When the subject is your internet service, bandwidth refers to how much information your provider will push to you in a specified period of time. Need more information faster? More bandwidth is as close as a bigger check.
But when we’re talking about a person’s total work capacity — how much information you can take in, how many issues you can juggle, how many meetings you can chair, the size of the checkbook rarely matters much.
For all of us, personal bandwidth is limited. We can’t buy more. It is not a renewable resource.
And as a law firm leader, how you choose to use yours is of critical importance.
If you’re leading a law firm today, this is inevitable: the almost infinite number of issues confronting an individual or leadership team on a daily basis will continually test the natural limits of bandwidth.
The choices made in allocating decision making resources will define how successful your leadership will be.
Here’s The Key
Bandwidth for the law firm leader is about prioritization and allocation. Effective leaders are those who are able to determine what is most important, allocate time to the most critical issues, and spend time on other matters only if there is time (or bandwidth) left over.
Every firm’s needs are different; but here is a list of a few areas that almost always belong on a list of priorities:
- Stability and morale. A leader has to be in touch with the firm, addressing concerns, providing direction and encouragement. An allocation of time significant enough to provide genuine connection to the human capital of a firm is essential.
- Client trust and confidence. Clients are obviously the lifeblood of any law firm. The prudent leader will monitor the firm’s critical client relationships, track retention rates, intercede when issues arise. Strategic client interview programs should be high on any priority list.
- Fiscal condition. Regular (and realistic) assessment of the firm’s position is a must. The earlier financial challenges are identified the easier they are to address.
- Performance. A system of regular performance monitoring is in the “tool kit” of all effective leaders. They are constantly aware of what the intended performance is, how performance is tracking to the intention and taking appropriate action to correct any issues.
- Change initiatives. It is interesting that at first blush you would think one of the challenges is to find enough opportunities for change to respond to the market and its demands. Actually, in my experience, the opposite is true. There is never a shortage of good ideas regarding “what we should do.” The challenge presented to the effective law firm leader is to winnow down the multitude to the few ideas that provide the best opportunity to strengthen the firm. Biting off more than you can chew is a dead giveaway of a lack of focus. Attack what you can execute and monitor.
How does your leadership team manage its bandwidth?