January 2022 is here in full force and the big question is, what will you do TODAY to make BIG things happen in your law firm for 2022?
While I’m not knocking a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) – sometimes it’s the little tweaks you make to your life that yield the best returns. True in life and true in your law firm. One of the reasons our best-laid plans and new year’s resolutions go awry is that we set lofty goals but lose our motivation somewhere along the way. Its why gyms are packed in January but not so much by March. Radical diets that sound great in January seem laughable by mid-year. And why many law firm owners’ BIG Goals set at the beginning of a new year turn into wishes and “maybe- next year” hopes by the middle of the second quarter.
Remember the old children’s fable about the tortoise and the hare? The little Peter-Rabbit bunny (or Bugs Bunny, depending upon your personal taste…) starts strong in his race against the slow but steady turtle. However, life gets in the way for the upstart rabbit and our hero, the little tortoise, stays the course, nose to the grindstone, and wins the race. I think Verne Harnish, in his classic book, The Rockefeller Habits, has some great insights into how we, as business owners, can create momentum for sustainable business growth and increased goal-driven results. Harnish sheds light on how we can win the race when it comes to attaining the goals we set for our law firms in the coming year. And the best part is that this simple strategy isn’t rocket science. Moreover, it takes only about 7 minutes a day!
This simple 7-minute strategy will not only help you set your firm on track to meet your goals in 2022 but will also help you increase law firm communication, heighten employee motivation, and strengthen your firm’s culture. Sound too good to be true? I’ll admit I was a skeptic when our company began putting this 7-minute strategy into place a few years ago. But now that it has become a firmly established business practice, I can say without hesitation that this simple strategy has helped our company stay on track to achieve our quarterly and yearly goals while also helping to solidify our company’s culture and increase quality communication and productivity.
This simple 7-minute strategy centers around creating a short but powerful meeting and communication structure that increases your company’s ability to IMPLEMENT your goals and objectives for the year. The basic idea is to set short daily “huddle meetings” that last just a few minutes (7 minutes or so), followed by slightly longer and more detailed weekly meetings and a regular monthly meeting. Structured and streamlined meetings, properly executed, can accomplish a great deal in keeping everyone motivated, productive, and working together to further common firm goals and objectives. It’s simple but powerful – It’s the slow and steady strategy that wins the race.
Now you may be thinking, “This sounds like too many darn time-wasting meetings.” But there is a method to the madness: When the meetings are kept short and sweet, the time commitment is minimal, but the ROI is significant. The challenges you face are real: In a dynamic company or law firm, numerous challenges can impede even a dedicated team and thwart your ability to achieve your goals and objectives. It is easy to start strong, with clear goals set at quarterly or yearly firm meetings, only to find that the projects fall off the map and are not fully implemented by year’s end. Too many balls are dropped somewhere along the way.
Another struggle is keeping everyone on the same page. Even when everyone is working, it’s easy for the left hand not to know what the right hand is doing. Bottlenecks clog productivity. Priorities run amuck. Time is wasted when simple problems go undetected. In a busy law firm, there is a tendency for each department to be consumed with its own agendas. The firm may begin to feel like a conglomeration of tiny firms, with each department doing its own thing. Lack of communication seems inevitable. Employees lose sight of your primary goals, as well as your firm’s core values. They fail to see how their daily tasks fit into the big picture. Firm culture can quickly become one of apathy and mundane to-do lists, rather than excitement and recognition of how each daily step brings everyone closer to the end goals.
It’s easy to end up with a collection of indifferent employees rather than a powerful group of intelligent, compassionate, and committed team players working together for common goals.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Simple, structured, and streamlined meetings can go a long way towards crushing the challenges that impede your firm’s productivity and increase your firm’s ability to hit the mark and achieve the goals you’ve set for 2022. Take the time to systemize simple firm meetings that are held daily and weekly. It may sound too easy to be effective but don’t underestimate the power of simplicity. These meetings aren’t timewasters.
The 7-minute daily huddle, followed up with a focused weekly meeting and regular monthly meetings, saves time in the long run and can go a long way towards helping you achieve the goals you set for 2022. You’ll also avoid many challenges highlighted above that sabotage results for so many law firms. Here’s a Road Map for Setting up this Simple but POWERFUL Strategy for Getting it done in 2022:
- The 7-minute Daily Power-up or “huddle “Meeting:
These are BRIEF meetings involving all key staff members. If you are a small firm, this daily meeting can be firm-wide. If you are a more large firm, consider meeting with key staff or department heads for 7 minutes- They, in turn, can immediately have a similar 7-minute only meeting with their staff. In this way, even a large company can conceivably host a daily meeting with every single team member in less than 30 minutes a day!
The Details: These are stand-up meetings. Think of a gathering by the water cooler or in the corner of the foyer and not a seated board room meeting. This is designed to be a quick, touch-based format and not a lengthy, in-depth agenda. With that in mind, no sitting down is allowed. If you are not in one building, consider a telephone conference call. (that’s how we do it in PILMMA since our team is spread out across the country.) The idea is that these are brief and to the point meetings. Set them for an odd time at the start of the business day, like 9:17 or 8:42.
The Format: Each person takes turns and, in about 30 seconds, shares three important points: 1) their WIN from yesterday, 2) what they are STUCK on now if anything, and 3) their PRIORITY for Today.
This short and sweet format gives everyone an idea of what each other is doing and creates motivation and accountability. If anyone is stuck on something, they aren’t languishing alone on the issue and wasting a day or two. If someone else in the group has a helpful solution to a team member’s sticking point, they can share it privately after the huddle. This also gives you critical insights into your employees’ workloads and priorities. You have the immediate opportunity to shift priorities as needed up front rather than finding out a week later that what you thought was on an employee’s front burner had been relegated to the back burner. For a team to work together, it helps if every player understands the game plan and keeps the ball moving forward each day. These short daily huddle meetings can help you keep your firm working effectively, efficiently, and with clearer vision and feedback.
- The Weekly Meeting:
The Weekly Meeting is longer than the daily huddle but should still take no more than 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the amount of ground you want to cover.
Format: Everyone Shares 3 Critical pieces of feedback with the group. 1) What we should START DOING, 2) What we should STOP DOING, and 3) What we should KEEP DOING.
Your staff and associates are on the ground floor, getting the work done and using the systems you have put in place. They often have ideas and insights about what is working and not working. When employees and staff feel that their opinions are welcomed, it increases their motivation and their commitment to your firm. By giving them a vital voice and a safe place to share their observations and ideas, you will be surprised at the insights you will likely receive. It’s a win-win.
The weekly meeting is also a time to address 1 or 2 specific issues that need attention. Having everyone involved can identify and solve challenges efficiently and before they become big problems. This is also a terrific opportunity to reiterate firm core values, focusing on one per week, etc. PILMMA has successfully implemented this daily and weekly meeting format from the Rockefeller Habits. We are more motivated, more focused, and the firm culture is stronger. Most importantly, we are IMPLEMENTING our Goals more rapidly, with increased communication.
If your curiosity is piqued and you want to know more about the “Rockefeller Habits” that jump-start productivity and improve firm communication and culture, then check out Verne Harnish’s books, The Rockefeller Habits, and Scaling UP. These books have revolutionized many businesses around the globe, helping them skyrocket their profits and productivity. More importantly, make sure you hear his upcoming keynote at PILMMA’s 2022 Super Summit in New Orleans, June 27-30, 2022. This 3-day Super Conference is going to be a MAJOR event in Legal Marketing and Management. It’s a do-not-miss event if you are a law firm owner who is serious about law firm growth.
PILMMA is all about giving lawyers the tools and techniques they need to achieve greater growth, increased profits, and a better quality of life. You can Make 2022 the year you truly knock it out of the ballpark and achieve bigger results than you ever have in the past. Commit to putting these simple strategies in place. Sometimes in life, the little things produce the most powerful results.