping each other?
Given the Law of Reciprocity, isn’t giving something of value to others the right thing to do? Because it will pay back eventually? Well, I had to learn.
People don’t always do the on-the-surface-right thing. They do what they’re evaluated on.
They do what allows them to reach their goals codified in their individual scorecards. And if the ultimate goal is to further their country’s P&L, that’s what they’ll do. And that’s despite all the “we’re acting as one firm” talk by the higher-ups somewhere.
You may like it, you may detest it. It doesn’t matter. You need to accept the reality of life in your firm. You can daydream about how things should be and get nowhere or you can accept the situation and keep moving.
Because if you don’t become realistic and accept the normative ‘powers of the factual’, you may find yourself at the short end of the stick.
Work together for your client!
Once you’ve become realistic, it’s about having that clear and open talk with your partner. It’s about how can we best serve the client AND together and individually come out ahead.
It’s about working with other partners to focus on the client’s cause. Find productive solutions for the situation you’re in: Arbitration, compromise, refining and sharing of assets.
When you and your partners refocus on your client, together you develop a masterpiece – pitch – to share, like Mozart, and that’s when you get the results.