Why is it so difficult to express your vision? We can breakdown this formidable task for law firms like this:
- In our first interview we learn what you would like. In general, you want to make a profit and since you created a law firm, you want to do that by selling legal services.
- Further discussion reveals other hidden wants like;
- Enhance the reputation of the firm or the attorney owner
- Be known for good client service
- Be known as the best law firm to work for
OK, so now we have a start on what the real vision is. Your initial vision is to sell legal services for a profit. Good, but this does not represent a market leader. I know what you want to do but nothing that makes you stand out from hundreds of other law firms. So, let’s define who your clients are and how you serve them better than any other law firm. Start thinking about what you want to do better than anyone else.
- Are you the most economical service, the best client service, the most popular, the most accurate, the best turn-around time, etc.?
- What are you really selling?
Be a little creative here. A lot of coffee shops sell coffee, but the market leader sells that early morning waker upper. So do you sell worry free real estate closings, peace of mind, justice, revenge, or perhaps something else? What makes you stand out in the crowd? What is your unique business proposition or what most marketing people call your Unique Selling Proposition? The actual definition is “the factor or consideration presented by a law firm as the reason that their service is different from and better than that of the competition”.
Now that we have that piece of information, we can define what your mission is. Ever stand back and wonder why your staff just doesn’t get it? Perhaps they were never told. What is your goal? What is it that you want your team to do? Perhaps the team’s mission is one of these;
- Show a profit
- Have no complaints
- Show no late payments
- Have the best settlements
- Have the best court room win record
We are getting closer to what you really want. After some thought perhaps your vision is to sell legal services, for a profit, while establishing the best client service in the industry. Sounds reasonable, so how would you do that? The first step would be to define some goals or expectations. The list of goals may look like this;
- Each area of the business will show a profit and in fact a positive trend in profits. Your goal may be to increase your Return on Investment by 10% this year.
- Our client service will be positive based on measurements unique to the area of law the team works on. Your goals may be;
- A positive client survey
- No complaints
- On time performance
- Higher than predicted settlements
The second step is to sell your unique business proposal to your team and make it a source of pride. I would go even further and say make it a condition of employment.
There are at least four driving forces that create results. We start with the vision which leads us to a service and selling it which leads to results. There are three other drivers that will impact your results. Your passion for the business will affect your communication about your business. What you measure and gather feedback on will impact your performance, so your scorecard is important. Then there are your values that will drive behavior and set the tone for your work culture. All of these drivers should develop expectations that should be communicated to your team. If you can establish the four drivers so that they act in concert and are consistent in execution you will produce consistent positive results.
Now look at each area of law or each team that makes up your law firm and see if each one can satisfy the four areas and produce results. You may have to tweak the vision and the mission some for your law firm but this should provide a starting point for you. I would be interested in seeing your results.