Partners: Are consultants who become partners usually high performing rockstars, or at least above average? How often do you see average consultant (lets say someone who never gets promoted ahead of schedule, year end eval always in the middle) make it to the partner admission?

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Not a partner but the smart ones usually leave, the bad ones get counseled out, so the average ones that grind it out become partner.

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All the of the very best people I have known in my consulting career left for an MBB upgrade, to very lucrative finance/startup/big tech jobs(including me, I now work in venture)-,or to an industry job because they realized they valued their life more than their work. Of course it depends on how you define some of these three groups, because I think in reality there is like top 5-10% (who leave) next 25% (who become partners), then sort of everyone else. If you are in MBB I imagine you would not see this pattern.

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I had two mentors in my career (I am now a retired partner) tell me that making partner required that you ‘have it all’. Solid technical skill (pick yours), great people management t skills, strong sales and sales acumen, and the ability to think and act like an owner of the firm. One mentor said I needed to become more benevolent. Remember, when you are up for partner, your future partners who are voting on you are asking themselves “do I see this person as my partner, my equal.

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Partnership is rarely about true consulting content / delivery capabilities but rather ability to build business by selling work and managing clients and coaching teams.

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P2 is spot on. The bar keeps getting higher.

Additionally, how fast someone got to senior manager/director isn’t necessarily a leading indicator of how well they will perform as a senior manager with the prospect of becoming a managing director or partner. So getting promoted ahead of schedule and past ratings (middle of the pack or great) up until this point is only what got you there. When the SM/Director clock starts, all that matters is how you perform and your SM track record/business case/book of work at that level and most do not make it, it is the way our partnerships are designed to operate.

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To add on to this: a lot of people that rocket up the ranks to say manger and maybe even SM don’t make it. I’ve seen plenty of smart, great people get hung up at those levels because they don’t have all those extra skills that being a partner requires. Or they were great IC’s but what made them great IC’s prevented them to being a great leader of people. I would think that the people that make partner are pretty well rounded, liked by the other partners and seen as an equal, and some luck.

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Partnership is about grit and sacrifice during the dog years - especially as a SM/Director. Everyone knows the prize is rewarding but the only differentiator is - are you willing to tolerate BS on your way.

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Resilient characters make it to partner - got to have a thick skin to get to partner

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In B4 Consulting - high performing; more so now than before, and the bar only continues to rise. I have not seen an average person they way you describe it make it in years. Doesn’t mean you have to hit it out of the ballpark every year, but you have to be consistent and the latter years mean much more than the earlier years.

That said, I would say three things:
1. There are some Partners now whom I believe were average according to current expectations when they made it years ago. Thus the bar continues to rise comment - expectations changed.
2. Being a high performing SM doesn’t always translate into being a high performing Partner. Not everyone is effective, and we do separate partners for lack of performance.
3. Our business continue to grow aggressively YoY. If you believe we can do that with subpar average partners, then we must be awfully lucky.

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Quite the opposite actually in B4. The standards were higher when I was there than what it takes now. The salary levels have also been impacted as well. Partners in Canada at least are staring at much lower end now than what was the norm few years ago.

likesmart

I was never promoted before peers but made partner 20 something years ago. Every stage of my career has been 'on-expected-time' or 'late' - and that includes post-partner-promotions. There are some absolutes around cracking the case, managing the team, delivering value to clients, building the firm at each stage and some are quicker to demonstrate those skills; and some are slower.

But, keep in mind, 'slow' is often 6-18 months behind the 'rockstars'.

What I can say is that it took me a slight bit more time than others did but I have had an incredible career and now have a colossal book of business and run an incredible practice.

If your performance evaluation system has teeth then 'middle of the pack' is pretty damn good!

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If middle of the pack performers regularly become partners I’ve never seen it. There have to be some standout years in their tenure.

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You can be a high performing delivery/execution person and yet never make Partner.
1. Can you make your own niche/market and add net new business?
2. Do you have friends in high places who will hand over (advocate for you is the pc term) coveted accounts to you when they retire or move out?
3. Are you coming into B4 in an area where there is a huge white space that they want to capture immediately and you have the skills?
——> these are a few ways to Partnership

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