OUR BLOG

LEADERSHIP

Do You Have A Leadership Team Or A Leadership Council?
Ten Traits Of Organizationally Healthy Professional Service Firms
To Grow Your Professional Service Firm, Prize Culture Over Strategy
TP35: The One Tipping Point Mid-Size Service Firms Must Address To Keep Growing
Seven Reasons Most Mid-Size Service Firms Don’t Grow Very Much
Five Reasons Mid-Size Service Firms Need A New Leadership Operating Model
How Leaders Can Address The Growth Tipping Point For Mid-Sized Service Firms
Five Reasons Professional Service Leaders Should Prize EQ Over IQ
Why Mid-Size Service Firm Leadership Teams Need Collective Objectives To Grow
How To Grow Your Mid-Sized Service Firm: Jealously Protect Your Focused Energy
Why Professional Service Firms Should Consider Circle Of Seven Mentoring Networks
How A Leader’s Energy Field Impacts Team Productivity
Don’t Trade Misery For Money: How Professional Service Firms Can Leverage The Great Resignation
Strong Personality Vs. Strong Person: The Makeup Of A Leadership Council
Custer Or Marshall: Why Mid-Size Service Firms Must Choose Their Leadership Model
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Define And Defend Your Values
If You Want To Grow Your Mid-Size Service Firm, Establish A Formal Leadership Council
Want To Grow Your Professional Service Firm? Focus On The One
If You Want To Grow Your Midsize Professional Service Firm, Align Your Leaders
Why Midsize Service Firm Leaders Must Think Like Entrepreneurs To Grow
How To Grow A Mid-Size Professional Service Firm Today
Why It's Important For Great Leaders To Tell Great Stories
How Great Leaders Persuade Using Word-Pictures
How The Say-Do Ratio Influences Trusted Advisor Status And Profits
Why Service Firm Leaders Should Nurture The Entrepreneurial Instincts Of Their Top People

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects

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DO YOU HAVE A LEADERSHIP TEAM OR A LEADERSHIP COUNCIL?

WHY YOU NEED A COUNCIL TO BREAKTHROUGH TO YOUR NEXT LEVEL

Every mid-sized professional service firm I’ve coached over the last 25 years had a leadership team. But very few had a leadership council. What’s the difference, you ask, between a leadership team and a leadership council? In a word—drive. Every leadership team I’ve ever worked with took responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the business. They kept the wheels on the bus.

But very few, maybe one out of ten, actually drove that bus. That’s the difference. A leadership team works in the business but a leadership council works on the business. A leadership team maintains the bus while a leadership council drives the bus. This is why you need a council, not a team. In fact, I believe leadership councils are so important that they could be the ultimate determinant of whether or not your firm breaks through to your next level.

How Leadership Teams Are Formed And What’s Expected Of Them

I want to say for the record that I’m not critiquing leadership teams. That would be unfair. I don’t believe it’s reasonable to hold people accountable for something they were never trained to do, didn’t sign on to do and may not have had all that much interest in doing in the first place. Most people who ascend to leadership teams expect to be in a maintenance role, not a driving role. Here are characteristics I commonly find amongst leadership teams at mid-size service firms, those with 25-100 staff:

  • Department heads become de facto leaders. This means that if you are responsible for a department, in most instances, you already qualify for the leadership team. Most department heads don’t turn down the opportunity.
  • No formal training in leadership. This is my singular observation about why leadership teams ultimately do not drive organizations forward. Of all the leadership teams I’ve worked with, only one out of about 100 persons had formal leadership training.
  • A desire to avoid, rather than take, risks. The overarching mindset of nearly every leadership team I’ve coached is risk avoidance. This mindset is a blockade to growth because to grow, you must take risks. It’s that simple.
  • Responsible for their departments, not the company. This is probably the single biggest problem with leadership teams—if you want to grow your business. When department heads make decisions with shadow motivations they don’t openly discuss, almost no one besides the CEO is taking a wholistic view of the business.
  • Unfamiliar with how to grow a business. After coaching more than 70 mid-sized service firms, I’ve become quite familiar with the kinds of people who end up on leadership teams. Almost no one, of the teams I’ve coached, had experience in growing a business.
  • Technical experts who are often unfamiliar with entrepreneurship. Most department heads ascend to these roles by being technically skilled in their area: finance, operations, sales, marketing, engineering, technology and the list goes on. But of the hundreds of people I’ve coached, only a handful had either been entrepreneurs themselves, grew up in an entrepreneurial family or understood how entrepreneurship works. 

How Is A Leadership Council Different?

If that’s the mindset of a leadership team, how is a leadership council different?

  • Mission. A leadership council has a singular mission—grow the business. While they want to be kept abreast of operations, their mission is to move the business forward. That is their only reason to exist as a body.
  • Focus. A leadership council consistently asks themselves this all-important question: what needs to happen right now to grow the business? They practice a sense of urgency to do the things that move the business forward.
  • Best Idea Wins. A leadership council cares about getting the best ideas on the table to grow the business. They don’t care who came up with the idea. They only care about the quality of the idea.
  • Meat-Grinder. A leadership council subjects every growth idea and opportunity to the meat grinder. This is about exposing the idea to scrutiny from every council member to understand its strengths and weaknesses. They play devil’s advocate to uncover weaknesses in bad ideas and to make good ideas even stronger, by reducing weaknesses. One of the hallmarks of an effective leadership council is that they don’t make bad decisions.
  • Practical. A leadership council is practical. They don’t just dream up ideas apart from the real world of limited budgets, overworked staff and time constraints. They recognize that moving a business forward, most of the time, is about the simple task of putting one foot in front of the other. They are far more doers than dreamers.
  • Company-First. A leadership council believes that the only win is a company win. They put the company ahead of everything else, including their department.
  • Anticipatory. While a leadership team knows what’s happening right now, a leadership council wants to know what will happen in the future. They are leaning into that future by anticipating what will come so they can leverage it.
  • Clarity. A leadership council produces clarity for the rest of the business. Most of the time, this clarity is about what needs to happen next, who needs to do it and how it can be measured to ensure it’s working. While they don’t go around telling people what to do, they make sure everyone is aware of who needs to do what and when.
  • Vote. A leadership council votes on ideas and most of the time, the will of the majority carries. While equity stakeholders and the CEO can override any decision from the council, they rarely do so—especially once the leadership council demonstrates their first big win.
  • Responsibility. A leadership council owns outcomes, good and bad. They don’t deflect blame when things go wrong. When things go right, they ask themselves why this particular idea worked out when so many others did not. In this way, they become a learning team.
  • Limited. Whereas a leadership team can have as many as 10-12 people, a leadership council is limited to 7 people. Why? Because everyone on the council is required to speak their mind and provide input. I’ve seen numerous leadership team meetings (with 10 or more people) where only one or two persons did most of the talking. Leadership council members are required to research, think and speak. It’s hard to give everyone a chance to speak unless team size is limited.
  • Qualification. A leadership council is a lot of fun to be on. People who get invited to the council know that they must perform to remain on the council. They do not automatically qualify to be on the team simply because they are a department head. This is an invitation-only group.

If your company has a leadership team today, how do the operations of that team compare to what I’ve described above? Could your firm benefit from transforming your leadership team into a leadership council?   

A Good Next Step

If you’d like to learn more about the differences between a leadership team and a leadership council, I have a great resource for you. I’ve written an eBook that goes into much greater detail about this topic, including what a leadership council actually does on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. There are a lot of insights in the eBook that could really help your organization. If you want to break through to your next level, I recommend that you register for and read the eBook.

About The Author

Randy Shattuck is a seasoned entrepreneur who works hand-in-hand with senior leaders of mid-size professional service firms to grow revenues, acquire clients, open new markets, increase profits and effectively position their brands.

OUR BLOG

LEADERSHIP

Do You Have A Leadership Team Or A Leadership Council?
Ten Traits Of Organizationally Healthy Professional Service Firms
To Grow Your Professional Service Firm, Prize Culture Over Strategy
TP35: The One Tipping Point Mid-Size Service Firms Must Address To Keep Growing
Seven Reasons Most Mid-Size Service Firms Don’t Grow Very Much
Five Reasons Mid-Size Service Firms Need A New Leadership Operating Model
How Leaders Can Address The Growth Tipping Point For Mid-Sized Service Firms
Five Reasons Professional Service Leaders Should Prize EQ Over IQ
Why Mid-Size Service Firm Leadership Teams Need Collective Objectives To Grow
How To Grow Your Mid-Sized Service Firm: Jealously Protect Your Focused Energy
Why Professional Service Firms Should Consider Circle Of Seven Mentoring Networks
How A Leader’s Energy Field Impacts Team Productivity
Don’t Trade Misery For Money: How Professional Service Firms Can Leverage The Great Resignation
Strong Personality Vs. Strong Person: The Makeup Of A Leadership Council
Custer Or Marshall: Why Mid-Size Service Firms Must Choose Their Leadership Model
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Define And Defend Your Values
If You Want To Grow Your Mid-Size Service Firm, Establish A Formal Leadership Council
Want To Grow Your Professional Service Firm? Focus On The One
If You Want To Grow Your Midsize Professional Service Firm, Align Your Leaders
Why Midsize Service Firm Leaders Must Think Like Entrepreneurs To Grow
How To Grow A Mid-Size Professional Service Firm Today
Why It's Important For Great Leaders To Tell Great Stories
How Great Leaders Persuade Using Word-Pictures
How The Say-Do Ratio Influences Trusted Advisor Status And Profits
Why Service Firm Leaders Should Nurture The Entrepreneurial Instincts Of Their Top People

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects