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Category Archives: Values

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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

Get Tough on the Little Things and Impact the Big Things

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Values
Allowing partners to consistently be late for meetings, fiddle with mobile devices or take calls, even if done quietly is tantamount to what is depicted here; chaos, rudeness and ultimately will cause a break-down of communication and respect. Leaders need to nip this in the bud and set the example in doing so. (Sean Larkan, Edge International)

Sometimes leaders  need to be tough on some of the little things. These can have significant ramifications which are not always immediately obvious. However, because the benefits are not obvious, or seem unimportant at the time, many leaders don’t address them, also possibly feeling that they don’t want to be ‘petty’. However, as we saw… Continue Reading

Many firms seek pre-eminence; few realise there is a price to pay

Posted in Brand, Partners, Strategy, Values, Vision
Many firms seek pre-eminence or some version of it. If they are truly serious about such a vision, the important thing to realise is that what it takes is leadership, seriously good leadership, not just at the top, but throughout a partnership. Firms that invest in this wisely reap the rewards. (Sean Larkan, Edge International)

Many law firm partners want their firm to either be pre-eminent or to seek pre-eminence. Few realise that there is a serious price to pay. Look at the vision statements of most firms and chances are you will find words like ‘successful’, ‘leading’, ‘premier’, ‘top’ or similar. Nothing at all wrong with that. But the… Continue Reading

Beware the manager who speaks with a forked tongue

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Trust & Respect, Uncategorized, Values
Forked tongue Sharon Larkan copyright

As a law firm leader one of your best returns on investment can come from appointing the right support services manager. A good manager can easily make a partner-like contribution or more to a firm. They do need to be the right calibre, the right fit and possess good levels of emotional intelligence and initiative. They… Continue Reading

Things we learn from young people

Posted in Leadership, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Uncategorized, Values
The penultimate day in a gruelling 1300km charity cycle ride

Despite the attractive laid-back hippy, flower power and surfing cultures which were around when I was young, our fairly conservative coastal-rural upbringing meant we thought more or less everything there was to learn would come through our parents. As one ‘matured’ one was tempted to think the youth of today had it easier and was… 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

The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs – just one more thing: PART FOUR (final)

Posted in Brand, Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Thought Leader, Trust & Respect, Values
'They look so good you kinda wanna lick 'em'

So far we have considered some 18 leadership lessons from Steve Jobs from Parts ONE, TWO and THREE of this series and how they may be relevant for legal leaders – all based on the Walter Isaacson article it the HBR. There are some things however I wouldn’t recommned for legal leaders. So what are… Continue Reading

You gotta feel sorry for those angry, difficult partners!

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Trust & Respect, Values
The harsh reality is that you have to deal with truly difficult partners - otherwise they are a lighted fuse waiting to go off in small bursts or maybe, at some stage in a loud and damaging implosion.

It does seem like we have been laying into angry or difficult partners lately – so much so, you (almost) gotta feel sorry for them! (not really, we all know how difficult they can really be and how much time and positive energy they eat up) –  3 recent posts attest to this: Difficult partners… 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

Slater & Gordon and Russell Jones & Walker tie up confirms law firms as business-savvy innovators, not ‘merge or die’ desperadoes

Posted in Australasia, Brand, Business Models, Leadership, Legal Profession, Mergers and Acquisitions, Strategy, Uncategorized, Values
The S&G acquisition of RJ&W in the UK is a good example of successful law firms implementing carefully thought through strategy and vision

The world’s first listed legal practice, Australia’s Slater & Gordon (S&G), announced its agreement to buy national UK firm Russell Jones & Walker (RJW) for £53.8 million on the 30 January 2012.  My UK-based Edge International Partner Chris Bull joins me in this post as we consider some of the implications of this transaction and how the respective markets… Continue Reading