Leadership Disconnect

A recent survey of Managing Partners in an international alliance found that 85% of Managing Partners say they need younger leaders to step up, yet 93% of Young Leaders say Managing Partners won’t invest in them.

Further, 100% of the Managing Partners say it will cost the firm significantly to replace an Emerging Leader and 89% of the Emerging Leaders say Managing Partners won’t invest in travel to train them.

Accounting firm leaders constantly say they need quality people yet far too often they allow years to slip by without addressing the development needs of their team, beyond the mandatory technical CPE. It’s a fairly common explanation that largely comes down to not being willing to invest the dollars or time to make it happen.

Somehow there is an expectation that people will join a firm, identify their individual development needs, and then make the necessary investment in themselves in order to be a true asset for the firm. To be sure, there are a certain number of people who are willing to make that investment in themselves and these are the self-motivated, quality people who are your future leaders. However, it cannot be a one way street. The firm must be willing to match a rising star’s investment or risk the possibility that another firm will.  Often, through a lack of initiative on the firm’s part, the rising star ends up moving to another firm in order to find the type of development opportunity they need to progress their career.

In other cases your firm may have a number of undiscovered stars who need someone to see their potential, provide encouragement, and set a career path before them that allows their star to shine. Not every person you invest in will prove your intuition correct and some simply will not grow even when given the opportunity. A CEO once said to me “what if I invest in them and they leave”. To that I simply respond, what if you don’t invest in them and they stay?

About the author 

Angie Grissom serves as the President of The Rainmaker Companies, a leading provider of alliance, consulting, and training services exclusively for the Accounting Profession.She is passionate about the current and future leadership in the accounting industry and pushes firm leaders to build firms that empower people and have strong future leaders and unmatched client service. She encourages leaders to think outside the box and have a focus on getting results.