How can you know they’re serious when they tell you they want you to lead?

Video Transcript: They say they want leadership

Maybe you’re an ambitious professional who hears upper management talk about how they want to grow the practice. You want to be part of the effort, obviously. So, you keep looking for signals that the commitment is genuine. Watch out that you don’t get stuck in a trap called “fire give me some heat, then I’ll give you some wood.”

Hi, I’m John Borrowman. I have recruited exclusively in business valuation and litigation support for over two decades. That gives me a perspective you won’t find just anywhere else.

This scenario can happen anywhere. But it tends to come up more often inside CPA firms where no single Partner is devoted to business valuation and litigation support full-time, but where aggregate revenue supports at least one full-time professional person. Partners seem serious about expanding the practice but, for one reason or another, don’t step away from tax and audit clientele.

And you’re left wondering whether those flickers will ever turn into flames and whether there’s any future for you there. Why not try a different approach?

Make your interest known. Any time the subject of growing revenue enters the discussion, make it clear you’re ready to do your part to make it happen. Don’t expect anyone to read your mind. It could be that this is all management needs to hear.

Put some plans on paper. Plans don’t have to be detailed, but they do need to be plans and not merely ideas. What are the referral source contacts you could reach out to? Articles you could write? Presentations you could make? Shoot for something at least once a month over six—and ideally twelve—months.

Be tactical in your timing. Year-end planning or annual performance reviews are good springboards into a conversation about the part you’d like to play in practice growth. If either opportunity is more than two months away, find an alternative. Don’t wait. Even though you might have details ready, you can start by asking if there’s an interest in your “putting some ideas down on paper.” If so, ask for another meeting in a couple weeks to review the ideas.

Be patient. Partners may want to “think about it” for awhile. That’s okay. Ask for a time to sit down and hear their reaction. Your objective is forward movement. Even if your plans are tweaked, it can still be a win.

Sooner or later you will see whether there is movement, or whether things are stalled. If nothing is happening at six months, it’s time to repeat your interest and ask which of your plans you could get started on. At the nine-month mark with little or no result, you probably have your answer. And the story of how your initiative was rebuffed will be useful when you talk to potential employers.

Don’t wait for the fire. Add your own wood.

Everybody has questions, every now and then. Am I in the right place? Am I being paid fairly? When you have questions, I can help you find answers. Give me a call.