…Is the legal Jeopardy answer to “What happens when a leader speaks directly and with conviction?”
David Maister, the leading mangement advisor to professional service firms, has written a great speech for a new law firm managing partner. The entire work is worth reading (it would be great to hear Mr. Maister deliver it on a podcast). This part pushed me off balance:
ON CLIENTS AND WHAT THEY WANT
I believe that clients can make few distinctions on the technical capabilities of the best firms, and place great emphasis on the ability of the individual partner to enter their world, relate to them in their language, talk to them about their business. We will never succeed by being technicians alone, no matter how high our level of technical skill. Clients want us to know their business. They want us to be interested in them.
The best part of this is that it serves to shake a lawyers out of a central comfort zone: their qualifications, their firm (or legal department) attributes, and their reasons why what they know is complex and boy should people pay dearly for it.
Sometimes law firms are urged to avoid getting direct client feedback. This attitude I will never understand.
One thing about the inhouse practice is that you hear how you are doing in real time. Not always pleasant; but definitely always instructive as to what is important to the client.
David Maister entered the blogging race just this year. It looks to me like he may soon lap the field.