Life after Boris is a quick-to-read fable that should encourage any partner - or indeed anyone aspiring to partnership - in a professional services firm, to make sure that the succession planning issue is addressed in their firm. It seeks to demonstrate that with good planning, collaboration and proactive discussion, options can be found that will be acceptable to all. Without such an approach, the consequences could be serious. Succession planning is not inherently difficult or intellectually complex. It does, however, strike many raw nerves, both with those who are currently at the top of their firms and are contemplating retirement (or not), and also with those in the early stages of their careers who are anxious to know what the future holds for them in their current firm. The frustration, of course, is that many stakeholders in the succession planning process (of which there are far more than one might originally envisage) rush into decisions because of the apparent lack of a succession plan, thereby simply exacerbating the problem for all the other stakeholders.
It is therefore critical that all firms, and the stakeholders within those firms, address the succession planning question before it becomes an issue. Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted is simply not an option. Initiating the succession planning process need not necessarily come from the current leaders. Indeed, their failure to do so is often at the root of the problem. The bright leaders of tomorrow have much at stake and although a great deal of tact and sensitivity will be needed, it is often these future leaders of a firm who are best positioned to bring about change. In the author's experience over the last 12 years of working with professional services firms around the world, one of the most frequently recurring catalysts for discussion has been succession management. Firms that got it right developed and prospered. Those that didn't struggled and often ended up having to merge and ultimately disappear into oblivion.
Following a law degree from Cambridge and a short period in industry, James Mendelssohn spent 10 years developing the marketing functions within two major accountancy practices, both in the UK and overseas. He then established a print and marketing consultancy, focused on the professional services sector, before taking time out to study for an MBA, with his thesis looking at management structures within international networks of professional services firms. In 1999, James became the Chief Executive of MSI Global Alliance (MSI), a worldwide association of mid-tier law and accounting firms, with over 250 member firms in more than 100 countries. MSI won the prestigious 'International Association of the Year' award in early 2013 at the annual International Accounting Bulletin awards ceremony. On stepping down from his full-time role with MSI at the end of 2012, and recognising the need that exists within many professional services firms that are struggling to come to terms with management issues, James established Firm Management Associates, a specialist consultancy focusing on providing management advice to mid-sized firms, charities and others operating in the not-for-profit sector. Firm Management could be described as a consultancy - but James does not see himself as a consultant. He is simply someone who has worked with and observed over 250 mid-sized law and accounting firms in 100 countries and is interested in working with such firms, and other similar organisations, to explore how they could and should be managed. If you would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact James at Firm Management Associates. E: email@example.com T: +44 (0) 7941 507753 www.firmmanagement.co.uk
CONTENTS About the author Foreword Introduction Chapter 1 The ending of an era Chapter 2 Eric decides to help Chapter 3 The research programme gathers momentum Chapter 4 The North Warren Chapter 5 The South Warren Chapter 6 Tea with Trevor and Gary Chapter 7 Another day, another warren Chapter 8 Tea with Xanthe Chapter 9 Pulling it all together Chapter 10 The five stage process Chapter 11 Writing the report Chapter 12 Sharing the report Chapter 13 The leadership summit Chapter 14 Action research Chapter 15 Decisions are taken