Every law firm must manage only these three things

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John Jantsch’s post today is about the three things every business must manage: Purpose, Projects, and Process:

  • Purpose: create and tell the story about why the business does what it does.
  • Projects: create actions steps and assemble resources to fulfill the business purpose.
  • Process: implement the action steps.

These three functions obviously apply to every attorney and law firm. However, while we all need to manage purpose, projects, and process, we’re not all in the same business (practice area).

A few years ago, I wrote a post, “The Three Things That Matter Most,” about finding and focusing on the essence of what you do. The three things that matter most for you are┬áthe “twenty percent” activities that deliver eighty percent of your (desired) results. When you focus on these three things, you can eliminate (delegate) or curtail everything else, freeing you to do more of your “twenty percent” activities, getting more results.

If you want to earn more and work less, you must focus on the things that matter most. Therefore, once you know and are prepared to articulate your purpose, take the time to reflect on what matters most in your practice before you create any projects or engage in the process of fulfilling that purpose.

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The three things that matter most

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What are the three most important things you do in your career? Sure, you do a lot of things, but chances are, three of them are more important than the rest. We’ve talked about the 80/20 Principle before. These three things are the twenty-percent activities that deliver eighty percent of your results. They are worth identifying. If you can identity them, you can do more of them (and less of those things that aren’t of the three).

What’s more, if there are only three things, you can remember them. You don’t need a list. “These are the three areas I focus on,” you’ll say. “This is where I focus eighty percent of my time.” So what are they? If you could only do three things all day long, what would they be? Don’t think too much about this; you already know the answer.

When I was practicing (personal injury), I would have said that these are my three things:

  1. Marketing
  2. Settling Cases
  3. Managing staff

For me, litigation was not one of the three things that matter(ed) most. We did it, but the practice was a high-volume of smaller cases and litigation was not our primary focus. So, it was these three things that mattered most to my practice. If I was doing one of these three things, I was doing “twenty-percent activity”. Anything else was “eighty-percent activity” (which brings in only twenty percent of the results).

Let’s take things a step further, shall we? Once you have identified your “three things that matter most,” what about identifying the three things that matter most about each of those three things? This allows you to get more specific about how you are spending your time and how you are focusing your energy. You will perform “on purpose” instead of reacting to whatever presents itself. And, if you can recall the three things that matter most, you should also be able to recall the three things about each of those things, too. If they are truly important and you are doing them, they will be second nature to you.

In my case, I would have identified the three things about my three things, like this:

MARKETING

  • Ads in yellow pages
  • Network with referral sources
  • Client referral strategies

SETTLE CASES

  • Client interviews/evidence collection
  • Demand package
  • Negotiation

MANAGE STAFF

  • Interview/hire
  • Monitor work flow
  • Recognize and incentivize

What are your three things? And what are the three things about each of those three? Take the time to identity these crucial items and then focus eighty percent of your time and attention on them. You’ll get more done in less time and you’ll get more results. You’ll earn more and work less.

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