Tony Hsieh's recently released book, Delivering Happiness | A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, is destined to be a classic Gen X must read business book following in the footsteps of other great Boomer reads such as Jim Collins' Good to Great and Built to Last. I read it cover to cover and found tons of nuggets. Despite being a case study of an Internet retailer the nuggets should be pure gold for law firms who currently are struggling with their business model, culture or staff morale (law firm layoffs) in light of the recent economic landscape.
Here are just a few:
The power structure is shifting from the law firm to the client in the legal industry. That's the word on the street from general counsel to clients, law firm leaders, marketers, and Michael Bremer, President of The Cumberland Group in Chicago. He addressed attendees last week in a keynote at the Legal Sales and Services Organization's RainDance conference. He suggested that what is missing most when the average law firm tries to improve its position in a competitive market is a focus on customer value, engaged employees, and an executive mindset that knows these are the most important things.
According to a Gallup poll, in an average organization less than 30% of people say they are 'highly engaged' at work. Certainly the average level thinking of law firms of today fit in that mold. Worse is that they don't see a need to change, don't want to change, feel they're already working at it and routinely push back on fresh ideas. How long can that be sustained and keep employees engaged? If we're not giving employees a voice with open environment, learning environment we're loosing engagement. The firm misses out on good ideas when employees are not passionately engaged. To remedy this, it is leadership's primary responsibility to create an environment where people can do their best work (this does not mean a well decorated office space and stocked break room). It's easy to say we want this to happen and we aspire to this but to be successful organizations must have above average thinking and strategy. Leadership needs to understand that customer loyalty IS linked with business performance.
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