By, Gale Crosley, CPA
If you’re like most rainmakers, you are happiest when the skies open up and opportunities pour down faster than you can reach out and grab them. And you are most frustrated when you see others seemingly unable to do what’s relatively effortless for you.
Understanding why this occurs is the first step to eliminating frustration. But you also may wish to consider a paradigm shift that involves changing your perception of "who can make rain," breaking business-building into component parts that can be championed by many. The result is an environment in which firm growth is not the province of a single individual, but is owned by all.
Why Frustrations Flourish
Master rainmakers perennially seek the answer to a very simple question: "Why can’t others build business the way I build business?" For starters, some people simply are not wired to take the bull by the horns and run with it. You intuitively understand the formula for rain and you know how to use it: Relationships lead to referrals and referrals lead to business. You’ve probably tried to share your methodology with others, but to no avail.
That’s a problem, because in order to scale up and grow fast, you need to depend on reliable, consistent rainmaking – more than what you alone can deliver. Too many masters throw up their hands in frustration, believing that unless they can hire or create rainmakers that mirror their strength and caliber, they cannot grow the business.
Institutionalize, Don’t Personalize
But there is another way. By institutionalizing rainmaking, you step back and let others step forward. It starts with seeing your entire team as contributors to the rainmaking process. Instead of seeking to impart your personal method, identify and develop their potential. Hone their strengths through "just-in-time'" skills-training directed at a specific target.
The key is to perceive rainmaking not as an activity, but as a collection of aptitudes and attitudes. Among them are awareness, lead generation, opportunity identification and niche development. Create a tool-and-technique-box that can be used to teach the skills needed for these component functions. Give participants what they need when they need it – no more and no less – as part of a focused strategy led and managed by you.
An important secondary result of this growth approach is that everyone feels part of something large and powerful. Generating business opportunities that benefit the entire firm becomes a source of pride. Even those individuals only marginally involved become aware of the process.
Because Rainmaking Is a Team Sport
At the end of the day, shoring up your employees’ business generation potential is more about motivation that capability. It’s up to you to identify the motivating factors in your firm. Compensation? A positive performance evaluation? The opportunity to demonstrate new skills? Whatever the factors, make sure you leverage them to maximize energy and commitment.
Once playing a role in business growth becomes a culturally accepted function, you’ve geometrically multiplied your chances of success by arithmetically increasing the number of hearts and minds devoted to the process.
Be patient as you work toward this new paradigm. You’ll be surprised at how much others have to contribute. And you’ll be rewarded by fresh opportunities for growth, and by new sources of internal satisfaction.
Copyright ® 2003 by Crosley + Company
Gale Crosley, CPA, is founder and principal of Crosley + Company, providing revenue growth consulting and coaching to CPA firms. She brings more than 30 years of experience, featuring a unique combination as a practicing CPA in two national accounting firms, along with significant experience in business development in the cutting edge technology environment, with such firms as IBM and MCI. For more information, contact her at [email protected]