Let’s be honest most lawyers want the business development process to be more like a sprint to the winners circle. But the reality is that the winners circle is reserved for the slow and steady. THAT is not what you wanted to hear I’m sure!

The fact of the matter is that CONSISTENCY is a silver bullet. Yes, a slow silver bullet! You see, many are looking for the right tool… SEO, Google Ads, social media, blogs, You Tube channel, article, networking, etc, etc, etc! But these are simply tools, just like your phone is a tool. But your phone, itself, isn’t going to get you clients. It is what you do to leverage all these tools. How regularly do you focus on the strategy you have put into place? (Oh, you don’t have a strategy? We’ll get to that later.)

Here are three things to keep in mind to achieve consistency…

First… Focus – make your activity a habit. Do something every single day!

Second… Be Present – if you are truly present, whether it’s a meeting with a client or a conversation with a stranger, you will see possibilities. Possibilities that you can only see when you are truly listening and present to the person across the table or on the phone.

Third… Learn to say NO – Not to others but to yourself. Today we are bombarded by people telling is the newest and greatest ideas to win new clients and you would like to try them all… but you don’t have the time or the money to invest in them all. Pick one to three, then say no to the rest. Put them on a list to think about for next year’s strategic plan.

So you say you don’t have a strategic plan… create one! It’s July 8th, what do you want to accomplish by the end of the year? What things would need to happen for you to feel great about how your personal life is in harmony with your work when 2015 rolls around? It need not be more than a few sentences to help you focus your efforts and be consistent. We are halfway through the year… don’t let 2014 get by you!

If you’d like to discuss this subject further, I’m here! Shoot me an email today.

Experience success and it’s like a drug… you want more. Success in your law firm is much the same. Whatever got you there, you put into high gear to get you more. Whether it is building relationships with big corporate clients or lateral hires that bring a book of business, oftentimes the strategies that once worked will outlive their usefulness and become liabilities. Author and Inc. Magazine contributor Les McKeowen has seen several “types” of strengths turned into destructive weaknesses…

 1. The legacy business that holds growth hostage. Perhaps the most common way in which a great achievement becomes a liability is when the company has fought a long, expensive battle for industry prominence– and won.

Often the price that has been paid for that victory in terms of time, resources and personnel is so high that everything that follows is distorted by its gravitational pull: A components manufacturer builds an unassailable position in the plastics industry, but can’t (or won’t) adapt to new materials because of the literal and psychic sunk cost in its old, legacy industry.

Take a long look at your practice areas and industry teams. Are they truly relevant in today’s world… or are you stuck simply because your founding partners got you there?

 2. The single customer that distorts the entire business. Sure, it’s great to get a large customer. Your industry’s equivalent of Walmart or Apple comes a-knocking and before you know it, you’ve got massive orders, a lengthy pipeline, and predictable cash flow (even if the profits are tight).

You also get considerable bragging rights. At industry conferences, competitors look at you with envy. Your employees feel proud to see your product at outlets everywhere. You’re a member of an elite club.

But back on the factory floor, or in office cubicles, your entire business is gradually being distorted.

Until one day, you no longer have control over your own destiny. You can no longer afford to lose this customer, because if you did, you’d have to essentially start all over again.

Take a look at your single largest sales success – has it brought you freedom? Or are you trapped?

I have first-hand experience with this one and the word “trapped” hits to the heart of the matter. It’s hard to admit, but stop and take a hard look at what this big gorilla is doing to your organization and if the feeling is “trapped” then start doing something about it… now!

 3. The maverick-turned-jerk who pollutes the atmosphere and destroys your culture. Every growing business needs a big dog or two–hard-charging, get-it-done Operators who work every hour God sends (and then some) to build the success of the business in the early days.

But those big dogs can sour. As the business grows and becomes more complex, big dogs often bristle at being forced to comply with the systems and processes needed to scale. A little drunk on the autonomy they’ve built over the years–and often having built a massive amount of sweat equity with the business’ founders–they become mavericks.

Take a long look at your biggest big dog. If they’re teeing off everyone except you (and maybe, if you’re honest, they’re teeing you off, too), it’s time to admit that your once greatest asset has become a maverick liability.

Every law firm has one… the “big dog” who causes more havoc than the organization can absorb. Ask yourself and others, could the firm survive without him or her? The answer is usually, YES! It may be uncomfortable but sooner or later you will need to bite the bullet and part ways. Once it’s done people will say…”Finally, we thought you’d never wake up!”

It’s time for a reality check. Take your blinders off and make sure your strengths haven’t turn into your weakness. And please shoot me an email if you’d like to discuss this subject further!

Most of the lawyers that I work with are searching for their own path to success. They are looking for harmony in their lives. The traditional approach to legal business development, how one “should” run a law firm and the time one “should” spend… doesn’t fit their idea of success. I applaud them! Together we find the path that is right for them.

I saw the movie Jobs this weekend and there is no question Steve Jobs followed his own path

Here’s to the crazy ones — the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.~ Steve Jobs

He changed the world. As a lawyer you have the power to change someone’s world… in a big way or in a small way. How do you want to practice law and live your life? Be one of the crazy ones and do it YOUR way!

If this resonates with you, and you want to find your unique path, let’s chat.

When you think of business development you probably think of the millions of things you think you “have” to do. The things everybody tells you that are the right things to do. But… What do YOU want? Yes, it is possible to consider what you want. Jack Canfield author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, has been talking about the possibility of “getting what you want” for years. And I have to tell you… it can happen! I have seen it happen for client after client and I have seen results in my own life as well. Getting what YOU want is possible. But it doesn’t happen just because you WANT it to. You have to do your part and thanks to Jack, here are his… 7 Steps for Creating the Life YOU Want.

1. Take No Less than 100% Responsibility for Your Life. One of the greatest myths that is pervasive in our culture today is that you are entitled to a great life and that somehow, somewhere, someone is responsible for filling our lives with continual happiness, exciting career options, nurturing family time and blissful personal relationships simply because we exist. But the real truth is that there is only one person responsible for the quality of the life you live. That person is you.

When we take 100% responsibility… the buck stops here! Yes, you have to stop blaming the economy, your partners, your practice area and the list goes on. If you don’t like what you’re doing, where you are or the money you are making… change it!

2. Be Clear Why You’re Here. I believe each of us is born with a life purpose. Identifying, acknowledging and honoring this purpose is perhaps the most important action successful people take. They take the time to understand what they’re here to do, and then they pursue that with passion and enthusiasm.

Why did you go to law school? What drove you to go into the practice area that you chose? Maybe you found them or they found you, but whatever it is you must find your purpose. You may not be in a position today to experience it. But when you experience it… YOU will know it. You’ll feel it in your gut.

3. Decide What You Want. It sounds so simple, but here’s the problem: I see plenty of people who are overly-busy yet who feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled. They are physically tired, spiritually drained, and far from where they’d like to be—as if they’ve been running on a treadmill going nowhere fast. Why? Because they haven’t clearly mapped out what they want and then taken the steps to get there. Rather than identifying specific goals, milestones, and dreams (and I’m talking BIG dreams and goals here), they go through the motions day in and day out tackling unimportant tasks. They end up…you guessed it…going in circles and wasting lots of energy. In the meanwhile, they grow increasingly uninspired and out of touch with their authentic selves. This, of course, sets anyone up to living a life out of balance.

Many lawyers that I talk to are on that treadmill, going through the motions with no particular direction. They are just processing files. What do you want? Grow your practice, build a book of business, become a judge, write a book, teach… If you know what you want, you can figure out how to get there.

4. Believe It Is Possible. Scientists used to believe that humans responded to information flowing into the brain from the outside world. But today, they’re learning that instead we respond to what the brain, based on previous experience, expects to happen next. In fact, the mind is such a powerful instrument; it can deliver literally everything you want. But you have to believe that what you want is possible.

This is a huge obstacle for lawyers. You seldom do anything that hasn’t been done before. That is your training. Few lawyers will go out on a limb and try something new. But those that do… do it because they have faith that it is possible to succeed. What do you believe is possible?

5. Believe in Yourself. If you are going to be successful in creating the life of your dreams, you have to believe that you are capable of making it happen. Whether you call it self-esteem, self-confidence or self-assurance, it is a deep-seated belief that you have what it takes; the abilities, inner resources, talents and skills to create your desired results.

Listen up! Take a deep breath and OWN your expertise, your experience and your power! Find your self-confidence and if need be… fake it until you make it!

6. Become an Inverse Paranoid. This one is straightforward: Imagine how much easier it would be to succeed in life if you were constantly expecting the world to support you and bring you opportunity. Successful people do just that.

I think Jack wrote this one with lawyers in mind. You are trained to be paranoid. Instead, believe that the world will conspire to support you.

7. Unleash the Power of Goal Setting. Experts on the science of success know the brain is a goal-seeking organism. Whatever goal you give to your subconscious mind, it will work day and night to achieve. To engage you subconscious mind, a goal has to be measurable. When there aren’t any criteria for measurement, it is simply something you want, a wish, a preference, or a good idea.

It’s no secret that I believe in the power of goal setting… in fact it’s a bit magical when you see it in action as I have with my clients.

If you know that you are not happy…  what are you going to do about it?

(Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com)  

When we think of the strengths of lawyers it’s generally: achiever, perfectionist, communicator, competitive, strategist and the list goes on. What these strengths have in common is… failure is not an option! But, how do you define failure? In the article in Harvard Business Review By Peter SimmsThe No.1 Enemy of Creativity: Fear of Failure, Simms sheds some light on the question and notes that fear of failure can often stifle adaptation and growth…

If your internalized view of failure is anything that is not perfect, then you are disempowering yourself from exercising your inherent creativity.

You’re certainly not the only one shackled by these norms, and I don’t blame you with the way our educational system is focused so rigidly on ‘correct answers”‘and standardized testing. This must change. And modern management systems must become far more adaptive.

For instance, at GE, led by Jeff Immelt and Beth Comstock, we are learning in real time with GE’s Innovation Accelerator how an organization long focused on Six Sigma, the antibody of innovation and entrepreneurial discovery, can help its leaders develop a discovery mindset for those situations where there are many unknowns and uncertainties.

Fortunately, the US Army provides a lot of insight about how a highly bureaucratic, command and control organization (the Army of the Cold War) can become more adaptive and creative (which it must when facing rapidly adaptive enemies, and when soldiers and officers can rarely predict what problems they will encounter). It starts with every individual, and unlearning many old bad habits. As Col. Casey Haskins, who heads up military instruction for West Point, has said, ‘You have to make it cool to fail.’ Slow as culture change may come to a behemoth like GE or the military, Comstock, Immelt, and Haskins understand the same insight.

At GE, instead of focusing on completing solutions, Comstock focuses on providing tools and resources to drive a discovery mindset, to identify problems first before jumping in with solutions. And, to do so, they’ve got to change a bunch of internal review approaches so that it becomes cool to be imperfect and half-baked at the early stages of new projects — so long as you’re learning quickly.

Certainly in the legal profession change is happening. Sometimes it happens naturally and other times it is forced. For change to take place creativity must be present… and finding a new way to think about business development without fear of failure is key. Remove the shackles and see what kind of future you can invent!

Success. How do you define it? Some lawyers just want to make a nice living. Some want celebrity status. Others want to make incredible amounts of money. And yes others are driven to make a difference in this world. Those that achieve success do so because they have defined it for themselves. And their definition of success is not always what others around them define as success. They listen to their inner voice and they know what they want. What do YOU want? How would YOU define success?

Jeff Haden an author, speaker and columnist for Inc.com and CBS MoneyWatch.com, has ghostwritten nearly forty non-fiction books. Four of them are Amazon Business & Investing books that have become #1 bestsellers. His ghostwriting has put him shoulder to shoulder… eyeball to eyeball with some of this country’s most successful business people. In his article on Inc.com… 8 Things Remarkably Successful People Do,”  he provides lessons lawyers can learn from. I warn you… it’s not easy, it’s not quick and it’s not what you want to hear. But, if being remarkably successful were easy EVERYONE would be there. So… listen to Jeff’s words and take them to heart, let them rattle around in your head and then think about how YOU define success… and GO FOR IT! Jeff writes…

I’m fortunate to know a number of remarkably successful people. I’ve described how these people share a set of specific perspectives and beliefs. They also share a number of habits:

1. They don’t create back-up plans. Back-up plans can help you sleep easier at night. Back-up plans can also create an easy out when times get tough.

2. They do the work… You can be good with a little effort. You can be really good with a little more effort. But you can’t be great–at anything–unless you put in an incredible amount of focused effort.

3. …and they work a lot more. Every extremely successful entrepreneur I know (personally) works more hours than the average person–a lot more. They have long lists of things they want to get done. So they have to put in lots of time. Better yet, they want to put in lots of time.

4. They avoid the crowds. Conventional wisdom yields conventional results. Joining the crowd–no matter how trendy the crowd or “hot” the opportunity–is a recipe for mediocrity.

5. They start at the end… Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest, whatever. Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up. That is your goal. Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.

6. … and they don’t stop there. Achieving a goal–no matter how huge–isn’t the finish line for highly successful people. Achieving one huge goal just creates a launching pad for achieving another huge goal.

7. They sell. I once asked a number of business owners and CEOs to name the one skill they felt contributed the most to their success. Each said the ability to sell.

Keep in mind selling isn’t manipulating, pressuring, or cajoling. Selling is explaining the logic and benefits of a decision or position. Selling is convincing other people to work with you. Selling is overcoming objections and roadblocks.

Selling is the foundation of business and personal success: knowing how to negotiate, to deal with “no,” to maintain confidence and self-esteem in the face of rejection, to communicate effectively with a wide range of people, to build long-term relationships…

When you truly believe in your idea, or your company, or yourself then you don’t need to have a huge ego or a huge personality. You don’t need to “sell.”  You just need to communicate.

8. They are never too proud. To admit they made a mistake. To say they are sorry. To have big dreams. To admit they owe their success to others. To poke fun at themselves. To ask for help. To fail. And to try again.

Each step is hard, but not insurmountable. Each step is important. One big take-away I want you to focus on is the BAD word in the legal profession… selling. Remember his words, “You don’t need to ‘sell.’  You just need to communicate.”

Black Pearl: Read the entire article for even more inspiration.

How many times have you done something that was not successful? Many times I’m sure… like all of us. The question is… do you stop to take note of the lessons learned? Then to vow… "I’ll never do THAT again." Here are some lessons that would be much easier and less costly learned from others! 

Eric Jackson contributed an article to Forbes… The Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives. He shares the work of Sydney Finklelstein who wrote "Why Smart Executives Fail."  With examples like John Chambers at Cisco, Carol Bartz at Yahoo and Jerry Katzenberg at Disney… high-flying company that is for sure. Lawyers take note… there are lessons to be learned from habits one, three and seven. See if they don’t sound familiar?

"Habit #1: They see themselves and their companies as dominating their environment. Warning sign: A lack of respect." We see it so often in the legal profession, where a firms seems to have a lock on a big corporate client, and they get complacent. They over bill, they have too many lawyers on the matter, they aren’t as responsive as the should be… the list goes on and on. No matter how big or small a client is or how much they seem to love you… treat them as though they could walk out the door tomorrow. It will keep you on your toes.

"Habit #3: They think they have all the answers. Warning sign: A leader without followers." This is the kiss of death… lawyers who don’t listen. When you really listen… and I do mean listen… not just wait to talk. You can get to the core of what your potential client is looking for and what is keeping him or her up at night. Then and only then will you be able to truly connect with your prospect. Without listening your responses can only be educated guess… unless you happen to be clairvoyant.

"Habit #7: They stubbornly rely on what worked for them in the past. Warning sign: Constantly referring to what worked in the past" Unfortunately this one is much to common in amongst lawyer. Not many have an entrepreneurial spirit. If you are one of them… I applaud you! I have the privilege to work with a high percentage of them. Think about it… out of the box thinkers are the kinds of lawyers that want to be exposed to new ideas and different ways of doing things. Find your entrepreneurial spirit… it will serve you well.

If any of this hits a bit too close to home… it’s never too late to change. If you’re not sure… look for the warning signs.