How you can make your firm great?

This is a riff on one of the sections to the marvelous book by Paul Arden, It’s Not how Good you are, It’s how Good you want to be.

I know I am a sucker for books but the message is massively important.

How Good do you want to be?

Better than average?

As good as the biggest firm in your area?

Or the biggest on the block?

At the moment the driver is to do no worse than last year or ideally the year before. But that means, in all likelihood, doing exactly what you did then but perhaps just a little better. The truth of it is though you are chasing your tail.

Much has been made of the need to plan but few firms in my experience are serious about the exercise. They puff up their chests, talk big and then expect everyone to follow their lead. But people quickly revert to type. Billing sees to that.

If you really want to stress test the question of greatness then go watch this video by Simon Sinek where he talks about the ‘Why’ question. In all my time in legal practice, I don’t ever recall anyone ever asking that question! But it cuts to the quick when it comes to greatness. Everyone pretty much has the same capability. But the reason why most firms are still scratching out an existence is because they don’t dream big enough. They go for the middle ground, average, safe option. Frankly, it sucks. Who the hell wants to be involved in a business that lacks ambition?

Can you imagine holding a team meeting and saying to them “We only want to be as good as last year”.

Surely you want to be the very best you can, and that must mean doing the best work, acting for the best clients and making the biggest profit that you can?

I dare you at your next meeting to put this question at the top of the agenda and see what response you get. If you get anyone who says you are already great then kick them out of the meeting. They are living on planet Zogg.

Summary

Don’t accept mediocrity.

Hire the best people on the planet.

Have a vision that is compelling.

Get people away from their desks and go meet some of your clients in their premises.

It is a war out there. Go to work to make things different.

Forget the usual bullshit that comes from doing it as you have always done it. If you hear the immortal lines “We never did it like that before”  then ask them why Which, Co-Op and others are invading their market with increasing alacrity.

Adopt the matra: Get BETTER.

Don’t rest on your laurels and go shake it up.

~ Julian Summerhayes ~

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