Partner Performance & Income

  • Define and measure performance
  • Align partner income for performance

Defining, measuring, managing and rewarding partner performance is an essential and sensitive topic for any partnership. It is also a key lever to driving performance, creating alignment on strategy and changing behaviours. Finding the right formula for partner performance and partner income systems will depend on the unique conditions under which you operate.

There are many factors to consider: the structure of the partnership, market conditions, strategic direction, business model, competitive position and the culture of the partnership. There is no standard solution. Each solution needs to be tailored to the individual Professional Services firm. In our work with clients this usually includes two components:

Defining and Managing Performance

Defining performance - Managing partner performance starts with a shared understanding of how we define performance across the partnership. This will depend on a number of factors, such as strategy, business model, partnership structure and expected performance levels. In our work with Professional Services firms we often find misalignment of performance practices with strategy and lack of clarity around how we measure partner performance. For example: do we only measure and drive quantitative results (e.g. engagement profit) or do we also include qualitative contributions (such as talent development, client or people satisfaction)? Do we reward individual partner performance only or do we also consider performance of partner teams?

Our clients find value in shaping their definition of performance to set the tone for building a performance culture based on transparency and accountability.

Managing performance for results - Once there is clarity on the relevant dimensions of performance, specific performance objectives need to be set to align the business and individual partner behaviour with strategy and financial performance. Again this will require a tailored solution including:

  • Linking the firm’s annual planning process with top-down targets
  • Defining the process and metrics of the annual performance cycle
  • Aligning performance management governance structure and process
  • A framework, tools, skills to embed objectives into day-to-day practice

Rewarding Performance

Depending on Partnership model and structure, Professional Service firms follow very different approaches to rewarding performance. They often grow over time and may not adequately reflect the size and complexity of the underlying business.

Our clients often are looking to align or re-align the partner income system through phases of change. Whatever the trigger, adjusting the partner income system is a sensitive project. It requires a long–term view linked to the desired partnership culture. In our solution centre we help you:

  • Define objectives of the partner income system
  • Understand the current challenges
  • Design and model a system matching your objectives, including: components, structure, process and governance of the new system
  • Achieve line-led implementation of the new solution and change management

Contact Our Head of
Solution Centre


Ralf is the founder and Managing Director of Better Business. With a business background he has spent more than two decades in leadership roles as a Partner and Senior Executive in the global professional and financial services industries. As a thought leader he has been contributing to the development and practice of Responsible Leadership as a new mode of leadership for Next Generation business.



He has spearheaded award-winning talent and leadership initiatives linked to building leading global industry brands. As the Chairman of the International Consortium for Executive Development and Research (ICEDR) and a Founding Board Member of the European Corporate Learning Forum Ralf takes an active interest in the development of the HR profession and is frequent contributor at international conferences and corporate leadership events in Europe, Asia and the US.


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