They Don’t Want to Be Owners!

Dennis Sherrin: "It is my mission to empower our employees to do great things and reach for more than they think they can while making sure they get the credit and this firm prospers."It may be just a matter of perception. But numbers to draw from are lower.

By Sandra Wiley
Bridging the Gap

There’s a general assumption these days that younger professionals don’t have as much inclination toward, or ability for, firm ownership compared to previous generations.

MORE: The Culture of Continuous Improvement | A Winning Culture Is an Intentional Culture | A Call for Change: An Open Letter to Each Generation
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Data is scarce to support that idea, however. It may be a misperception stemming from factors other than simply desire and potential. When asked, firm leaders young and old express enthusiasm about the opportunities for emerging leaders.

In our discussion of bridging the gap between management and emerging leaders, we would be remiss in not addressing the topic of moving from emerging leader to owner. The perception among many in our profession is that there are fewer individuals at the senior and manager levels who aspire to be an owner, and even when they show a desire, they simply do not seem technically capable. I can find no statistical data that proves this perception but when I ask current partners how many of their own peers actually became owners, the number is low. That indicates to me that there have always been relatively few people entering our profession who ultimately aspire to climb to the partner level.
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