Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Time is Precious to the Life of Your Practice

Imagine that instead of receiving money for work you where paid minutes of life.

Years ago I watched a science/social fiction short story (maybe on Twilight Zone or similar show) in which the monetary unit of exchange was life minutes -- run out of minutes and you die. Not much work in that society for bankruptcy attorneys . . . .

But, surprise! Most legal and accounting practices live in that society right now. Think about it. At most traditional model firms success is tracked by how much time you bill, not by how much money your time harvests. As your billable hours decrease your firm is less likely to desire your services.

So, is your job to bill time (do the work you trained to do) or is it to find clients to maintain the time that can be billed?

I say both. Whether you earn time for your practice by soliciting work internally or by bringing in new clients from outside you have to pursue new sources of time.

Maybe your teachers did not talk about this much while you were in college, and maybe the partners at your firm have not brought it up much either, but learning to earn time is crucial to the life of your practice.

I am not too sure where I am going with this post. Maybe I am just writing after spending too much time this week with professionals that lamented about having no ability to ensure their future. Maybe I am writing because after hearing their lament I can look around and see so many companies and professionals that make their living by helping lawyers and accountants to learn the skills they need to earn time.

I do know that the hyper-achievers I work with are not afraid to learn new skills and have succeeded accordingly.

I encourage anyone that needs time units for success to reach out and learn how to find more time -- before your practice runs out of life.