As we enter the New Year, chances are good you’re dealing with a predictable slate of demands on your time: setting compensation and budgets; managing details associated with the latest departure; and interviewing this week’s lateral prospect. All important activities, and worthy of serious attention; but none of these is likely to make the firm fundamentally stronger, and better positioned to compete.
May I suggest something to spend a little time on that does stand a chance of making a real difference? Something that has a shot at making your firm better and stronger?
Spend some time really wrestling with this question: “What one thing if accomplished this year will leave us a healthier, happier firm — better positioned to compete in 2017?”
My wife recently read, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Keller and Papasan. The premise of the book is that we all face a tremendous number of distractions and demands on our time, most of which make no difference in our lives.
But if we take the time necessary to determine the most important thing to accomplish today, this week or this year, we can make a difference that really matters.
This isn’t a particularly complex concept; but it is one that far too few law firms (or individuals for that matter) seriously consider…much less, actually execute.
If you are in a law firm that doesn’t have a strong culture of planning, start by gathering the senior members of your firm for a discussion about the “one thing.” The dynamics will surprise you. Agree that you won’t be distracted…that you won’t attempt to solve every issue…but you’ll focus on one thing.
Agreeing on the “one thing” is more than half of the battle; but you will still have to execute. Things are more likely to really happen with some accountability built into action items. I recommend a regularly scheduled monthly meeting with your partners during which progress towards the “one thing” is discussed.
With these simple tools,you and your partners can take a giant step toward being in a different place when you take stock of 2016, and plan for next year.
What do you think?