October 23, 2012

How to Create a Sense of Urgency

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December 2007 Issue | Volume 33 Number 8 | Page 11

Law Firm Strategy

How to Create a Sense of Urgency

Advice for promoting change even when a firm is doing well.

Change usually proceeds from a perception of immediate necessity. But when business is good and the firm is doing well, your partners don't see any reason to change. So how do you create any sense of urgency?

  • Define a situation that needs attention. Invite all the partners to assess how well the firm is currently performing. Ask them to suggest how the firm can overcome identified shortcomings. Form a task force comprised of partners willing to define the scope, capabilities, parameters or requirements that an "ideal" approach should have.
  • Help people see the consequences. Identify the resulting problems and possible consequences of not making changes. For example, what happens to your firm when the baby boomer partners start retiring en masse and haven't handed over the care and custody of some of the firm's premier clients?
  • Make the business case for your initiative in irrefutable terms. Express the perils facing your firm and its ability to serve clients. Continually repeat your message for the need to change through every communication and educational channel available. Invite experts in for brown-bag lunches to talk about related new trends and developments. Have managing partners or practice leaders from affiliated law firms visit to speak peer-to-peer with partners.

Your challenge is to help people see what changes need to take place and then let them figure out for themselves how the changes can best be implemented.

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.