Dreamers, doers, and deliberators…you need all of these parties, plus one more, at the table to survive what we have and are going through right now.
Because of the pandemic-related events of the past few years, everything has changed, but nothing has changed. When planning for the future, it has always been critical to put many factors in a blender and mix them together to find the richest combination of skill, dreams, people, passion, plans, and potential.
That hasn’t changed. It never will.
The need has always been there to dream about the future, take a smart dose of the past, fold in the reality of the present, and cast a vision for the future.
That’s what you do.
Repeating The Past Isn’t Enough
To thrive past this year and next, you can’t simply continue what you’ve been doing and expect it to be enough. The pandemic, the economy, and evolving client expectations won’t allow for that to continue.
It’s all too easy to continue down the same path as you have for the past several years because that path might have worked very well for you. In fact, it might have been very profitable.
Stand Up and Stand Out
Accepting the known of today will rarely result in the growth, innovation, client focus, and profit needed to stand up and stand out to the marketplace as being special.
As Seth Godin wrote in a post in mid-December last year: (December 17, 2020, to be exact):
“For understandable reasons, we spend a lot of time trying to avoid blunders and minimizing mistakes. But if that’s all we do, we’ve given up the chance to do something magical.
If you’re working on the frontier, if you’re leading, creating or inventing, you’ve signed up for mistakes. That’s the price of innovation.”
Seth is right.
Law Firms Have Found Themselves In The Wild, Wild West
Law firms might feel like they are in a convoluted episode of the wild, wild west right now.
There are conditions that have been thrust upon you that are forcing you to sweep every bit of dust out of every corner, look under all of the cushions in every chair and couch, and revisit every practice and purpose that exists in your firm, all while attempting to put together the most innovative, yet the safest, course of action that will help guide your firms as you transition out of this unbelievable and odd time called a pandemic, or Coronavirus, or COVID, or the Delta variant. That’s a tall order.
It is your time and your responsibility to create something magical, to gather the bits of gold dust that you can find in your firms, to discover all of the coins hidden under the proverbial cushions, to rally the dreamers, the doers, and the deliberators into your actual and virtual boardrooms to, as Seth Godin says, do something magical for this moment.
Find Your Dreamers, Doers, and Deliberators
You know who these people are:
The Dreamers are those people in the firm who are usually positive and visionary. They are always thinking about the what-ifs. They are dreaming about the future and how it can be for the firm and for themselves. They see the opportunity in the firm, in others, and even in themselves. You need and want them because they aren’t typically wound up tight with fear because of having tried and failed in the past. They will rarely say, “We’ve done that before and it didn’t work.”
The Doers are those you know you can go to when it’s time to get something done, or who are always ready to implement. In fact, sometimes they implement before they are called upon to do so because, in their minds, they know it is time and it is the right thing to do. They CAN be those who go by the Ready, Fire, Aim method of living, running through life making decisions and implementing before seeking approval, being perfectly fine knowing they might have to deal with the ramifications later. All doers aren’t like this, but some are. Their bottom line is that they aren’t necessarily the visionaries or the dreamers. They are doers. They are ready!
The Deliberators are those who want to take time to mull over decisions…to be wise and consider every angle and the ramifications of going down different paths. They can be irritating to the doers, but they are great to have around because they will sometimes help you see what others aren’t able to see. They are cautious and caring. You might find you need to provide a gentle nudge to help them move forward, but not always. They are thinkers and planners, and you need them!
Planning For This Moment, Not Every Moment
When you bring these people together to help plan and transition, this doesn’t have to mean that what you are creating is for every moment for the next 10 years, but for this moment as you work through the remainder of the pandemic.
Your plans can and probably should change again in a few months, a year, and 5 years because, just as it always has before the pandemic, the world changes every month, year, and every 5 years. Agility is a gift and a necessity.
This is a moment in time that is both a bit scary AND a bit exciting because you have the opportunity to bring as many of your people, the dreamers, the doers, and the deliberators, into the fold as possible to find out what they are thinking, doing, and feeling, and how the firm might want to adapt.
Not Only Lawyers
That means being willing to listen to people in every nook and cranny of your firm, not just lawyers. You need to ask for, focus on, validate, and consider their ideas because all of your people are amazing, and they are often able to see and suggest solutions you might have missed. You might also find they reinforce ideas you were already thinking about, which helps you move forward with confidence.
Let’s Not Forget Your Clients
Also, you need to be ready to ask clients what they are thinking and what they are going through, what changes they have made, and what they think about the changes you are thinking about making. They are the reason you exist, so they need to be a part of your board of advisors, whether you have a formal one, or you form a pop-up board every now and then when important discussions like this are taking place.
You’re Smart. It’s Time. You Can Do This.
You’re very smart people. You have been trusted with the management of your firm for a reason, most likely because you are a leader and you have the ability to bring teams and people together. Use this time to flex all of your management muscles because you will find that your path through or around this transition out of the pandemic is much better informed, much sounder, and more stable than not spending this valuable time considering all of your options, including what needs to be kept, changed, and removed.
I Have Faith In You
I wish you the absolute best working through this uncertain time. I am always here if you have any thoughts you want to share, any questions to ask, or need another set of eyes and ears to walk through this time with you.