Generally each year, I attend three conferences: one related to legal marketing and business development; Social Media Marketing World (SMMW), the social media mega-conference; and Dallas Digital Summit (DDS). I've followed @annhandley for years on Twitter and heard her at SMMW, so it was great to see her in Dallas this past December. A point from her presentation is worth consideration by the legal world:
In the slide above, Handley shows that a business (law firm, corporation, entrepreneur, non-profit) must define:
1. CULTURE: Who are you?
2. STORY: Why you do what you do
3. EMPATHY: What are you like to deal with?
Ann also suggested considering:
- What is the knowledge gap you can offer your customer?
- Smart companies don’t follow trends. They lead them.
- What story can you tell with a depth & breadth that doesn’t otherwise exist?
When you sit down to answer Handley's three questions on Culture, Story, and Empathy, follow each one up with, "Is it the TRUTH?" Often, a founder's Mission Statement becomes lost down the road. When hiring is pressed to meet a present need, it's possible to neglect ensuring the new hire will be compatible with the objective mission -- espcially if the Mission or Value Proposition has not been effectively communicated from the leadership and across teams. Soon, the culture ideal, whether realized or only dreamed, fades. Also, while there may be answers on paper as to Culture, Story, and Empathy - leadership must instill the beliefs, related purposes, and underlying practices, throughout the firm's systems. If you fail to share the vision completely, people will come up with their own version.
Thoroughly sharing the vision of the firm over and over - with leadership, staff, clients, prospects - reminds everyone of the primary goal, and that they all have a role on the team. Without cohesive and well-communicated vision, dissent and confusion may arise and negatively impact productivity, efficiency, and...culture.
If you don't lead in telling your story...others will tell it for you.
Flip Cat Consulting works with law firms, practice groups, individual attorneys, and other professionals to design marketing and business development strategy. We work onsite or remotely, on specific projects or global change management. Contact us to arrange a free consultation.