New Study of Managing Partners Reveals Formula for “Leadership At Its Strongest”

LEADERSHIP-AT-ITS-STRONGEST-CVR-copyThe new book, “Leadership At Its Strongest: What Successful Managing Partners Do,” by Robert J. Lees, August J. Aquila, and Derek Klyhn, reveals the four pillars of success for the high-achieving leaders of accounting firms.

Drawn from the findings of in-depth interviews with 150 managing partners and their partners, plus the 50 years of combined experience of the authors, “Leadership At Its Strongest” is available for purchase direct from the CPA Trendlines publisher, here.

In “Leadership At Its Strongest,” the authors argue that “the selection of a managing partner in an accounting firm is just too important and too complex to leave to chance.”

The authors identify four essential traits shared by successful leaders:

1. They provide a compelling direction and strategy.

2. They engage partners in the effort and gain commitment.

3. They initiate and execute activities that drive and support the firm’s strategy and operations.

4. They set a personal example by demonstrating an unswerving commitment to being the best.

Successful managing partners are strong and effective leaders. They are leaders whose picture of the future excites and energizes the firm’s partners and staff, who help everyone, clients and employees, to exceed their expectations and whose personal performance personifies everything the firm stands for.

There’s no getting away from the fact that being a managing partner is a tough job. But with clarity around the behaviors that deliver success, every managing partner now has a chance to truly make a difference.



“Leadership At Its Strongest” is already receiving advance praise from leading figures in the professions.

For example:

“Leadership At Its Strongest is a powerful book. Rob Lees, August Aquila and Derek Klyhn have captured the essence of leadership. You won’t be disappointed! A must-read for anyone who leads a firm or team.”

– Richard Caturano,
Chairman, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants;
Executive Managing Partner-Boston, McGladrey LLP


“You can read a 600-page tome from one of our profession’s management gurus or you can read this slim volume of insight and wisdom. I recommend the second choice. Use the time savings to put this good advice to work in leading your firm.”

– Bob Bunting,
Past CEO, Moss Adams,
Chair International Services Group


“This is an excellent road map for being a successful managing partner.  It touches on both the strategic as well as the soft-skill people issues, both of which are necessary to lead a professional services firm in this day and age.  Many years of collective wisdom are captured in this short piece – a very worthwhile read!”

– Gordon Krater,
Firm Managing Partner,
Plante & Moran, PLLC



Rob Lees is a founding partner of Møller PSFGroup and consultant to professional services firm leaders worldwide. He is also co-author of the best-selling “When Professionals Have To Lead.” For more information, see

August Aquila is an internationally known speaker, writer, and consultant to professional services firms. He is CEO of Aquila Global Advisors. He is also the co-author of Performance is Everything; Compensation as a Strategic Asset; and Client at the Core.

Derek Klyhn is a founding partner of Møller PSFGroup and consultant to professional services firm leaders and their teams. For more information, see


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