When Heidi K. Gardner, PhD presented at the January 2017 Marketing Partner Forum, the slide shown above was likely the one that caught the most attention in the room -- and with good reason.
Collaboration is the Key
Dr. Gardner’s research focuses on leadership and collaboration in professional service firms, and shared her findings from her study of law firms, the way lawyers work with each other, and the ways clients want to work with them. Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos is Gardner's book summarizing the study. To be clear, Gardner means smart collaboration, as opposed to cross-selling.
Business Value of Collaboration
Gardner makes the business case for collaboration from a revenue standpoint as well as a team-building, knowledge-development process. She explains how someone with a lone-wolf style and someone who wants to collaborate but fears loss of control or quality of service can each learn how to work together for the benefit of the client, and for improved efficiency among the attorneys. For example, she explains how collaboration can help drive reputation and referrals.
Smart Collaboration includes anecdotes and examples from actual firms. In the graph above, Gardner illustrates one firm's data of two attorneys (Jen and Kim are not their real names). Placing both attorneys with the same number of referrals (5) at the start of the year, attorney Jen strives to build her collaboration network by both accepting referrals and sending work to others. The number of work referrals she received from new contacts and previous collaborators has risen significantly. (See pages 134-35, Smart Collaboration.)
Smart Collaboration discusses lateral hiring for better results, attracting Millennials, solutions to potential barriers to collaboration, and outlines ways to structure compensation to support and encourage collaboration. The pinnacle benefits of employing smarter collaboration are clear: it will give you broader perspective on clients' problems and deepens employees' sense of engagement.
The closing chapter gives voice to clients who appreciate and welcome collaboration. Why? Because as Gardner says:
APRIL 26: Spring Legal Mindstorm -- Remarkable changes are coming to the field of law, and with greater speed than any changes in the past five years.
This afternoon seminar will provide an ethics CLE session (0.50 pending) followed by interactive discussion regarding the new technologies and changes facing legal practice today and the future practice of law, including: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Chatbots, Smart Collaboration, the Death of Expertise, Non-Lawyers, and more.
Register now: bit.ly/FCCStorm17 - price goes up on April 25th.
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, from specific projects to global change management. Contact us to arrange a free consultation.