Virtually all law firms have had to adjust business practices to address the pandemic’s impact. Whether working remotely, refocusing or changing firm economics, making personnel moves, or partnering with clients more, today’s challenges have fundamentally changed the way law firms operate. For the law firms grappling with too many upheavals in their world, crisis looms.
For most law firm leaders, the advent of crisis is a new experience. Instead of making decisions that merely move the dials of profitability, growth or long-term strategy, the leaders confronted by crisis are playing for all the marbles. A misstep here or there can lead to disaster. When crisis looms, two areas of focus can be key to avoiding catastrophe.
First, leaders should act immediately with a blend of short-term and long-term objectives. Immediate action demonstrating that solutions are being implemented, essentially real-time wins, helps avert a downward momentum that can suck away confidence in the future. Short-term actions that seek tangible results will counter lingering doubts about the firm spinning out of control. But as good as immediate responses can be, they need to fit into a bigger picture-they need context in a long-term vision that speaks to the firm’s future. This blend can’t advance disparate ideas-the short and long term must be in sync.
Second, the firm’s solution(s) must be communicated quickly, consistently and honestly. Leadership credibility depends on telling and selling the path back to stability in a way that is believable. Disparate messages delivered by uncertain and confused spokespersons will harm more than help. Getting the message right is enormously important.
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