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Taking Ownership

Practice Building Strategies for New Partners

Thinking like an Owner.

 Table of Contents

July/August 2007 Issue | Volume 33 Number 5 | Page 13
Frontlines

Law Firm Strategy

For Serious Excitement, Welcome New Voices

Inbreeding leads to strategic blindness. For truly tasty insights, you need to listen to new voices.

Strategic blindness comes from too much inbreeding. It is the result of having the same partners pursuing the same conversations, about the same subjects, in the same way...and expecting different insights to emerge.

Do seriously exciting ideas—about new services, new approaches, new methods, new niches, new ways to collaborate—bubble up with great regularity from every nook and cranny of your firm? Good enough is never good enough. It is only a sure-fire recipe for becoming yesterday’s news. (And you know what pet owners do with yesterday’s news.) Innovative insights and new strategies only emerge from hearing new voices. Use these three ideas.

Look outside your walls.

Diversify the leadership voices available to your firm. Set up your own informal "advisory board” comprised of respected community and business leaders who can meet quarterly with the firm’s leadership and offer an impartial view. Have them tell you what is going on in their version of the real world.

Up the ante.

Set aside a modest, special budget to fund new experiments. Assign one partner to oversee submissions and get the word out that the firm welcomes new ideas.

Think young.

Ensure that at least one member of your firm’s executive committee is 30 years of age or younger. The younger generation has a different model for how they think about things. And if you don’t believe one of your younger professionals (partner or not) could make some tasty contributions participating on the executive committee, you are clearly suffering a bad case of truth decay!

About the Author

Patrick J. McKenna is a principal with Edge International, consults with law firms on competitive strategy, and can be reached at (780) 428-1052.

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