My services include:
Firms of the Future
"Firms of the Future do not copy their competitors. They differentiate, focus on next practices & price accordingly."
The traditional professional firm business model largely operates by leveraging people x time x hourly rate. For most professionals, this model has worked, but it is, I believe past its use by date and is a suboptimal way to run a business, being increasingly unacceptable to many in the professions and their clients. This business model is deteriorating as many of our organisational and management structures-‐ modelled on the industrial age, command and control paradigm-‐are no longer appropriate, nor acceptable in the 21st century.
Value Based Pricing
Pricing has the greatest effect on your firms profit. Nothing else comes close-except perhaps having the right client selection. Reducing your fixed or variable expenses, increasing your turnover-all which might be good- will still not effect your profit as much as your pricing does.
For far too long the professions have believed they sell their time (in 6 minute increments) but your clients do not buy your time so you have to stop selling something your clients don't buy.
As a practicing lawyer I was well placed to experience first hand both the benefits but mainly the drawbacks of the professions pricing their services solely by reference to time. For over a decade now I have been main irritant to the professions in Australia urging firms to not only stop billing their services by time but also to burn their timesheets. I work with professional firms (and their clients) assisting them with both a mindset change, and the practical implementation of moving towards value based pricing to become Firms of the Future instead of firms of the past.
Firm & Group Strategy Development
I can help you discover or rediscover your individual or your firms purpose to allow you to set your vision and align your business strategies. Without a shared vision, no organisation can expect to formulate -let alone implement- effective strategies for its future direction and growth.
Firm Reviews - A 'health' check
Clients, and team members alike, will often shy away from directly voicing their honest opinions due to relationships within the firm, their level of engagement, a lack of trust or concerns (either imagined or the result of past experience) over possible consequences. Without the opportunity to communicate and address issues that might be affecting them, dissatisfied clients or unhappy team members often consider their only alternative -which is sadly often taken– is to leave.
I regularly undertakes reviews of a firms internal and external health and business strategies which often includes meeting with a firms key internal personnel and their key clients.
My understanding approach, ability to ensure opinions remain confidential and his independence from a firm means stakeholders feel they are able to trust me with their honest thoughts and opinions, more so than they could by confiding in someone internally or by filling in a survey.
Using my experiences within multiple industries, as both a consultant and professional, I assess a firm’s culture and the relationships within the firm, between its various levels and externally with it’s clients, and make recommendations as to how a firm might implement changes that will improve them.
Client Selection & Strategy
Who do you say ‘no’ to?
Many professionals adopt a “I have never met a billable hour I don’t like yet” approach, and consequently they work for clients that are not good for the firm- and in many cases, the firm is not good for these clients. Some clients can have a negative impact on a firm’s reputation, team and/or a firm’s bottom line.
The better firms realise that all clients are not the same. They have client selection criteria and focus their attention on clients they want; clients who value them and that the firm can add value to. They have the courage to say ‘no’ to work they don’t want.
I assist professional firms define their service offering and core competencies, develop client selection/deselection criteria and analyse how they can best meet the needs of both their existing and the potential clients they desire.
Retreat Facilitation & Group Presentations
I regularly facilitate and present at retreats and conferences for a variety of professional firms and industry bodies. Whether it be for partners, practice groups or firm wide, I will work with you as an interactive facilitator to deliver your objectives.
I take the time to understand your industry and firm specific issues, and tailor my presentations to ensure you are presented with challenging and thought provoking ideas and solutions.
Partner Performance & Compensation
How partners are “fairly” compensated financially is an important consideration for any firm’s well being and culture.
In today’s competitive environment the pressure to perform is significant and seemingly relentless- especially if you are a Partner or owner of a firm. Dealing with both underperforming and overperforming Partners can be a nightmare in some firms, particularly if there is no ability to address it in a timely & objective way.
I have several years of experience in advising on Partner performance and compensation structures. I work with firms to assist them define partner performance standards and will help you select a partner compensation model that is best for your firm, whether it be an equal profit share, a stepped model or one of the myriad of other hybrid compensation models available.
As an independent and objective advisor, my expertise is also used by some firms to facilitate or chair Remuneration Committee meetings and assist in the conduct their Partner performance reviews.
Business Models & Governance Structures
We are fortunate, especially in Australia, to live in an environment and in times where there are so many options available to firms as to how they can structure, govern and manage themselves.
I have advised firms on the range of alternative business models available to them and assisted in the selection and transition to a model which is better able to deliver effective outcomes to their stakeholders.
The traditional partnership model is no longer the only choice and in many respects this business model is outdated and irrelevant to serve even the current – let alone the future – needs of many firms. The management and governance structure of a firm is it's backbone and it is vital that your firms structure enables effective business performance and is helping, rather than hindering, the achievement of the firm’s goals.
In reality, every firm’s structure is different, however all structures have some common essential elements including:
- Partner’s relationships with their team members and with each other;
- the provision of career paths and opportunities for progression;
- accountability and decision making processes;
- change management and;
- the process through which a firm develops and maintains its intellectual capital.
I help firms identify elements of their current management and governance structures which might be interfering with performance and recommends solutions or alternatives which will enable the firm to better achieve their long and short term goals.
Coaching, Mentoring & Personal Development
My experience as a Partner and leader means I both understands the life of a professional and the challenges and opportunities they face. I undertake one on one coaching and mentoring roles for a number of professionals including CEO’s, Managing Partners, Partners & Senior Associates.
Often acting as a sounding board and advisor, I believe I am able to bring an objective perspective to issues and challenges, and guide people towards the best solutions.
In house future leaders program
Succession is one of the greatest challenges facing professional firms today and the war for talent is getting harder and harder. The better firms now put an incredible amount of work intotrying to develop their internal talent.
Although many Senior Associates & Managers aspire to become Partners or a business owner one day, there is often a lack of knowledge on their part about what actually makes someone who maybe technically very good, an effective Partner.
I work with senior professionals to help them understand what they need to do to differentiate themselves from their peers and to ensure that they are leaders of the firm tomorrow.
By taking the time to understand the firm’s strategy and the particular needs of the group, I am able to tailor a program that is relevant, meets the firm’s objectives and is also interactive, challenging and engaging.
I have conducted Future Leaders retreats, extended programs, regular one-on-one coaching, group mentoring sessions for many professional firms. Whilst tailored to suit the firm and its particular circumstancesthese programs have included topics such as:
- Leading effectively
- People management
- Profit drivers and financial hygiene
- Client relationship skills
- Value creation - understanding what clients want
- Pricing with confidence
- Maximising business development potential