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Category Archives: Management

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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

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

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

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

Why law firm support service groups don’t add value, and how to fix this

Posted in Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Strategy, Trust & Respect, Uncategorized

Many support service groups in law firms do a fair job of delivering their services and work hard at doing it, but beyond that, do not ‘add value’. That is a fairly common observation we have when we undertake firm reviews for clients and my own experience having run large law firms in three jurisdictions…. Continue Reading

The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs – for legal leaders – PART THREE

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Strategy, Vision

As highlighted in PART ONE and PART TWO of this series, there are real leadership lessons for legal leaders from the career, achievements and life of the late Steve Jobs – who in just two stints of 9 and 14 years, founded and then transformed Apple Computer into the world’s most valuable company. These were the lessons… Continue Reading

Get to know your clients – or someone else will!

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Professional Service Firms (PSFs)

Yes, get to know your clients, or someone else will!  Law firms that fail to obtain regular feedback from their clients run the risk of: not keeping pace with their clients’ needs and expectations – and losing their work. not knowing when a client is unhappy – and losing their work. missing out on lucrative… 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

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

The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs – for legal leaders – PART TWO

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Vision

Last week I posted PART ONE of a short four-part series on the real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs, based in part on an HBR article (subscription required) of a similar title by Walter Isaacson, author of the Steve Jobs autobiography. We continue the theme today! A number  (but not all) of these provide great leadership and management… Continue Reading

The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs – for legal leaders – PART ONE

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Strategy, Vision

Walter Isaacson, author of the Steve Jobs autobiography, commented in an April 2012 Harvard Business Review article ‘The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs‘ (subscription required), that following the publication of his book many writers have tried to draw management lessons from Steve Jobs, however, most of them, incorrectly, became fixated rather on the “rough… 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

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

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 #7: the next challenge – align your various strategies

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy, Strategy, Uncategorized

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

Leadership Frame #6: Challenge your vision and strategy

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Strategy, Vision

Challenging one’s vision and strategy somehow seems counter-intuitive, especially when so much time, effort and thought has gone into putting it together. But strategy is about achieving a competitive, and ideally a dominant positioning, and challenge it you must. Professional Service Firms (PSFs) find determining and reviewing vision and strategy a real bind. A necessary… Continue Reading

Leadership Frame #5: Soft Power leadership for professional service firms

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Professional Service Firms (PSFs)

Soft Power leadership may provide a helpful framework of understanding and application for leaders or senior managers of professional service firms (PSF), particularly law firms. Undertaking a leadership role in a PSF has always presented some unique challenges around power and leadership styles.  The reason is that the traditional sources and trappings of power and… Continue Reading

Food for thought on a most valuable marketing ally: thought leadership

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Personal Brand, Personal Effectiveness, Thought Leader, Thought Leadership

In a recently published article in the Australasian Law Management Journal (ALMJ) on thought leadership as a most valuable marketing ally, I emphasized the importance of: recognising and taking advantage of valuable, untapped stores of thought leadership assets clarifying what we mean by thought leadership understanding its benefit to lawyers and their firms appreciating where… Continue Reading

Thought Leadership ideas for leaders – Part Three

Posted in Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Personal Brand, Strategy, Thought Leader, Thought Leadership

This is the final in a three-part series on Thought Leadership (click to see Part One or Two) based around an interview with Think Write Grow author Grant Butler. Himself a thought leader in his field he has provided some invaluable insights – these can be borne in mind as you ponder how to incorporate thought… Continue Reading

Beyond rituals – personal effectiveness (PE) from 2012

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Personal Effectiveness

Last year I posted a Leadership Frame on the usefulness of daily rituals (based in large measure on a post by Tony Schwartz). As most leaders will be starting to think about their personal and professional priorities for the coming year and how they are going to get everything done (rather than get caught up in the… Continue Reading

Thought leadership, pricing, knowledge management and challenges for lawyers – Q&A

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Strategy, Uncategorized, Vision

Questions on thought leadership, pricing, knowledge management & future challenges for lawyers were put to fellows of the College of Law Practice Management for the COLPM Futures Conference in Chicago recently and published in a special issue of InsideLegal’s Thought Leaders Digest last week – below are the questions & my responses: Q1 – Thought leadership… Continue Reading

Family Law practice – can it be leveraged and geographically distributed?

Posted in Australasia, Business Models, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management

I had always assumed a practice area like family law, by its nature, required direct partner intervention at every level – particularly ‘face-time’. It was also a practice that could not be commoditised. Nor could it be spread geographically. Also, unlike some other practice areas, there didn’t seem to be scope for a para-legal to… Continue Reading

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – Leadership Frame #1

Posted in Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management

Leadership Frame #1 – Emotional Intelligence (‘EQ’) In an earlier post I signaled posting  on Leadership Frames – key techniques and skills for successful leaders – simple yet effective – this is the first of the series. Leaders should understand the importance of EQ. It determines leadership success and top performers are high in EQ…. Continue Reading

Leadership Frames – essential skills and styles for leadership

Posted in Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Strategy, Vision

Leadership Frames – essential skills, techniques, processes, understandings, thinking and behavioral styles for leadership. I intend to deal with 25 to 30 of these frames over future blog posts, the first, on Emotional Intelligence, starts today. Many leaders ‘wing it’. They rely on their innate ability and don’t develop their leadership skills and learn key skills and… Continue Reading