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How do our Managing Partners create the right ‘Tone from the Top’

How do our Managing Partners create the right ‘Tone from the Top’

07 Mar 2017

The Managing Partner, as well as the Management and Executive committees including all the partners, play a vital role in ensuring that the ‘tone from the top’ is spread throughout the firm.

The necessary starting point would be the body of partners. One of their fundamental tasks is to appoint the right Managing Partner. That process must not only focus on competence alone. The focus must include character, chemistry and integrity, which would lead to questions such as:

  • Does the individual have all the requisite skills to move the practice forward?
  • Does the person possess the character and moral fibre to take the firm to the next level but without lowering standards of quality and integrity?
  • Will the person selected deliver the tone from the top throughout his executive and management committees into the partner body, where after it leads into middle management and through to all employees?

One should be careful not to select individuals based solely on competence and performance as opposed to chemistry and moral fibre. The body of partners must take responsibility for ensuring that the Managing Partner has in his KPI`s ethical and moral objectives, as well as quality and performance, to ensure that the ‘tone from the top’ is properly delivered. A message of integrity has to be delivered throughout the corporate culture of the firm.

The Managing Partner is the face of the practice. Therefore, they should always try “walk the walk” and “talk the talk”. Both partners and employees will look up to the Managing Partner, and follow in their footsteps. Trust is built on action, and if the leader can deliver at every level, as well as have competence, integrity, moral awareness and quality, the partners and employees alike will respect and trust that leadership.

The Managing Partner must also be visible to everyone through communication. This is vital in getting the message across that there is more to running a successful business than merely performance. He must communicate the message to all that ethics, integrity and quality are the cornerstones to a successful practice. There have been many business failures where these important factors have been ignored.

The Executive and Management Committees should support this message and all members must contribute when it comes to delivering the ‘tone from the top’. They need to be seen communicating and acting out the values that the ‘tone from the top’ demonstrates, which includes ethics, integrity, morality and quality.


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