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    July 30th, 2007

    Ya know it’s true
    Everything I do – I do it for you…

    Words and music by Bryan Adams, Mutt Lange and Michael Kamen.

    I have been reading the Ohio State University Leadership Center’s weekly email on leadership for some time. In particular, I have been looking for information on how a law firm can ‘close the gap’ between the difficulty that a client may have in perceiving the value that lawyers bring to their client’s problems and the actual services rendered. Like it or not, legal services are not terribly ‘tangible’ and lawyers face a continual challenge in communicating their value to their clients. As such the Ohio State leadership email struck a chord in terms of focusing a law firm leader’s work in a law firm directly on the client. It sets up a measuring stick to use in terms of determining if any proposed action will ultimately ‘add value’ to the client. Their post was as follows:

    Five Expectations of Customer Leadership

    1. “Every leader needs to be able to hear the customers ‘voice’ in everything they do.

    2. Leaders who are aware of customer needs should be customer advocates, whether others in the organization are or not.

    3. Leaders need to implement only those changes that are customer driven.

    4. Leaders need to be knowledgeable about the entire value chain of how work is delivered to the customers and ensure that the value chain interdependencies work efficiently and effectively.

    5. All objectives and measures for leaders (and their teams) need to be articulated with a clear connection to the value that the objectives create for the external customer (Weiss, 2005, p.58-61).”

    Reference: Weiss, D. S. (2006). The leadership gap: building leadership capacity for competitive advantage. Mississauga, ON: John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd.

    Milton Zwicker, a lawyer in Orillia, Ontario has been writing in this area for decades and was one of the first ‘law firm client advocates’ that I can recall. He has spoken and written long and hard on the need to focus on the client and on how one orients a law firm around the concept of client service and value. In this context, the advice from D.S. Weiss is apt – before making any change, take a moment and ask if this particular change is one that is client driven. If a proposed change does not add value from the client’s viewpoint, then perhaps greater thought needs to be put into the proposed change and the reasons behind it. After all, when a leader looks around at the hub of activity before him or her in the office, they want to be able to say that ‘everything they do, they do for you…’.



    This entry was posted on Monday, July 30th, 2007 at 10:27 am and is filed under Adding Value, Change Management, Firm Governance, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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