Case Stories

A Professional Service Firm Is Stuck in the Mud

4. A professional service firm is stuck in the mud

This story is true, but names and details have been changed to protect anonymity.

David doesn’t trust Maggie. They’ve been down this road before. The last time they poured money into one of Maggie’s initiatives they never saw a cent in return. But Maggie’s not always wrong. In fact, she sees things the other partners in the law firm don’t. Over time, a small faction of partners and employees has gathered around Maggie to support her in her battles to convince the others to invest in new growth.

But David’s not convinced. He’s never convinced. He knows how to make money in law, and these distractions not only cost the firm cash but priceless time. Several influential owners and employees agree with and support David. Now, gathered with all the firm’s partners to review the results of their leadership survey, we knew this would be a hard meeting. All four of their internal forces were in bad shape. Worse still, our research showed a deep rift between the partners. The owner group was split nearly 50/50 in its view of their problem. We stood in front of a full room of tense stares and sideways glances and thought, “Welp. This is going to be awkward.”

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