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In Search of Perfect Client Service Why lawyers don't seem to get it

Getting to where you want to be–it’s like going on vacation

Posted in Commentary, General

If you want to take a vacation, there are a few basic steps.

  1.  Figure out where you are.  Travel requires a starting point.
  2. Figure out where you want to go.  Tropical paradise? Check. Ski chalet? Check. Great wall of China? Check.
  3. Figure out how to get from 1 to 2.  Plane? Check. Train? Check. Automobile? Check.
  4. With figuring complete, move.  Move to computer to book travel. Move to airport.  And so on.

It’s not a complicated process.

Figuring out how to deal with the massive changes in the legal landscape and the even greater changes that are plainly now coming is not any different, though some might be harder.

  1.  Figure out where you are.  What is your firm, really?  Are you innovative? Change-resistant? Cutting edge? Wedded to quill pens?  It is hard to conduct a candid and honest self-assessment. But it is essential.  And if you delude yourself, you’ll find yourself going to O’Hare for your flight when your train leaves from Union Station.
  2. Figure out where you want to go.  What type of business will be successful in 5 years?  Don’t look farther ahead. Ten years ago, most of us didn’t have smart phones.  Now, does anyone other than my 89 year-old mother not have one?  Five years is the right time frame.  Will artificial intelligence help LPOs or start-ups capture work you are now doing?  Very probably. If so, your leverage model might not be a good thing.  Indeed, your whole business model might be a liability.  I think you get the point–figuring on where to position your business is a difficult process.  But if you don’t engage in it, start getting used to the odor of the trash heap.
  3. Figure out how to get from 1-2.  Very. Detailed. Step. By. Step. Plans.  Timelines. Burden yourself with realism.  War-game the process.  This, too, is a very difficult step. People tend to turn into Pollyanna for this stage. Don’t, unless you really want to go to O’Hare instead of the true departure station.
  4. With the figuring complete, move.  To share a quote on my partner’s wall, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”

Saving your firm for the future is not like taking a vacation, except when it is.  But remember the role a travel agent can play in making your vacation successful. The odds are, you will need help going through this process.  Ask for it.