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I’ve spent over 30 years observing lawyers and over 10 years in direct teaching, coaching and lawyer mentoring. I’ve seen many law firms experience explosive growth and observed others puttering alone and bogged down in mediocrity. I’m frequently asked what separates the super successful law firms from average firms. And the answer is quite simple:

Almost without exception, highly successful law firms share two key traits: Leadership that is both Focused and Disciplined. 

Unfortunately, many lawyers have great ideas for how to grow their firms- Many take pages of notes at PILMMA events and are initially pumped about all the changes they want to make and new strategies they want to put in place. Yet year after year, they experience minimal growth.

The problem is that Ideas without Implementation get you nowhere.

In fact, poor implementation is one of the biggest obstacles facing law firms, or any business, for that matter. High-Achieving attorneys are focused; they keep their goals front and center. Through discipline, they consistently stick with their plan. They say “No” to other pursuits as necessary, so they can say “Yes” to the activities they’ve identified as most important to achieving their goals and taking their firms to the next level. They bring their focus and discipline to bear to overcome any obstacles along the way until they meet or exceed the goals they’ve set for themselves or their firms.

I’ve always encouraged our PILMMA members to initially set aside at least 2 hours each week to work “ON” their business. That’s just 20 minutes a day, or a single 2 hour slot of DND time devoted not to the practice of law, but to the business of growing your law firm.  Ideally, that 2-hour chunk of time should be increased to at least 8 hours per week if you really want to take your firm to the next level. And once you see that 2 hour/week commitment producing tangible results, you are much more motivated to increase your 2 hour/week commitment to 4 hours/week, and then from 4 to 6 hours each week, and so on. It all begins with the commitment to take those first steps.

Sadly, only about 20% of law firm owners will take my advice on this. That means a whopping 80% will never experience the growth that they desire and deserve.  They are rich in unfulfilled potential, and poor in tangible results and law firm growth. Their excuses are consistent: “I just don’t have time to get it done, “or “I’m just too busy, “or “I’m planning to start next quarter…”  But we all know the truth: 

People make time for what is most important to them. If you want something bad enough, you make time to do it. We all do.

Intentions are like Resolutions.

At the beginning of a new year many people resolve to lose weight and get in better shape. They buy a gym membership and do pretty good for the first 30 days, and then they begin dropping off. They start making excuses and let life get in the way. They lose focus on their fitness goals and they struggle to maintain the discipline needed to make it happen each day and each week — and there’s no accountability to anyone other than themselves. By March or April, they have given up on the fitness plan altogether.

​Now, suppose they that instead of joining a gym, they hire a personal trainer. Suddenly, they have increased their likelihood for reaching their fitness goals tenfold.  Why? Because now they have a built-in incentive to show up for each session. They have accountability.  They have more financial skin in the game.  By taking this next step, they have created an environment that increases their ability to keep the focus and maintain the discipline needed to meet their fitness goals. They also have the new advantage of strategies and tips that a personal fitness expert can bring to the table.  They are much more likely to meet or exceed their original fitness goals. They have someone holding them accountable and someone pushing them to fulfill their potential.

​If you want to get things done in your law firm — if you want to experience greater law firm growth — then ask yourself this question:

What am I going to do differently the rest of this year in order to ensure that I remain focused and disciplined so that I can meet or exceed the law firm growth goals I’ve set for my law firm this year?

​I figured out a long time ago that I’m not superhuman — I still need accountability to keep me focused and disciplined so that I am accomplishing and implementing my goals and continually moving forward.

Here are 3 specific tactics I use to create and main accountability, focus and discipline:

  • First, I always hire a strong manager or chief of operations who is prepared to call me out if I am not meeting my deadlines and benchmarks.
  • Secondly, I am a participating member in a Mastermind group comprised of other Business owners (This is in addition to facilitating PILMMA’s Masterminds). Mastermind participation means I have built in peer pressure to accomplish the goals I’ve shared with the group.  I know I don’t want to show up at the Mastermind meetings empty-handed, having failed to accomplish anything since the last meeting.
  • Lastly, I’ve always had a personal mentor or coach. This last strategy can be pretty expensive — but I’ve leaned that when I make a significant financial investment, I’m highly motivated to make the most of the experience and get the most out of my investment. My personal mentor or coach helps me remain focused on my objectives, and motivated to maintain the discipline needed to propel my business forward.

​You already know how important it is to inspect your staff’s performance.  I’ve always preached that your staff will respect what they know you inspect; it’s just human nature.  You aren’t any different than your staff in this respect. Inspection is the backbone of accountability. So, the big question is:

Who is going to inspect your progress- and hold you accountable?

​There are many personal professional coaches out there, and some are really good, while others are a waste of your time and money. If you are serious about increasing your productivity, implementation, and accountability, then you should certainly think about joining a Legal Mastermind program.  I don’t mean a “Master class”, although they can be informative. I also don’t mean a “one-size fits all” legal mastermind program. If you aren’t sure how to select a genuine legal Mastermind group that will be worth your time and truly help you fast track your firm’s scaling and productivity, then request a copy of my latest book The Mastermind Effect. I wrote the book to help law firm owners understand the powerful impact a genuine and fully-functioning Mastermind Group can have on a law firm owner’s ability to experience fast tracked exponential growth — year after year.  Although the book is a quick read, it will definitely help you select a mastermind program that will won’t end up being a glorified waste of your time and money.

The key to making law firm growth happen is Taking ACTION.  Set clear goals for what you want to achieve in your law firm this year.  Commit to making time to work ON your law firm, rather than IN it each week. And find ways to hold yourself accountable so that you maintain the focus and discipline you need to see your goals through to fruition.

You can’t achieve new and greater results doing the same thing you’ve always done (that’s the definition of insanity, isn’t it?). Make a decision today that this will be the year you experience transformational law firm growth!

For more information on PILMMA’s Mastermind Program and to see if there’s an opening in your market, visit today!