Yes… who are you? We don’t think about this question often. The answer is the essence of your personal brand. But… most lawyers tend to think the answer is simple. You are a lawyer and your practice area is XYZ. But is that WHO you are to clients and colleagues… really?
Great opera singers don’t have to be reasonable or kind. They sing like no one else, that’s why you hired them, and why they get to (are expected to) act like divas…
So the thinking goes.
The traditional scarcity model implied some sort of inverse relationship between service and quality… If someone was truly gifted, of course they didn’t have the time or focus to also be kind or reasonable or good at understanding your needs. A diva was great partly because, we decided, she was a jerk.
I think that’s changing, possibly forever, for a bunch of reasons:
- The state of the art is now easier to find. Word spreads about behavior and service faster than ever. As a result, customers quickly become aware of what a raw deal they’re getting from this supposedly gifted individual.
- It’s so much easier to deliver better service (Dr. Diva, please send me an email if you’re running late!) that we’re far less forgiving.
- Since just about any intelligent and caring person can use technology and a bit of humility to deliver better service (see above), we start to wonder whether that diva provider actually is intelligent and caring. And if he isn’t, it doesn’t really matter if he has some sort of skill, because uncaring hands are worth avoiding.
- With fewer great gigs available (even in opera), it’s not so easy to act like a jerk (or be insulated and uncaring) and still get work.
So… who are you? Compassionate or uncaring? Kind or insulting? Patient or impatient? It is your personal brand and you have a choice… every single day. Who do you WANT to be? Chose it! There are more lawyers to fill the needs of clients then there are clients… why would a potential client hire you! Because they connect with you… that my friends happens on a human level NOT an intellectual level. Say goodbye to the diva!