15 Proven Hints for Enhancing Communications Between a New Managing Partner and Other Partners

by Joel A. Rose

Below are several of Joel’s proven hints enhancing communications between a new managing partner and other partners within the firm.

  1. Position yourself as a leader who is eager to listen to the opinions of other partners.
  2. Build a working relationship with the departing Managing Partner
  3. Establish a constructive dialogue with key thought leaders and influential members of the firm.
  4. Delegate as much of the day-to-day administrative work as possible to the firm’s Administrator, Heads of offices, Heads of Practice Groups and seek the support of other members of the Executive Committee who may have experience with similar issues, as appropriate.
  5. Assisted by members of the Executive Committee, the Heads of each office and Practice Group, prepare goals and objectives for the firm, each Practice Group, office and partner.
  6. Take the time to schedule “warm and fuzzy” lunches with partners in each of the firm’s offices, as appropriate.
  7. Conduct at least annual management retreats for the Executive  Committee, heads of each office, and the heads of each Practice Group to develop and discuss strategies for progressing the firm.
  8. Make partners’ meetings as productive as possible. Circulate proposed agendas before the meeting; discuss critical topics with the more influential partners; ask partners for input about topics/issues to be discussed; broadcast the results of meeting to partners.
  9. E-mails are a very efficient way of communicating with partners. However, be very careful when attempting to solve problems by e-mail. Even the best solutions to problems may be misinterpreted when they are sent via e-mail. Depending upon the issue to be addressed, it may be much more effective for the Managing Partner to meet briefly and personally with the partner who has asked the question.
  10. Avoid being chained to your desk. Make the time to walk the halls of your office and make it a point to regularly visit each of the firm’s other offices. Ask partners:
    • What are the most promising and unexploited opportunities to enhance profitability and firm growth?
    • What are the festering problems that this firm has just not been able to deal with to your satisfaction?
    • Where would you focus your attention if you were me?
  11. During partners’ meetings, be mindful of the vocal minority who constantly “revisit” issues because they may not agree with the majority of the partners, thinking that if they belabor the point long enough, the former will wear-down the majority who may be willing to concede to the minority to end the discussion. Appropriate discussion with the more influential partners about initiatives, strategies and policy issues in advance of the meeting (where the subject will be discussed) will build support for the proposal.
  12. Always try to obtain critical partner “buy-in” before “going out on a limb about certain questionable initiatives. Do your best to never go into a meeting at which a new policy issue will be discussed without discussing these issues with certain partners prior to the meeting so that you will not be surprised by the outcome of the discussion.
  13. Pay attention to your own personal habits. Every move you make as the Managing Partner will be subject to discussion and interpretation by other partners. That includes how early you arrive at the office; how you relate to attorneys and staff in the hallway; how you allocate your time; whether your time is submitted in a timely manner; how you prepare and conduct yourself at all meetings of partners, associates and staff; how attentive you are to following up on your accounts receivables and write-downs and write-offs; how long it takes for you to respond to partners’ requests; etc.
  14. Attend occasional practice group meetings.
  15. Assisted by the Administrator and/or members of the Executive Committee, develop action plans to implement your recommended initiatives before promoting these initiative to the partners – to see if they are doable.
©1999-2017 Joel A. Rose & Associates