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    Archive for November, 2013
    A Mary Poppins Moment
    Friday, November 29th, 2013

    ♫  If you reach for the heavens
    You get the stars thrown in
    Anthing can happen
    … go and chase your dreams
    you won’t regret it
    Anything can happen
    Anything can happen…♫

    Music and Lyrics by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman.

    mary poppins


    Mary Poppins!  Now just what does she have to do with law practice management?  The Broadway Musical version is currently playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage in Vancouver and if you are looking for an absolutely charming show this holiday season that will sweep you and everyone that you bring along into its magic that is practically perfect in every way, this is it.  The acting is simply superb – the challenge for the actors on in taking such a well-known production to the stage is for them to place their own stamp on the characters and make them distinct enough from the 1964 movie which starred Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews to make it come alive and take you along with them. This production excels in that regard and the story unfolds before your eyes, assisted by clever sets, imaginative moving backdrops and some incredible special effects.  The Stanley doesn’t have an orchestra pit yet the musical director has managed to fit the musicians somewhere backstage and have the story flow to their wonderful score.

    So how does all this relate to law practice management?  Managing a law practice is all about leadership, vision and change.  As Bill Millerd, the Artistic Managing Director of the Arts Club says in his message about the production:

    “Theatre can effect change …..and although we often go to the theatre for its ability to entertain us, the incredible history of theatrical writing has given us works that transform the way we look at life.  Great works of art do that, and theatre, because of the special nature of the live medium, can transform us in more provocative ways.”

    The message is a strong one – reach for the heavens and go and chase your dreams.  Anything can happen!

    Just remember to look for the Hidden Mickey!

    Posted in Change Management, humour, personal focus and renewal, Tips | Permalink | No Comments »
    2014 Predictions!
    Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

    ♫  Let’s tell the future
    Let’s see how it’s been done
    By numbers, by mirrors, by water
    By dots made at random on paper…♫

    Lyrics, Music and recorded by Susan Vega.


    (images: and – creative commons licence)

    The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create it” has been variously attributed to many authors, particularly Dennis Gabor.

    Accordingly this is a call for all gentle readers to contribute their tips and predictions for 2014!  Last year we heard from Stephanie Kimbro, Nate Russell, Tom Spraggs, Richard Granat, Jean Francois De Rico, Mitch Kowalski, John Zeleznikow, Andrew Clark, Colin Rule, Robert Denney, Ross Fishman, Noric Dilanchian, Steve Matthews and of course, Jordan Furlong.

    I think that this is the most interested series of posts in the year and so I invite everyone to submit a post and we all can see what everyone thinks the future of law and legal practice will be like!

    Let’s tell the future!

    Posted in Adding Value, Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Fraud and theft, humour, I'm a Mac, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Make it Work!, personal focus and renewal, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 9 Comments »
    Create Your Personal Brand
    Monday, November 18th, 2013
    ♫ What do you do when you’re branded,
    Will you fight for your name? ♫
    Lyrics and music by Dominic Frontiere and Alan Alch, recorded for the TV series Branded.

    personal branding

    The American Bar Association, Law Practice Division has just published “Personal Branding in One Hour for Lawyers“, a new book by Katy Goshtasbi.

    I have to say that I was quite taken by this book.  In keeping with the “One Hour” theme, it packs a lot of thoughtful ideas into its 98 pages.  It starts out with  the expected question: “What is Personal Branding?” and takes you thru an exploration of “Why Does Your Personal Brand Matter?”  I particularly liked the chapter on “Is Your Personal Brand Happy?” with such sub-topics as: “Step into your Creative Brain” and “Who Cares about Joy?”.  Now you may ask what does “Joy” have to do with branding or even the practice of law?  As it turns out, quite a bit, apparently!  SO many lawyers I have talked to do not find much joy in what they do.  Yet Goshtasbi states that “People buy the products and services that ultimately bring them joy.”  If you don’t project joy in your daily life, in your career and in what you do, then how do you make your clients happy?

    Goshtasbi states: “What if you went on a campaign to make sure every legal client and prospect felt utter joy and happiness anytime they ran across you, your name, your firm name, or any mention of you and your legal services?  Your business would boom, and your ability to produce quality  legal product would increase as well.”

    Once you have grasped the fundamental point that communicating joy is key, then Goshtasbi advises you to find your natural talent and make it your intention to make sure you perform it daily to bring joy to your work as you have brought it to your life.  With that as your foundation, she then takes you on the process to establish your unique selling proposition (what sets you apart from other lawyers), visual branding, marketing materials, networking and communicating your personal brand.

    This is one book that I would highly recommend that every lawyer and in particular, young lawyers, read.  It is available online from the ABA for $49.95 (USD) or $39.95 if you are an ABA Law Practice Division member.  Now, what would you do after you are branded?


    Posted in Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    What Can We Learn in Business from Sports Coaches?
    Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

    ♫ Silver whistle and an old clipboard
    A polo shirt and a pair of gray shorts
    In that summer haze, remember those two a days
    Tougher than a 10 pound sack of nails
    He’d throw down his hat and start to yell
    At the top of his lungs, front and center, son

    What were you thinkin’ on that play?
    Take a lap and when you come back
    Maybe you’ll do things my way
    Let me tell you why I don’t let things slide
    If you can live through me, boy, you can get through life
    ‘Round here what I say goes ‘cause I’m the coach..♫

    Lyrics and music by S. Azar, Coty, A. J. Masters and recorded by  Steve Azar.


    coach 2



    This is another guest post from Beth Flynn  at the The Ohio State University Leadership Center.  I know that sports metaphors sometimes are a bit overdone in the context of business leadership and coaching, but this post struck a nerve with me and I felt it went beyond the typical stuff that is written in this regard.

    Accordingly here is Beth’s post on what we can learn from sports coaches:

    • To ask ourselves if we have communicated the goal for the team we lead.
    • In order to communicate the goal, we have to know and believe in the result we want to achieve.
    • It doesn’t matter what the goal for the year is if the people on your team don’t trust your motives.
    • You have to possess personal values that the people on your team respect. Or put a different way, they need to see a level of personal integrity on your part that gives them the confidence to follow your leadership.
    • You have to know it to lead it.
    • You have to know your business (know the sport) and be dedicated to constantly improving your knowledge of it.
    • You have to lead each individual.
    • The coach knows that his or her efforts can’t be directed at the group exclusively. He or she will have to teach the fundamentals individually to each player.
    • Create a team to be a leader.
    • The coach also knows that after the individuals know their fundamentals, it’s up to him or her to create a winning team. The coach knows that she/he has to take individuals and determine how to put them together for maximum benefit (Monastero, 2010, p. 60-63).

    From: Monastero, S. (2010). Winning at leadership: how to become an effective leader. Bloomington, IN: IUNIVERSE, Inc.

    Winning at Leadership is available from the OSU Leadership Center. Click here to borrow this resource or any other resource. Once you are on their website, click on the Spectrum icon.

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    Thanks Beth for keeping us up on leadership moments and not letting things slide!

    Posted in Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 1 Comment »