Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Is It All for One or One for All?

For a couple of generations the attorneys at my firm have gone to market individually. As individuals they were each smart, savvy, and darn good at lawyering... So in time the firm boasted many outstanding clients, each linked to mostly a single attorney. The firm, under this generational influence of all-for-one, did flourish. (I can hear it so softly in the background... tick, tick, tick goes the clock of change that can surprise us all.) All-for-one means "everything I do I do for me."

An indicator of "the way things are" is the partner-associate ratio which sits at one-to-one (50-50). That means the partners are doing most of their own work. If they can't handle the load they are more often choosing not to take on additional work. Interesting.

With regard to the marketing of the firm this influence has led to the support of scores of small charities, events, and associations that are beneficial to one but less desirable as a means of promoting "the firm".

My proposed 2006 marketing budget, in support of the brand refurbishment I've been working on for six months, goes in an entirely new direction. And, to be honest, I do know that I am proposing not only to rock the boat, but to turn it keel side up, permanently. Do you think there might be a little chaffing going on? I suspect there are those that would like to use the keel of their boat to drag me across....

But I DO believe that one-for-all is the way of the future (one-for-all means "everything I do I do for us.") The numbers indicate that in my market we may still be the gorilla but we are not feared or competitively respected. My new plan is to focus on reasserting ourselves as the undisputed leader. But that means big picture messages and support spent on opportunities for many; Not one. It means giving up personal favorites (with regard to spending) and supporting what may be better for all.

The budget meeting (number two) is in 10 days. Given the results and murmurs from the the last one I still have a lot of work to do in building a business case for change. If you have experienced this cultural change and were successful I would sure love to hear how you turned the corner.
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