So here I sit, on the aisle seat in row 8, headed off to a warm, tropical destination, and I’m wondering, “How do I move my firm from good to great?”
There are so many different places in Jim Collins‘ Good to Great where I can pause and write a blog post. Yes, the book is dated (Circuit City is one of the “great” companies), but the message is evergreen.
I’m in the Hedgehog Concept chapter and I’m looking at the notes I am taking:
- What can we be #1 in?
- What are we passionate about?
- How are we measuring success?
The answers to one and two are proprietary for any of us. But when it comes to measuring success, most law firms are still measuring year-end success by PPEP and driving that point value up, which, don’t get me wrong, is incredibly important. Let’s face it. We all want to make good money, better money, and more money. But are we measuring it by the right metric?
Or, better yet, is measuring our profitability the way we are standing in the way of us moving from good to great?
Should we be measuring our success by profit per client? Or matter? Or practice group? Or client team?
For firms with multiple offices, should the measurement be per office or state? Or for the global firms, per region?
When I look at our industry, I see a lot of the same ol’ same ol’. We have a lot of really, really good firms. But what about the “great” firms? Are there any, as defined by Jim Collins? Have any of us really taken on the challenge?
I can think of all the reasons and barriers to trying to move a law practice from good to great, but you see, per page 110, I am incredibly passionate about the BUSINESS of law. I am passionate about moving our industry from a good industry to a great one.
Perhaps that is why I have self-selected to work in a smaller platform (right now, my firm is one office, 85 attorneys). Yes, work-life balance, and all that jazz, but what I really have is the ability to build personal relationships with every attorney in our firm. I have the ability to build trust because of my personal interactions. I have the ability to influence directly and indirectly. And through my successes within my firm, and through my profile in the legal community via this blog, my Legal Marketing Facebook group, and leadership roles within the legal marketing community, the reach of my message is wide and deep.
In my conversations with legal marketers and lawyers alike, there is a lot of cynicism about what and why we are doing whatever it is we are doing. I often wonder why some of us are even in this business. Making money? Sure. But there have to be easier ways to make money.
If we cannot be the best at what we are doing; if we cannot be passionate about what we are doing; if we cannot throw ourselves into what we are doing, then whatever we are doing is wrong for us.
I am passionate about the business of law. I do believe I have the ability to be the best in what I do. And I look forward to the opportunities I face every day. I am living my own Venn diagram.
I am also very passionate about this guy sleeping next to me in row 8. For my kids who are off for an incredible beach week with their dad. And for my team back in the office.
So why am I thinking about all of this when I should be thinking about clear blue waters? Because my passion for what I do, either for my family, my firm, or my industry, does not have clear boundaries, and I am a-ok with that.
It will take me a couple days to fully let go. I hope that by the time many of you read this I will be in full “I don’t give a sh**” mode.
So if we do not connect before then, have a great week, and don’t break anything while I am gone.