The following five leadership practices, when consistently aligned with your firm's culture and values, create a platform for greatness:
1. Envision the Future. Successful firms learn from the past, act in the present and plan for the future. Your firm undoubtedly includes people who advocate for each of these time perspectives. As the leader, it's your job to envision the future and bring it into reality with strategic planning built on lessons from the past and excellence in the present. Your firm will excel when everyone is informed and motivated by a shared vision.
2. Model the Vision. You are by definition a role model and an important part of your job is to embody the vision, values and character of your firm. You will increase your influence if you remain visible and accessible by keeping your door open when possible and walking your office halls often. When you are highly visible, literally and, when necessary, virtually, and model the behavior you expect, you will provide consistent direction and inspiration to those around you.
3. Provide Structure. Your job, and that of your firm's leadership team, is to provide structure, support and relative security so that others can focus on doing their jobs well. Appropriate structure assures, to the degree possible, the firm's financial strength and longevity. It expands the opportunity for creative thinking and problem-solving by minimizing chaos, uncertainty and unnecessary redundancy.
4. Hire and Develop Talent. Your firm will benefit now and in the future if you establish and sustain a commitment to hiring and developing great talent.
- Hiring the best. This might or might not mean hiring 'the top of the class.' It does mean hiring people who fit the culture and values of your firm and have the skills, knowledge and talent you require. Hiring for fit does not mean hiring for homogeneity. It does require aligning your recruiting and hiring efforts with your firm's culture and values. It requires behavioral questioning and careful listening during the interview process, rather than heavy, even singular, reliance on GPA and class standing.
- Bringing out the best. You have the opportunity and responsibility to continuously develop the talent on your team through mentoring, coaching and training. Not only will you increase the capabilities of your firm, you will also increase employees' productivity, satisfaction and retention, all of which translate to increased stability and profitability. Circling back to 'model the vision' above, one of the many ways you can promote professional development is to visibly continue your own.