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Category Archives: People Strategy

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Open Plan offices and Darwin’s natural selection bring unexpected law firm benefits

Posted in Business Models, Change, Culture, Management, Partners, People Strategy, Trust & Respect, Uncategorized
It seems open plan offices can have some unexpected benefits, like selecting out the 'dickhead' factor. (image courtesy of BFX NZ)

Open plan offices are not new, even for law firms, and no doubt there are a couple of examples in your region. The jury does still seem to be out though in regard to the pros and cons. While there are those who proudly espouse the virtues of ‘open plan’ with benefits like: better staff… Continue Reading

Women lawyers in Australia – how you can possibly help

Posted in Australasia, Culture, Diversity, Leadership, Legal Profession, People Strategy, Trust & Respect, Values
You can help women lawyers by completing the surveys referenced in this post - please see the clickable links (Sean Larkan, Edge International)

The President of the Law Council of Australia today published a column in the ALMJ along the lines of the title of this blog post – as a request was made for readers to complete an important survey, and given the importance of the subject-matter and the tight time-frame I have taken the liberty of… Continue Reading

Your employees are far more powerful than you think

Posted in Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Partners, People Strategy, Professional Service Firms (PSFs)
Firms seldom give proper credence to the fact that power lies with their employees and even potential employees in regard to their employment brands.

Law firms don’t recognise that the balance of power in relation to their employment brand lies not in their hands, but in the hands of their employees. To make matters worse, some of this power also lies in the hands of former employees, potential employees and other “employment stakeholders” such as recruitment agencies and digital media… Continue Reading

Losing high calibre lawyers or staff – don’t see it for what it isn’t

Posted in Brand, Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy
When something bad happens the challenges is always to retain some equinimity and try not to see it for what it is. That doesn't mean not acting, but acting with depth and not on the surface of things in a knee-jerk way

Like finding the toilet roll  empty, or getting a puncture, some things never come at a good time. But, of course, these things do happen so most of us have learned to respond with equanimity and of course maybe even do a little forward planning! The same applies to losing a really top calibre lawyer… Continue Reading

Remember to walk your fence-lines

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Strategy, Trust & Respect, Uncategorized, Values
As leaders and senior managers we need to constantly remind ourselves to 'walk the fence-lines' of our organisation, keeping in touch with what is truly happening and how people are feeling - also picking up on any great achievements by anyone, or issues which are troubling someone.

My wife and I bought a small farm three years ago. As the grazing was leased out to a beef farmer the quality of the boundary fencing was paramount. The lady we purchased from told me up-front (and has reminded me ever since!) – ‘now Sean, remember to walk your fence-lines‘.  She was essentially saying… Continue Reading

Nothing, but nothing, beats accessibility, courtesy, responsiveness and reliability

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy, Personal Brand, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Trust & Respect, Values
Nothing beats being accessible, responsive and reliable. You can be the sharpest tool in the workshop, but if you can't be found, don't respond well when used or don't the job you called on to do, people will eventually tire of using you. The same applies to professionals

You can be the brightest spark in the office but if people can never get hold of you, or after they do you take ages to respond or are simply unreliable, no-one is ever sure you will do the job, professionally you are going to do yourself in. I know of one professional who is… Continue Reading

Difficult partners and angry babies have a lot in common – some EQ tips

Posted in Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy, Personal Effectiveness
Difficult partners, like angry babies can be impossible at times. You need to be geared up to deal with them and not avoid the issue.

What to do and what not to do with difficult partners was the subject of two recent posts (Leadership Frame #8 & #9). Coincidentally I came across a recent article from Travis Bradberry at Talent Smart (the EQ/emotional intelligence people) and he offered some more tips from an EQ perspective which I thought would be… Continue Reading

Leadership Frame #9: what to do with the difficult cogs in a partnership

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy, Values
Difficult partners are tough cogs to fit into the system. Sometimes exit is not an option, particularly where they are highly respected for their work, client management or contributions in other ways. This calls for thoughtful leadership and management.

Some partners are downright difficult. This makes them awkward cogs to fit into the firm set-up,  particularly where they are top producers, run important clients or contribute in other meaningful ways. And let’s face it, all too often they are and do. It is important therefore to work out an approach you can use for… Continue Reading

Leadership Frame #8: difficult partners – what not to do

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, People Strategy, Personal Effectiveness, Values
Difficult partners come in all shapes and forms. It is important that you don't default to bowing to their pressure or avoid them. Try to find the balance and keep the lines of communication open, no matter what.

Difficult partners are tough work. As a professional services firm leader or senior manager, at some stage you are going to be faced with the unenviable task of dealing with one or more. As I am sure you will confirm, they can be gnarly, hard nuts to handle. ‘Difficult’ comes in various shapes and forms…. Continue Reading

Leadership Frame #7: the next challenge – align your various strategies

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy, Strategy, Uncategorized
Ensuring that firm, people, marketing and brand strategy aligns and does not conflict is one of the biggest challenges of strategic planning

Strategies which have been developed by professional service firms for areas such as finance, people, marketing, brand or innovation must align with and support a firm’s overall strategy. This alignment is important for both internal (partner and staff) and external (client and other stakeholder) consumption. Small firms might say this is only for the larger… Continue Reading

Thought Leadership tips for leaders – interview with Think Write Grow author Grant Butler: Part Two

Posted in Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, People Strategy, Personal Brand, Personal Effectiveness, Thought Leader, Thought Leadership
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Last week in Part One of this series Think Write Grow author Grant Butler defined thought leadership, talked about making thought leadership happen in practice and confirmed that just about anyone can become a thought leader. In this Part Two interview we cover thought leadership and personal brand, building trust as a benefit of thought… Continue Reading

Personal Brand work-shop by Pod Consultancy

Posted in Brand, Management, People Strategy, Personal Brand
Brand You Its Personal

Definitely worth consideration! A special workshop being run by my colleague Shirley Anne Fortina of Pod Consulting –  BrandYOU It’s Personal to be held at Karstens Conference Centre, 123 Queen Street Melbourne on the 16th September 2011.  Here is the brochure (PDF). The program is: for those individuals who need to take time out of their… Continue Reading