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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
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?
Most Leads Are Not Ready To Engage – But They Will Be

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
Can Service Pros Over 40 Succeed In Digital?
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
A New Website Won’t Bring You New Clients
Do You “Get” Digital Marketing? – Part 2
Do You Get Digital Marketing?
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Lead Nurturing Versus Content Marketing
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Make Your Website A New Client Driver
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
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?

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IF YOU WANT TO GROW YOUR MID-SIZE SERVICE FIRM, ESTABLISH A FORMAL LEADERSHIP COUNCIL

COULD THIS BE THE MISSING PIECE OF THE PUZZLE FOR YOUR FIRM?

Originally published on Forbes.com

For any mid-size professional service firm to grow, thousands of decisions must be made. These decisions will be across all departments and on more issues and topics than I can possibly name in this article. No one, two or even 10 people can make all these decisions. It takes a community. If you want to unleash your growth potential, create a formal leadership council, give them guiding parameters and empower them with decision rights.

Most of the 70-plus mid-size service firms I’ve consulted with over the last 25 years have between 30 and 100 staff. This is more than enough people to make all of those decisions. But this rarely happens. Why? I see two primary reasons, both of which are rooted in the mindset of the principals.

The first reason is that a founder started the business and has a particular way of making decisions that they don’t believe anyone else can emulate. The second reason is that a strong leader or two, usually not owners but still stakeholders, do not believe that their staff members have the talent or experience to make solid decisions. If either of these sounds like your organization, I have some suggestions that could really help.

What Is A Leadership Council And How Does It Work?

A formal, not loosely informal, leadership council is a group of three to seven people who take primary responsibility for the outcomes of the business. They hold quarterly off-site meetings to identify priorities and problems that must be addressed. They also meet at least every other week to quickly document progress on the goals that matter. During these progress meetings, they identify any strategic issues that need to be addressed. Then, they set aside brainstorming sessions to create solutions to those problems and plans to address them.

In a nutshell, that’s how leadership councils work. After having established several of these for clients, I’d like to make some recommendations that can accelerate your success. First, it’s important not to have more than seven people, at the most, on these councils. This ensures that everyone gets a chance to talk — which is why you form the council in the first place.

Second, the members of the council may or may not be department heads. Generally, I recommend that no more than 60% of the council members lead departments. This ensures that you get perspectives from across your organization.

Third, the selection and invitation of council members have a huge bearing on their overall effectiveness. I usually work with a C-suite executive on this process and give them several criteria about who to invite to the council. That’s a key word — invite. This should be an invitation-only council where no one, except the topmost people at the firm, is automatically in. I usually recommend a one-year term for council members. Not one client has ever offered their council members additional compensation. It is a privilege, a responsibility and a thrill to be on these teams.

What Does A Leadership Council Actually Do?

In year one of a council, I typically recommend a structured set of exercises for the four quarterly off-site meetings. Usually, these are two-day meetings. I like to present these in the form of a question:

  • Meeting 1: Why are we in business?
  • Meeting 2: What are our values?
  • Meeting 3: How do we make decisions?
  • Meeting 4: What goals do we need to achieve?

Over the course of the first year, with nearly every client I’ve served, camaraderie, trust and the fun factor substantially increase. People can’t wait to get to the next session. It’s usually best to start this process early in the year so that by the end of the year, question four (what goals do we need to achieve?) sets you up for success with strategic planning for the following year.

During each off-site session, I ask council members to tell us a story from their past that reveals something about their character and their personal history. This has been phenomenally successful at stimulating trust and breaking down silos. In fact, the interpersonal relationships that form during these sessions become stronger than they’ve ever been, even for people who’ve worked side by side for years.

We end each session by deciding what information needs to be shared with the rest of the company. Everyone in the company knows about the sessions, and if you don’t tell them what you talked about, rumors will spread.

I recommend an information free-flow exercise like this:

Come up with a list of about seven to 10 bullet points that each council member will share — in their own words. Ensure that every person in the company has access to a council member. Within 24 hours of the session ending, every person in the company should be told what was talked about at the session. It’s important that this communication takes place either in-person or via video conference so team members can ask clarifying questions. This quells rumors and misinformation. It also allows council members to bring those questions to the next council meeting to compare notes.

Why Should You Do This?

In my experience, leaders will not quickly or easily cede trust to decision-makers other than themselves. But they almost never formally teach people who could be great decision-makers the things they need to know to make great decisions. There just never seems to be any time for that. This process fixes that problem.

What’s the result? My clients who have done this have experienced numerous benefits. But the biggest benefit seems to be deeply enhanced clarity across the entire organization about where they’re going, how they’ll get there, and what they will and won’t tolerate behaviorally. Because trust and strategy are foregrounded, these teams simply get more done. They break through plateaus that have historically held them back. And in case I didn’t make it clear, it makes work a lot more fun.

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

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
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?
Most Leads Are Not Ready To Engage – But They Will Be

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
Can Service Pros Over 40 Succeed In Digital?
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
A New Website Won’t Bring You New Clients
Do You “Get” Digital Marketing? – Part 2
Do You Get Digital Marketing?
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Lead Nurturing Versus Content Marketing
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Make Your Website A New Client Driver
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
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?