CHAPTER 11Adding Owners: The Firm's Perspective

For any firm, adding new owners is a big deal. It should be treated as such and celebrated for what it is: a clear sign of success—for the business as well as the individual. When a firm adds new owners, it means that it is growing and thriving. Owners are highly capable professionals who contribute to the firm's success, and they provide a stable foundation for future growth. New owners should add to that stability by increasing the depth of the firm's ownership.

A governance model that sets partnership as a high bar is preferable to one in which such a promotion is easy. When everyone is a partner, the role is no longer special. A sequence of half‐hearted promotions and low criteria for advancement undermine any title, and a string of advances like that make the ultimate role of ownership seem ordinary. Professionals who follow such a smoothened ordinary path are rarely motivated to make an emotional commitment to the role.

No one wears his T‐shirt from the 5K race he finished, but everyone keeps forever their marathon shirt (some people have too many).There is no reason to award a medal simply for participation. If ownership is given to all professionals who participate in the firm for a number of years, it loses its specialness. When the partner title is diluted, people do not consider it to be a significant achievement. Earning partnership is important, so it should be difficult to achieve and those who demonstrate dedication ...

Get G2: Building the Next Generation now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.