Thursday, 5 February 2015

Do Better Things

There is, as usual, quite a lot of discussion about strategy in the legal press.

It was capped by a posting from Richard Tromans (see here) in which he analyses the use of the word strategy in "The Lawyer" and suggests that it is used more and more - certainly over the last 20 years.

I agree. There is a lot of discussion about strategy. I am, however, someone  who speaks with law firms and barristers' chambers on a regular basis, and - sadly - in my experience few of them really have an idea of what a strategy is, let alone develop an effective, workable strategy. Oh they talk about it a lot, and use the word - but most often what they are actually saying is "we need more work".

When talking to new Boards and Management Committees I try to spend some time talking about what strategy actually is. The discussion often starts with what can be improved - cost cutting and sales are the usual two topics. This is when it becomes more complicated, because these things are rarely strategic.

What my clients are talking about to begin with is Doing Things Better. Improving the operations of the firm or chambers, making the business more efficient and effective, streamlining, focusing on marketing and client engagement. These are all good things - and every business should be doing them - but that's not a strategy. It's not something that will differentiate you from your market. It's not something that is difficult to emulate.

The trick is to Do Better Things. That's your strategy. Think about how you can serve your clients better - or find additional clients by offering better services. That's a strategy.

So - your challenge at your next Board or Management Committee meeting. Ask how your business could Do Better Things.

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