Most firms are in the final stretch for this year, wrestling with collections, budgets, promotions and compensation decisions. All of these are important activities. But, while focused on wrapping up 2018 let me suggest one more subject that deserves attention — something that stands a chance of making a real long-term difference.
I suggest that you spend some time really wrestling with this question: “What one thing, if accomplished in the coming year, will leave us a healthier, happier firm — better positioned to compete in 2019 and beyond?”
I came across the book 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 significant difference in our lives or the endeavors most important to us.
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 identifying your “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 meeting with your partners during which progress towards the “one thing” is discussed. To accomplish the “one thing” requires a relentless, unwavering commitment to make it happen.
With these simple tools, you and your partners can take a giant step toward being in a better position as you take stock of 2018, and plan for next year.