I'm guessing you've come here looking for some tricks, tips and insider secrets that will take you and your firm out of the doldrums and back to the land of milk and honey (known to most lawyers as as Pre 2008)
Well the good news is that there are some tips.
But like anything worth having, they are elusive.
I could suggest to you that the best way to find out exactly how the most successful firms motivate themselves is to go directly to a website with a big list...then simply follow the list. That would be too easy.
So I'll start with a story and a very short list.
About three years ago I was approached at a legal seminar by a partner of a medium sized firm. He had read this blawg after someone recommended it to him and he knew I would be at the seminar, so he had done his homework on me and decided that I might be in a position to help him and his firm. (I know that because he told me).
Anyway, we chatted for about half an hour over pre-dinner drinks and it became clear to me that not only could I help him, but I could instantly save him about £100k in "overheads" ( and that was before even letting one member of staff go). I didn't tell him this in so many words, but I did see a chance to formulate a great offer and a guarantee. After all, his traditional law firm were very nervous about letting anyone know their true financial position and wanted to be absolutely sure that any spending on "consultants" would be money well spent.
So the offer was this; I will do a free initial consultation on the firm. That takes a whole day and involves most of the staff. Following that, I will make my offer.
I will only start work with you IF I can save you at least £100k in year one. You will pay me a monthly fee. If I cannot save you AT LEAST £100k then I will return any money you have paid me plus interest at 8%.
He admitted that it was a good offer and he would speak to the partners when he got back.
That was three years ago.
I have spoken to the partner about four times in the last three years and he "...still wants to do something..."
Yeah, good luck with that. My last conversation with him in November 2012 was to say that my offer was withdrawn.
Obvious really. But I'll spell it out.
I used the guarantee because when it comes to the best way to get started, there is an easy format that states:
1. Identify something you want
2. Accept that there is something that you can actually do about it
3. It is within your means and
4. Taking action is within your level of acceptable loss (i.e the cost is minimal if the action doesn't work out)
Despite all that fitting in to place, they still have not taken action.
So, when it's put that way, there are only four logical explanations for why they are not:
2. They don't actually have the means at hand
3. The perceived cost is too high. Or
4. They are lying to themselves about what they want.
The fourth is rarely the case. Most people setting goals who say they want to get a new job, or meet someone or lose weight really do want to find new employment, find that person or get thinner. As for habit, in this case, that’s “simply” a matter of getting used to taking action.
So this means is if you aren’t taking action toward what you want, you either perceive taking action as either being too costly, or too risky. Or for a room full of law firm partners...both of these!
What’s the solution?
Reduce the cost and risk to acceptable levels, so that you could get under way.
That was done, but still no decision. The firm were too busy (or in this case they all convinced each other that they were all too busy) to make any real decisions on their future. This is commonly known as "...arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic..."
The simple fact is that they were too busy hoping that everything would return to normal and if they could just sit out the storm long enough they would be ok.
Real life is not like that and the sooner decisions are made the better.
And that's how successful businesses motivate themselves.