"Be an Intrapreneur" - Inspiration for Legal Marketers from Josh Kubicki's P3 Keynote

by JD Supra Perspectives
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“I desired to be not at the other side of the table with my client. I wanted to be in the garage working with them building what would better help them ‘win’ in changing markets.”

Kim Craig, Managing Director, Lean Solutions, at Seyfarth, kicked off her LMA P3 introduction of Josh Kubicki with this quote and it could not have set the stage better.

Josh, Chief Strategy Officer at Seyfarth, began his keynote presentation at the recent, excellent P3 conference in Chicago by telling us a story of how he once was sued for $20 million. This isn't the place to recount the whole story, but it did all work out and, from what I gathered, was a crucial learning point for him in his career and helped shaped his approach and viewpoints for today:

“Be Courageous. Be Humble. Be an Intrapreneur.”

Josh defines an Intrapreneur as “a courageous corporate citizen who sees an opportunity to better their company and takes action while not allowing the bureaucracy to get in the way.” 

...an Intrapreneur is someone who builds things inside a company for the entire team.

Further, an Intrapreneur is someone who builds things inside a company for the entire team, business, client, etc. not just themselves. As Josh mentioned, this concept is not new, but what is new is how it is now being applied to the legal industry.

Josh also said something about the legal industry that really stood out for me: "legal does not have a business model problem, it has a culture problem." The business models of firms are usually quite sound but the culture needs to change and this big task frequently seems to fall on the hands of the legal marketers. 

So, what are some of the things Josh suggested to his captivated audience? How does he suggest we become Intrapreneurs?

  • Accept the status quo, do not directly attack it. Figure out a way to maneuver within it
  • Your goal should be: GROWTH – ask smarter questions when given a task or asked for marketing or biz dev help (i.e. “What problem is X going to solve for your clients?")
  • Ask these questions with courage and humility

GROWTH examples:

  • Pricing to preserve profit
  • Mapping processes for sustainability
  • Setting up new service model, new product or new marketing campaign
  • Collaborating with vendors
  • Being people-centric. Working horizontally across your firm. No silos 
  • Supporting each other. Tee your teammates up for success

And on living by the Intrapreneur’s Manifesto:

  • Never stop learning from one another - our failures and our successes
  • We are humble and honest in assessing our own skills and capabilities
  • We are strong leaders but even stronger supporters
  • We are discreet and work quietly to achieve our goals
  • We are patient while remaining energized

I've been in the legal space since 2010 (and before then another professional services field), and over the years I’ve heard a lot about the “dying” legal profession, “big law is dead,” etc., and at P3 this year it was so nice to listen to a keynote in which the focus was what can be done versus the more typical what cannot

This is not a full accounting of what Josh discussed, but some inspiring takeaways that resonated with me - approaches and ideas that can be applied today both professionally and personally. And remember, “humility is what keeps the firms Immune system away.”

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[Kara McKenna is a regional business development director at JD Supra. Connect with her on LinkedIn. Follow her latest writings on JD Supra.]

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