The performance of your firm is truly dependent on the performance and interaction of the partner group. The partners set the tone, and drive the organization and it’s results. The problem is that we don’t give enough attention to improving partner performance and rewards.
Our partner menu includes compensation systems, goal setting and accountability, coaching, agreements including retirement provisions, and admission/departure processes. We can help you with any of these or all of them. Some firms choose to package our services in a review of all partner agreements, your compensation system and performance metrics. Following are more detailed descriptions of how we assist you in each of these crucial areas:
Partner Compensation Systems
Partner compensation is the topic of constant conversation and numerous how-to conferences. The real answer is that the right plan for you depends on your firm. No two comp plans are alike. You should be changing your comp plan as your firm changes and grows. The Adamson Advisory process is to help you assess your compensation plan and revise it, if needed and includes the following:
- Interviews with all partners individually and as a group.
- Understanding the history behind your current system.
- Balancing objective criteria with subjective judgment.
- Balancing salary/draw with bonus and how much is at risk.
- Balancing performance with history.
- Helping you decide the right performance criteria for your firm.
- Integration of firm goals into the process.
- Building in partner goals and accountability to the process.
- Comp plan for management.
- Assessment of open vs. closed system.
Partner Goal Setting and Accountability
This is one of the most critical parts of any partner performance and compensation system, yet it is missing in most firms. Matching partner goals to overall firms goals and creating a system to help each partner optimize their contribution to the success of the firm are the two keys to success. A process to improve individual partner performance will improve the overall results of the organization. See our related article, Five Tips to Make Your Partner Goal Setting More Effective.
We can help you:
- Match up partner goals with firm goals.
- Directly link achievement of goals to your compensation plan.
- Individualize goals to play on partner strengths.
- Separate hygiene (basic expectations of a partner) from goals.
- Build the process in your firm to include:
- Coaching by firm leadership or outside coach.
- Regularly scheduled meetings to review progress.
- Consider publishing partner goals inside the firm.
Adamson Advisory provides partner coaching to many of our clients. We will work with your entire partner group or select individuals. It is especially effective for new managing partners and newly admitted partners. Our process is built around bi-monthly telephone sessions. The benefits to your firm include:
- We hold you accountable and help you improve your game.
- We break the goals and expectations down to manageable two month segments – you’ll get more done.
- We have the MP experience to help your managing partner.
- Making the investment to bring us in from the outside elevates the process and helps assure that your partners play.
- Many managing partners are either just too busy or don’t have the skill set to get the job done – we can help.
Partner Agreements, Partner Admission, Partner Retirement
Most firms look at partner agreements even less frequently than their partner comp plan. The documents go in the file and rarely get any type of review. The result is that they don’t keep pace with changes in our firms or in the profession.
Adamson Advisory will help your firm work through a process to review your partner agreements. We will educate your partner group on current trends and help you address key issues such as mandatory retirement, client transition, firm value and retirement benefits. Take a look at our article, Do Your Partner Agreements Include These Five Key Provisions?
I want you to pull out your agreements, dust them off and read them. You might be surprised at what you see.
Do Your Partner Agreements Include These Five Key Provisions?
We understand the profession, partner relationships and common practices. We have the background and résumé to help you. If you find yourself in a difficult or antagonistic partner situation an outside perspective may be of great value. We will help you to work through the issue, come to a decision or resolution and assist with the discussion/communication.
If done well, partner goal setting will raise the bar for each partner which in turn will raise the bar for the firm. Here are a few ideas to really ramp up your process for better results.