SPECIAL ADVISORY ARTICLES
16 Cage-Rattling Questions To Jump-Start Your Practice Team
Today, our preoccupation with finding answers must not obscure the importance of asking the right questions. In fact, average answers to good questions, more often than not, yield better insights than astounding answers to lousy questions.
Unfortunately, too many partnership and practice group meetings get filled with artery-clogging discussions that do little to help determine how busy professionals are going to invest their precious non-billable time to change their future. Meanwhile, our strategic planning efforts become consumed by uninspiring and overly complicated navel-gazing that often results in little more than a binder full of documents gathering dust on some managing partners’ bookshelf. The idea that rigorous analysis will somehow yield blinding insights is invariably replaced by the creative synthesis of nothing more than “me-too” strategies.
beyondKNOWING is not intended to be the latest diagnosis of prevailing market trends or some serious academic tome . . . but rather a collection of unusual, quirky, provocative, and bizarre questions to clear out the cobwebs at your next meeting, jump-start your creative thinking, tickle the brain, launch your partners’ minds moving in productive directions, pop some new ideas out of your intellectual toaster, and get energized to take action.
- Introduction: Are you asking the right questions?
- What would your leadership epitaph be if you weren't around tomorrow?
- What things that made us successful in the past do we need to forget, unlearn, or discard to be successful now and into the future?
- If our most demanding client ran this firm, what experiments or pilot projects concerned with doing something totally new would they have underway?
- What are the key reasons why our great ideas fall apart during implementation?
- If our firm (practice group) were an organized religion, what would our beliefs be and what would constitute having committed a sin?
- What do our professionals and support staff grumble the most about over lunch?
- What benefit should accepting any new client transaction convey, other than more revenue?
- What top three business issues are keeping our best clients awake at nights?
- What stupid things do we do that irritates clients and should be keeping us awake at nights?
- What could we do (without hiking compensation) to get and keep a larger share of the kind of extraordinary talent we want in our firm?
- How do we develop the kind of skills that will make us indispensable to clients?
- Why should a client choose our firm (practice group), what makes us distinctive, and what specific added-value do we bring to particular business matters . . . that a client can not get anywhere else?
- How do we ratchet-up our profile when we are either the newest or the smallest kid on the block?
- What crazy ideas, if acted upon, could result in our being able to double our per partner profitability in three years?
- What would motivate you to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for an entire month or longer?
Brillant! Practical Ideas and Concepts That YOU CAN USE! Neat and crisp book. Ideas that are relevant and useful whether you have a team of people, are an attorney within a small firm or a huge firm, an advertising firm or a consulting firm. Want to jump start the team? - focus people on what's important? - get buy-in and commitment? - build your firm's reputation? - McKenna's book has the answers - AND questions which makes you think from perspectives and angles you never looked from. Whether you are an employee or manager, read and heed. Also read Herding Cats - McKenna's other book.
Joseph B. Murphy, Managing Director, Keane Inc.
I LOVE beyond Knowing ...... the content is wonderfully (and characteristically) provocative.
Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, editor Law Practice Management
Your new tract is as stimulating as it is handsome. Amidst the dreariness of most professional service publications it's a delight to see something that's designed with flare. A great read - and fun too.
Simon Chester, partner, KNOWlaw Group, McMillan Binch
I LOVED beyond Knowing. Well done!
David H. Maister, author Managing The Professional Service Firm
I'll bet even you don't know how good this is. I'm brimming with ideas and thoughts generated by it. Is it on a par with Herding Cats? Easily! Herding Cats was a foundation for a way of thinking about the most vexing problems facing the professions today. beyond Knowing builds on that foundation with some extraordinary insights. This is a first step in breaking the motivation barrier - understanding that change is inevitable, and that you have the option to learn to work with it, or to be drowned by it. Knowing enables that in thoughtful leaders.
Bruce W. Marcus, author Competing For Clients and The Marcus Letter
At a recent meeting of our Asia-Pacific region in Perth, I used one or two of the questions in your 'Beyond Knowing' book in one of the groups. The discussion that was generated was one of the most animated - and beneficial - that I have heard for a long time.
James Mendelssohn, Executive Director, MacIntyre Strater International Ltd
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I am pleased to announce that beyond KNOWING has garnered a top award for design excellence in a judged competition in Los Angeles. Other entries were from throughout North America. Thank you for the creative opportunity. This is a major award.
Byron Dowler, President, CoastLines Creative Group