Looking beyond the obvious when preparing for partner retirement

Did you know I put CSR on the shelf for 3 years and worked for a Catholic order of priests? I was tasked with putting together and then running their 3,000+ person North American operations – it was a lot.

During that time, I came in breathing fire and efficiency – I was all that and a bag of chips.

If I couldn’t map it out on an X and Y scale, I struggled to understand why the heck we should be allowing something to occur – there is a LOT more to this story, but the main point was this:

There is more to life than just what is on an X/Y scale.

As one of the priests wisely told me, don’t forget about the Z-axis!

For them, that meant that obvious decisions could be trumped by supernatural considerations – yes, it makes sense to shut down a particular apostolate/ministry, except for the fact that it wasn’t designed so much to make money as it was to impact souls.

Or, yes, owning a plot of property in X place made no sense…except for the fact that there was no religious presence there so somebody had to be there.

My blog topic is about “Preparing for the retirement of a partner-- Replacing revenue through merger and/or recruiting”

What the heck could this have to do with what I wrote above?

I’ll tell you what – the Z-axis.

Yes, it’s true, that if you fail to plan you plan to fail.

Yes, it’s true that when a partner is going to leave a law firm, medical practice, engineering firm (you get the point), that there is a need to map out that revenue that has historically been generated by that person and ensure that it’s going to be replaced by either adding more bodies by a merger or amping up the recruitment engine.

But there’s more.

There’s the Z-axis for professional service providers which has to do with their Mission/Vision/Value, Statement of Strategic Purpose, Organizational DNA – whatever you want to call it.

Why were these clients faithful to the partner? What was different and special about that partner that made the clients grateful for the service they received, that made them actually happy to pay the bill?

Understand your firm’s Z axis and whatever you end up doing in the succession planning exercise will be successful.

Forget it or ignore it and lose a little of what makes your practice different and attractive.

Learn more about Alex.