Collaboration & Client Loyalty Resource: Smart Collaboration (1 of 2)

Collaboration has been the buzz all year.  (Wait – we’re only in March…)  Yes, but I think that the Collaborative Economy will be awakened in more of the legal landscape this year – partly driven by mere awareness of how collaboration and the Collaborative Economy are capturing the non-legal business world, and partly driven by the findings of Heidi K. Gardner, Ph.D.  

I have followed the Collaborative Economy for a while through my involvement with Social Media Dallas, Social Media Marketing World, and other digital and marketing-related interests.  It’s high time that Collaboration comes to legal in a big way – because In-House has been asking for this for years.  Before we get to Dr. Gardner, I refer you to what I have seen for the past 20 years -- when I first got into legal marketing, and it’s the same thing I emphasize (harp on?) today, because it is the number one thing that in-house wants -- that you (most of you) still aren’t doing:  asking for client feedback.  

Client feedback is a great way to understand where you are on the spectrum of the client’s satisfaction, and where you have room to repair, grow, and expand the relationship.  By reaching out to the client for information – you would be in effect initiating collaboration.  You want to know what the client thinks so you can continue to deliver to their satisfaction and contentment.  They want you to ask because it shows a deeper interest beyond mere order-taking, and a willingness on your part to share their load and to lighten their load.  Plus, the more you become ware of their business goals, constraints, and headaches, outside of or in addition to legal, the better equipped you will be to deliver, as well as create something new.

Enter Dr. Gardner.  Her study, encapsulated in her book, "Smart Collaboration,” focuses not only on entities coming together for mutual work or benefit – but ensuring that the collaboration is smart, in the sense that it achieves exemplary results and incorporates all of the group's unique knowledge.  She was featured in FT’s Innovative Lawyers in December 2016, and spoke at the Legal Executive Institute's Marketing Partner Forum produced by Thomson Reuters, where she keynoted & shared some of her more notable findings.

I am making my way through her book & will share a summary late this month.

Meanwhile, if you would like to learn more about the Collaborative Economy, consider Jeremiah Owyang, founder of Crowd Companies.

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