The Destructive Illusion of Influence


Do you work in a firm that has hundreds of partners?  And does your firm have committees for “management issues” that are populated by “a cross-section” of those partners? I don’t mean a board or an executive committee. I mean those countless other committees, such as for recruiting, for technology, and most recently for innovation.

Are they led by engaged chairs? Do they have goals and metrics to measure their performance?  Usually the answer is no because these committees are not designed to handle management issues, but to give partners an illusion of influence.

Do your partners vote on a whole range of “governance issues" such as lateral partners joining the firm?  How often is the outcome of the vote a surprise?  This too is an instrument to maintain the illusion of influence.

Larger partnerships have long outgrown the usefulness of their management and governance tools.  Holding on to them is destructive, no matter what proponents of the status quo may argue.

Friedrich Blase