Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Can We Make People Participate?

There seems to be, among some marketing professionals, an attitude of cynicism toward any attorney that does not listen to a marketers suggestions. A mantra among them is, "Let ME tell YOU how things are!" PLEASE, don't be one of THOSE people.

In a recent string of replies on a listserve, one question about helping an attorney develop a business development skill quickly degenerated into cynical rants about attorney attitudes, poor skills, bad habits and aptitude. The tone of language and cynicism in these comments… suggestions that some attorneys can at best be taught to “fake it”.

Do we (marketers) really know better, or do we know different?

Wth regard to the question of what to do in a situation when not all attorneys are willing to participate in marketing goals, or even seem to be (with or without knowledge) working against well laid plans, here is my own way that works for me. It may not work for others.

Being new at my current firm I am still meeting many of the attorneys for the first time and outlining some of my ideas for going forward. With every attorney I assure her/him that it is not my goal to change anyone; It’s my goal to discover all I can about each individual (the many parts of the firm I cannot “make” into something different) and then find the combinations of those many “parts” to form an message I can market.

There are attorneys that ask for help and mentoring… and there are those that want nothing to do with anything I can do or represent. Even the least of them (with regard to a desire to participate) will play a part in what happens next. It seems silly that any planning I do would not include every attorney. Whether they are participating or not they will all impact the brand of the firm and plans for the future.

It feels healthy to me to accept people for exactly whom they are, without judgment, and work with the parts that are there; Not the ones I wish I had. So, this is what works for me. I am always open to other ideas.