…I don’t feel as though I’m judged on the quality of my management skills or the strength of my client relationships, but solely on the measurement of financial return. Am I just a line on a spreadsheet?’
A bit of context:
We were recently engaged to run a management development programme for a firm because top-level management was concerned that they were losing some very talented people, and that the middle-management level was not doing the ‘people basics’. However, (and this is not uncommon) it soon became clear that the middle managers were more than capable of doing (and wanted to do) these basics.
The reason they were not doing them? Key management duties were right at the bottom of the to-do list; in fact, they felt incentivised NOT to do them! Why? Because they are not chargeable; there was no time code for them. Even though the managers knew that time spent managing has huge value, it is just so hard to justify the short- term £value.
We asked the obvious question: ‘So if you didn’t have strict and inflexible chargeability, productivity, and utilisation targets, what would you be doing differently?’.
Some interesting responses:
All extremely high value and essential activities. But if ‘performance’ standards are set by, and measured on, purely internal operational targets and metrics what is the incentive for a manager to invest time in these areas?
We are not for one minute suggesting that firms simply abandon the tried and tested operational model. But, perhaps it is time for firms to ask themselves a couple of key questions:
Are you seeing similar management issues in your firm? Are your team are asking the same questions or do they have similar challenges? Or do you need help analysing your operating model, so you become more effective and so that you are able to retain (and attract) top talent? If this sounds like your firm, then please do get in touch with us.