“Managing for results starts at the top of the organization.”
—August J. Aquila
Any time we experience a high-performance culture, we generally see a strong leader (or leaders) at the helm. As mentioned in chapter 2, “Superior Performance Comes From Alignment” (table 2-2), nine performance variables must be managed. Three are at the organizational (firm) level, three are at the process level, and three are at the performer (individual) level. The more these nine variables are aligned, the more individual performers will work at a superior level and reach their potential.
Although all nine variables and all three levels of performance (organization, process, and performer) are important, peak performance starts at the top (with the senior leaders) of the organization level, guiding organization goals and vision, design, and management. From there, process and individual performance must flow. In this chapter, we discuss what successful managing owners do to effectively lead the firm. We share with you a new leadership model and then explore four key aspects of leadership—direction, execution, commitment, and personal example—all within the context of the firm.
In our 30-year association with hundreds of professional service firms, each has seen the number, scale, and complexity of their challenges increase significantly. Serving as managing owner, never the easiest of roles, is now one of the most complex and challenging ...