As I worked with clients in professional services firms committed to advancing women into leadership roles, it became clear to me that the right approach was to focus on business development.
The “New Normal” is a term in business and economics that refers to financial conditions following the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the aftermath of the 2008-2012 global recession. Although I can’t take credit for coining the term, I think it’s right on point to describe the substantial impact the Great Recession had on professional services firms.
Consider the following:
- Clients, under increasing pressure to contain costs, are keeping more work in-house, and, when they do send work out, pay more attention to the “value” they receive.
- Evaluation criteria used to hire firms initially, as well as to make decisions about whether to continue to work with them on an ongoing basis, have become more stringent.
- Increased competition, from traditional competitors as well as from new entrants to the market and technological advances, make it more challenging to grow revenue.
Few would disagree – the bottom line is originating business effectively and efficiently is no longer a “nice to have,” it is an essential survival skill.
I had the opportunity to analyze data collected from 437 male and female equity partners in law firms of all sizes across the U.S. during the period from 2011 to 2013. The data offers answers to two important questions:
- What activities, roles, resources and attitudes are successful to originate business in the “new normal”?
- Are there differences between these for male equity partners and female equity partners?