Firm Leadership

Rants, Raves, Rebuttals, Reflections, Revelations & Ruminations

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Post #901 – November 7, 2021

Where Your Industry Group Initiatives Really Fail


Unfortunately, all too often firms tend to view industry groups as a marketing platform rather than 

as a means of understanding the client’s business problems and providing them with the kind of 

knowledgeable services they need. 

Don’t let these seven factors be how your clients describe your industry initiatives.


This article is an excerpt from my soon-to-be-released 

new 17 Chapter / 200+ page e-Book entitled, 

"Industry Specialization: Making Competitors Irrelevant"

Post #900 – October 21, 2021

Why Did Lawyers Ever Adopt the “Transactional” Label?

I’d heard this a number of times over the years from clients but was struck by an article authored by the editor of strategy+ business (PwC) wherein he states that “Transactional has become something of a DIRTY WORD in the business world.  It suggests a short-term, one-off mindset and a commoditized approach to value.  Nobody wants transactional relationships.” 

Meanwhile if we search “transactional lawyer” we get over 200,000 Google results and are informed that “transactional lawyer is also known as a business lawyer, and transactional lawyers counsel individuals and organizations on the legal issues generated by their business dealings.”  We are even informed that as a young lawyer “if you are not sure you want the life or work style of a litigator, then maybe you should consider the practice area of transitional law.”  So I guess it is a practice area, the one that in the old days, used to be called Corporate or Business.

What Does the Word “Transactional” Really Mean?

A true transactional undertaking is built upon an expectation for reciprocation – and by its definition it suggests strongly that there is absolutely NO interest in building a relationship or seeking to collaborate on any long-term basis.  Both individuals are concerned only with how they will each benefit.  Individuals are self-serving, such that the lawyer wants to ensure that they can get as much money as possible for a set amount of work in return.  Within any transactional undertaking, bonds are broken the moment one party does not hold up their end.  Therefore, these undertakings tend to be highly fragile.

Now is that really the impression your firm wants to project?  And how do you label yourselves Transactional Attorneys while also claiming to be obsessed with delivering value and client service which tends to be RELATIONSHIP driven.

A true collaborative relationship is meant to be long term where both parties are willing to make sacrifices for the sake of their bond.  They are both concerned with the perspective, interests, and needs of the other party and have a commitment to each other’s success.  To a certain extent, individuals are willing to give without expecting anything in return.  This helps to build a strong longer-lasting attachment that is difficult to break. 

If we really care what client’s think, and accept that the term “transactional” may be undignified, maybe we need to expunge this term from our collective vocabulary.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Post # 899 – October 13, 2021

Thought Leadership Research Results


My colleagues at Thinkers360 announced the release of their 2022 B2B Thought Leadership Outlook Research Report.  The purpose of the research was to better understand current and future trends with regard to both thought leadership creators – such as individuals, agencies and brands – and thought leadership consumers; and their plans for 2022.



• For those consuming thought leadership:

It’s all about Insight and Relevance – The key is insightful (95%), forward-looking (90%) and relevant (89%) content that’s engaging and impactful.

Authors (52%), Academics (39%), Influencers (36%) and  Consultants (35%) are the primary sources of thought leadership content.

Building subject matter expertise (84%), informing strategy (82%) and aiding decision making (75%) are the main motivations


• For those creating thought leadership:

Competitive differentiation (81%), brand perception (80%) and client trust (74%) are the main business benefits of thought leadership content creation.

63% consider thought leadership a Top 3 Priority or higher within their sales and marketing strategies for 2022.


Thinkers360 is an opt-in network of the world’s foremost thought leaders — including academics, advisors, analysts, authors, consultants, executives, influencers and speakers — with over 100M followers on social media combined. 


As I was involved in the initial development of the survey questions and the promotion of this research, I’m pleased to share a copy of the survey results here

Post #898 – October 8, 2021

Great Lesson on Stress

A young lady confidently walked around the room with a raised glass of water while leading a seminar and explaining stress management to her audience. 

Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'Half empty or half full?'  She fooled them all. "How heavy is this glass of water?" she inquired with a smile.  Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. 

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter.  It depends on how long I hold it. 

If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." 

She continued, "and that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on." 

As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night.  Pick them up again tomorrow if you must. 

(The origin of this story is unknown, but I loved it and hope you do to)


Post #897 – September 30, 2021

Four Critical Coaching Questions


Here are 4 Coaching Questions every leader should be asking the Partners on their team

right NOW:

1.         “Do you believe you are adding real value or simply passing along legal information to our clients?  
In other words, my beloved partner, what is it that you can specifically do for clients today, that you could NOT do for them at this same time last year?”

2.         “What do you need to do, in the time that you have available right now, to build your skills and reinforce your opportunities so that you can have an even more successful practice?”

3.         “Are you sufficiently plugged into what is happening around you and inside your client’s industry, such that you can interpret whatever is transpiring and be the source of proactive counsel – before the client has to ask?”

4.         “Are you trying out any new ideas, new techniques, new technologies and I mean personally trying them, not just reading about them? 

Or, are you waiting for others to figure out how to innovate and re-engineer your practice – (and re-engineer you . . . right out of that practice)?”


Post # 896 – September 23, 2021

What Is A Leader?


Having trained hundreds of practice and industry group leaders over the past 20 years one of the first things we talk about is . . . “what is a leader?”  And it is not about elusive attributes, esoteric characteristics or aspirational nonsense. 


 It all comes down to day-to-day behavior and this for me, provides some great examples of what the best leaders do:

Post #895 – September 3, 2021


What High Performing Group Leaders Do: Coach Partners One-On-One

In BC (Before Covid) any form of coaching or mentoring was fairly accidental – either by way of a hallway greeting (“So, how’s it going?”) or reactive to someone sticking their head in your doorway (“Got a minute?”) 

BUT, in the highest performing firms, both BC and in a virtual world, real coaching and mentoring is a very disciplined, purposeful and deliberate process, which goes a long way to explaining why these firms are the high performers!


Online reader version:


PDF Download:


Post #894 – September 1, 2021

More Strategic Thought Provokers.

Further to my earlier article, here are the final six snippets:

• Approach Strategy by “BackCasting” – Moving from The Future Back.

Research has shown that people who use the current situation and project in a linear fashion tend to be overly optimistic.  

• Beware the Obstacles to Executing Your Best Intentions.

Some partners believe that implementing the strategy and “getting their hands dirty” is beneath them.

• Where Do You Spend Your Management Time?

There is a powerful gravitational pull that unconsciously moves us toward fixing things instead of innovating, toward reacting rather than being proactive.  

• Quantify and Communicate Real Value.

Clients need and want you to identify what adds value (as they perceive value).

• What is Your Succession Strategy?

Do you know that there is a competitive firm out there right now that is targeting the clients of your soon-to-retire partners?

• Create A Sense of Urgency.

Your challenge is to help people see what changes need to take place.


Read Article - HERE


Post #893 – August 25, 2021

Some Strategic Thought Provokers


A few brief, pragmatic snippets to pop some ideas out of your intellectual toaster:

• Fight Established Routines.

Some partners can be like those old spring-powered watches — they have to be shaken hard to get them going.   

• What’s Your Competitive Advantage?

If you do include a testimonial, make sure that there is a REAL name attached.

• Welcome New Voices.

If you don’t think one of your younger professionals could have some tasty contributions to make to your Executive Committee, you are clearly suffering a bad case of truth decay!

• Eliminate Barriers to Switching.

Ask yourself: “What keeps this person or company from becoming our client tomorrow?”

• Be A Creator of NEXT Practices.

Simply adopting someone else’s best practice may not be your best practice after all!

• What’s Your Skills-Building Strategy?

The half-life of knowledge is decreasing at a furious rate.  


Read Article - HERE

Post #892 – August 18, 2021


Be ORIGINAL Rather Than Imitating Competitors


Many view other competitors, their strategies, their performance and experience as the benchmark from which to set standards for their own firm.  That kind of competitive comparison may makes sense, especially as your firm’s performance is often defined by what your peer firms are doing.  Where this approach becomes an obstruction is when the logic behind what works for some other firm, why it works and what might work for you, is not assiduously examined and thereby results in firms engaging in nothing but mindless imitation.


Consider these examples drawn from my observations and experiences:

• You imitate the EFFECTS of success rather than the cause,

• You believe and subsequently copy things you read and hear that other firms are SUPPOSEDLY doing.

• You duplicate the most VISIBLE action you see competitors initiating.

• You BLINDLY adopt the forms, practices or strategies someone brings along from another firm.

You are not going to get ahead by imitating what your competitors are doing – “I’ll have what she’s having,” as a diner in the movie Sleepless in Seattle said to her waitress while watching Meg Ryan fake an orgasm.  When every firm chases the same strategies, they all slide inexorably into sameness and mediocrity. 


Read this Article

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