In Black And White
Legal Business Development: Find a Way to Contribute
Anyone who has heard me speak knows that I believe EVERY lawyer in a firm should contribute to the business development efforts of his or her firm... in SOME way. I know not everyone is suited to "working a room" at a networking event, but perhaps you can be the prolific writer of a blog, or find another such way to contribute. Extraordinary client service contributes to business development, so examine every email you send for tone and friendliness; making the client feel that it is a pleasure for you to be working on their matter will go a long way. The possibilities are endless... find a way to contribute. It's not acceptable to be... too busy or... too involved in your work. Seth Godin warns...
"The cost of neutral. If you come to my brainstorming meeting and say nothing, it would have been better if you hadn't come at all.
If you go to work and do what you're told, you're not being negative, certainly, but the lack of initiative you demonstrate (which, alas, you were trained not to demonstrate) costs us all, because you're using a slot that could have been filled by someone who would have added more value.
It's tempting to sit quietly, take notes and comply, rationalizing that at least you're not doing anything negative. But the opportunity cost your newly lean, highly leveraged organization faces is significant.
Not adding value is the same as taking it away."
Sooner or later, being neutral sucks all the oxygen right out of the firm. Step up and take responsibility! Contribute to the business development of your firm... in SOME way!