Tag Archives: law

One universal truth applies in business today: “Shift happens”

As a Greek philosoHeraclitus2pher in 550bc, I guess profound insight came with the job description. Heraclitus, Greek philosopher extraordinaire, is famous for his insistence on ever-present change in the universe and is credited with the oft used mantra of business people, “Change is the only constant”. Great oratory must have also have been in the job description, as Heraclitus said on this topic, “You cannot step twice into the same stream”.

Fast forward two thousand years and, as we absorb the daily business news, it seems that the challenges of business today means the streams are moving faster and faster, there are more streams with every step and occasionally they become torrents.

This rapid pace of change continues and is relentless. Business leaders, well the best ones anyway, recognise that with all the uncertainty also comes opportunity. They are two sides of the same coin.

In the late 20th century Professor Harry Schroder, in his ground breaking research (that also comes with the job description for a Princeton professor) and some of the biggest studies ever undertaken with leaders, demonstrated that a company’s ability to survive and thrive with change was almost entirely predictable and based upon the leader’s behaviour. Not only that, Schroder measured these behaviours and put them to practical use.

The Schroder behavioural framework, which every business and business leader needs to be aware of, describes these leadership “High Performance Behaviours”. They are absolutely critical to performance and are as relevant today as ever.

The Schroder framework recognises that in this competitive world, we need leaders with a compelling vision and innovative plans. The need to be prepared to take risks, inspire and motivate others and forge relationships and partnerships. Schroder identified that a successful leader has to be able to identify today’s trends and use them to predict and understand the environment of tomorrow and most importantly must develop their teams to do the same. This is why we at my360plus use this proven framework at the heart of our 360 degree feedback and ongoing development programmes.

At my360plus we have noticed that different sectors have adapted to change at different rates. Some sectors are ahead of the game while others are just beginning to adopt ideas and tools to support their leaders to survive and thrive change.

For example, most recent interest in my360plus has come from Law Firms, Utilities, Facilities Services, Environmental Services, Transportation and Retailers. This is a reflection that the leaders in these industries are now recognised as being critical to success and need to be aware and responsive to the onslaught of change created by industry consolidation, government intervention, increased client and customer demands and diverse competitive pressures. These sectors are also beginning to understand the impact of technology and the opportunities it represents for their own innovation and competitive advantage.

In the 21st century I am not sure what Heraclitus or Schroder would make of today’s world but I am sure they would recognise that in modern business, like in ancient Greece, as you step into your metaphorical stream, the same universal truth applies “Shift Happens”. 

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Leadership skills for lawyers: ten skills to survive in changing times.

We read with interest analysis in the news this week of the Jeffrey Review, commissioned by the Justice Secretary to look at the provision of independent criminal advocacy services (http://www.justice.gov.uk).   This review will certainly fuel once again the debate surrounding the changing, challenging future of the law profession, with ‘rivalry within profession cutting numbers of young barristers and risking ‘talent pipeline’ for QCs and judges’.

Lawyers-protest-London-Ma-011

Five years ago my360plus did not have one law firm as a client. Now we have several.  This has not been down to any targeted marketing from us, but more of a sign of the changing times and challenges that face traditionally stable and simple business sectors.  Today’s lawyers need to be aware and responsive to the onslaught of change created by industry consolidation, government intervention (e.g recent legal aid cuts), increased client demands and diverse competitive pressures.  Leadership skills for lawyers are not traditionally taught at law school, so lawyers should not be surprised when they find themselves without the tools required to cope.

Leadership of a law firm is not the same as practice management.  Instead of focussing on internal operational and transactional matters, leadership skills need to be externally focussed, able to strategically plan in an unpredictable climate.  The leadership skills lawyers benefit from developing include:

  1. Having systems for identifying new opportunities and new markets
  2. Setting strategic direction, with action plans that are supported
  3. Understanding and addressing ways to improve the strengths and to combat the weaknesses of the organisation
  4. Identifying appropriate partners, alliances and external resources to further the organisation’s goals
  5. Understanding the new generation of lawyers
  6. Having a high self awareness
  7. Increasing team performance with a sustained learning culture
  8. Effective communication to all stakeholders
  9. Managing talent
  10. Driving innovation

The challenges of an ever changing competitive world make leadership development imperative.  As the Jeffrey Review states: ‘Simply carrying on as at present in an attempt to keep intact every aspect of the traditional model is not a viable option’.  Times…they are a changing.

If you would like to find out more regarding the leadership development that we do with some of our law clients please get in touch.

As a result of a highly successful 360 leadership development programme with law firm, Stevens and Bolton, my360plus was highly commended as part of the Best Training Programme” at the Legal Education and Training Group Awards 2013.  The award citation mentions that “the impact of the programme is already evident with greater business development activity being seen across the firm”.

 

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my360plus at LETG Awards 2013. Leadership Skills for Lawyers needed now!

LETG LogoWe are really proud that as a result of a highly successful 360 leadership development programme with law firm, Stevens and Bolton, my360plus was highly commended as part of the “Best Training Programme” at the Legal Education and Training Group Awards held recently in London.

The award citation mentions that “the impact of the programme is already evident with greater business development activity being seen across the firm”.

In addition, it states that the programme acted as “a trigger for greater openness in sharing of ideas and led to the instigation of informal peer mentoring within the leadership group”.

Leadership skills are needed now more than ever in practice. As well as the tough economic times all businesses have been facing, the legal profession is right in the midst of unprecedented change.  Competition is fierce, driving down fees; the Legal Services Act is changing the way firms structure themselves; clients are becoming better informed and more and more sophisticated; technology is changing virtually every aspect of how services are delivered and a new generation of lawyers are approaching partnership with different aspirations and ideas.

What distinguishes an exceptional lawyer from a good one, apart from their legal skills, is their ability to deal with all this change.  Particularly the sheer speed at which change is happening as well as the myriad of things lawyers need to be taking on board when making decisions. Leadership skills for lawyers focuses on the skills necessary to succeed and thrive during uncertain times.

Many lawyers still spend their professional lives not getting much in the way of feedback.  They are either constantly told how wonderful they are (as long as the billable hours are good) or they are ‘bypassed’ for promotion to Partner without much explanation and often move on without knowing what else they could have done.

The my360plus tool is a really innovative approach helping lawyers develop their leadership skills and deal with this change.  It starts with feedback from colleagues in the things that matter and make a difference, but it doesn’t stop there.  It serves up practical ideas on what to do to improve, as well as the ability to enter into an on-going dialogue with colleagues to support leadership development goals.

It was this innovative but practical approach that was recognised by the LETG Awards. It is playing a vital part in broadening leadership skills as well as the fostering of greater openness, sharing and informal mentoring within law firms.

Change will bring opportunity especially for those firms focused on nurturing talent.  Development through the giving and receiving of feedback will provide competitive advantage for those firms that embrace it.  For more information on an innovative, proven and affordable 360 leadership development programme please do contact us.

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