Firm Leadership

Rants, Raves, Rebuttals, Reflections, Revelations & Ruminations

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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

Post #891 – August 11, 2021

Be Dominant Somewhere Rather Than Mediocre Everywhere


From your firm’s perspective: is each practice truly profitable, is the practice worth committing further resources toward developing, or what would the downside be if we were not to provide these services?  Indeed, could we somehow fine-tune or reposition this business unit so as to be regarded as the preeminent authorities in some new niche or selective area of client need? 


While many firms engage in some form of strategic planning, only a few really come to realize that having three to five truly strong practices is preferable to having a good number of mediocre practices that serve only to consume resources, dilute profits and diffuse strategic focus.  Firms and their business units need to clearly articulate what their selective focus is.  Imagine having as a compelling challenge and managing your firm consistent with a strategy that states: “We will have as integral to our firm, only those business units that are clearly number one, two, or three in every market we serve.” 


Read this Article


Post #890 – August 4, 2021

Unintended Consequences of Being Addicted to Commodity Work


One firm leader commented to me that while "most fans of efficiency are very strong on the left-brain – any innovation very much starts in the right hemisphere.”  Thus, the “define, measure, analyze, improve, control" mind-set doesn't entirely gel with the fuzzy front-end of invention.  When some new revenue generating idea starts germinating, you don't want to overanalyze it, which can happen in an efficiency obsessed cultural framework.  

That said, one wonders whether this propensity to simply accept commodity work as a natural way of legal life is not indicative of an addiction. 

Here are some examples:

• We don’t pay as much attention to our overall Brand Image

(Do we care that some work we do might actually demean our public profile?) 

• We reward partners for doing shit work

(Are we over-rewarding some who have large billable hours?) 

• We don’t force proper delegation

(Are we negating our promise to clients to have their work done at the proper level?) 

• We don’t focus on longer-term market innovation opportunities 

(Are we demoralizing those who have some ambition?) 


Being addicted to commoditized work is the result of strategy decay – and strategy decay is like cancer – it happens little by little and the longer you take to deal with it, the more deadly it becomes.

Read this Article


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