How to respond positively in times of change


The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, was quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life”.  In our experience, change is the only constant in professional services!

Change can be confronting, sometimes the source of anxiety but it can also be extremely exciting and transformative!  Now more than ever, we’re seeing more BDMC professionals behaving as change agents as their firm’s re-position to meet the future needs of clients and the future of work.

Some of the most common changes which we see in professional service firms which might be affecting you include:

  • Change in your firm’s leadership
  • Change in the leadership of your BDMC team or your direct manager
  • Rapid growth in Partner numbers affecting the BDMC/Partner ratio
  • Increased sophisticated in your firm’s go-to-market strategy and sales strategy
  • Change in your firm’s broader strategy affecting the focus of your role
  • Investment and roll out of new technology and new service teams
  • Increasing client expectations around CX
  • Lean teams with vacancies sitting empty longer than usual – an effect of the great resignation and competition for talent
  • Uncertainty of change – it’s evident that change is imminent but details have not been communicated which therefore creates a period of uncertainty

How can you ensure that your response to the change occurring around you is positive and you are best positioned to take advantage of this?

That really depends on the type of change. Is the change fast and potentially unexpected?  For example, a key leader resigning or a restructure you didn’t see coming which changes the nature of your role. Or, is the change a much slower yet highly impactful and transformative change – like a new CX program, sales methodology, bid automation tool, self-serve model for fee earners or new performance score card for Partners?


When change is unexpected

This is when we as recruiters tend to hear from more of our candidates seeking advice – unexpected change always gets people thinking. They ask themselves questions like:

  • What else will change?
  • How will this affect me?
  • Will it escalate or slow my career progression?
  • When will I know more about what’s going on or when will things be more certain?

Sometimes it is just time to move on to your next career challenge and the change was the jolt needed to get you out of a place of comfort. In other situations, the change impacts your role so severely that you need to make some quick decisions to get back on course in your desired career path.  In these times we are of course always here to help you identify and secure your next career step.

However sometimes we and counsel our candidates to lean into the change.  Navigating change is core to success in professional services BDMC.  If you create a career journey of fast moves always based on “something changed so I left” it will eventually catch up with you. Future employers will see a pattern of you always leaving when something changes – possibly at a time when the business needed you most. As you develop into leadership roles navigating these times of change will be a core skill to develop.  You want to be the person who approaches the period of uncertainty with calm, maturity and pro-activity, demonstrating that you’re focused on what the business, your Partners and the firm’s clients need most.

Whatever level of seniority you’re at, change and uncertainty is your opportunity to have a positive impact on culture.  Be careful of being drawn into gossip, anxious office conversations and politicking.  Instead, ask your senior leaders / managers what you can be doing to help and support them and be a source of positive energy in the firm during in this time. Remember that change affects everyone differently but if you’re feeling uneasy about it, chances are, some of your colleagues may be too – it’s a great opportunity to step up and support your team.

And remember, there is a chance that change will lead to new career opportunities!  Uncertain times can certainly be times of unexpected opportunity!  The stance you take during these times will get noticed and will position you well in your team and the firm and so be ready for it.


Slow, steady but highly transformational change

Now this is where some of you get really excited!  And maybe others just feel fatigued reading about this type of change. It is good to be honest about where you’re at and how this makes you feel.

Firms going through major transformational change will look to resource their teams with BDMC professionals who are ready to be change agents – those who can bring the energy and influencing skills to advocate for change during complex and sometimes prolonged projects.  Then there are firms who are bedding down prior change with BDMC teams managing and maintain the BAU and day-to-day.

It’s important to consider where you’re at in your career and which sort of team or role you want to be a part of.  For some BDMC professionals it can depend on their career and life stage.  For others, they may thrive on change projects and start to specialise and select roles where they can be impactful in businesses going through transformation.

If you are in a firm going through major transformations to the BDMC strategy, structure, infrastructure and/or service offering, remember that your CMO and the partners will be looking to you to be on the journey.  Learn all you can about the strategy and vision and understand how your role fits in with this. Ensure you feel empowered to be part of this change and if you don’t, seek to find this.  Embrace the learning opportunity this brings because it’s likely that all your learning is going to help you in your future career progression as the industry and the role of BDMC in professional services continues to evolve into the future.


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