October 23, 2012

On the Horizon for Law Practice Management

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By Tom Grella

This summer I listened to a recording by leadership speaker and author Todd Duncan. Duncan is a marketing expert who has left sales and now primarily teaches the leadership principals he learned over years of experience in the marketplace. After listening to the recording, I realized that the LPM Section, and its members, could learn a few things from the principles that Duncan discusses on the topic he calls “self-leadership.”

At the ABA Annual Meeting in August, I talked about Duncan’s six principles of effective self-leadership, and how I thought that what he said was so relevant to the LPM Section that, taking a little liberty, I would call them the “Six Principles of Successful Section Leadership.” You might consider application of these in your law practice or any other organization. So, giving full credit to Duncan, I submit each of those principles to you here, as revised to apply to the Section:

  • Successful Section Leadership means knowing what is important to us. We need a commitment to clarity.
  • Successful Section Leadership means scheduling what is important to us. Many times we start with scheduling things that we have on a list of “to-dos” before we know what is actually (or should be) important to us.
  • Successful Section Leadership means doing what is important to us. The key is action.
  • Successful Section Leadership means completing what is important to us. Finishing needs to be our focus.
  • Successful Section Leadership means evaluating how we are doing in the areas that are important to us. Improvement needs to be what we pursue as a goal.
  • Successful Section Leadership means learning from our mistakes. Failure needs to be our friend, in a way that makes us willing to take calculated risks. At the same time, we should keep accurate records of what works and what does not, as well as continually adhere to the wise saying that if we listen well, history will not have to repeat itself.

For more on how these principles are being applied in this year’s Section planning, please go to www.lawpractice.org, where my Annual Meeting comments are online.

This fall marks the beginning of a major transition for Law Practice. Editor-in-Chief Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, having provided many years of dedicated service to the magazine, will be pursuing new paths following the December issue. Although she is still with us for a couple more months, I mention Merrilyn’s transition here because she has exemplified the type of visionary leadership that I hope for in every area of the Section. The magazine is one of our most valuable member resources, and Merrilyn has steadfastly led its Editorial Board and editors in knowing exactly what is important to our members, publishing articles on those points of importance, and continually evaluating the magazine’s progress, so as to learn from the past and adjust for the future. I thank her for being the type of leader that I aspire for all of our Section leaders to be.