“You manage things; you lead people”

Grace Hopper, Admiral U.S. Navy

Part 2 of this book provides strategies for covering clients and building trust with your clients. As a leader in a professional services firm, you face completely different issues than you do in covering clients. In this section, I want to share with you some of the things I have learned about leadership.

I grew up in Wisconsin, where both of my grandfathers were dairy farmers. When you are a farmer, you manage a herd of cattle or a corn crop. Farmers earn money and are responsible stewards of the land. Running a successful dairy farm requires optimizing the available resources—land, livestock, labor, and capital. Said differently, cows and crops need to be managed. You need to tightly manage the farm in order to deliver goods and earn a living.

Business has changed a lot since my grandfathers ran their dairy farms, and professional services firms are very different from dairy farms. Today, we have employees who have high degrees of specialized expertise, education, and/or experience. Their work is based on their intellect in a business environment that is global, complex, and technology-driven.

The late management expert Peter Drucker was one of the first to recognize the importance of knowledge workers. He predicted that they would change the way businesses were structured. When dealing with the knowledge worker, “one does not ‘manage’ people,” Drucker wrote. “The task ...

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