Legal Business Development: Your Firm Culture Can Make All The Difference

by Paula Black
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Firm culture… It can foster business development or it can thwart it. Consider all the different aspects of your firm that your culture influences. Jeff Haden, contributor to Inc. Magazine, highlights Dharmesh Shah, the co-founder and CTO of HubSpot who knows exactly how valuable a strong firm culture can be to your success.

1. Culture improves decision-making. Culture helps make a large body of small decisions quicker–and a small body of large decisions easier.

2. Product is to marketing as culture is to recruiting. Just like attracting customers is much easier with a great product, attracting amazing people is much easier with a great culture. The goal is to create a culture that appeals to the rights kinds of people and gets them to self-select.

3. The interest on culture debt is really high. Culture debt is when you take a shortcut and hire people because they have the skills you need and you’re “hurting” for people… but they’re not a good culture fit. You let the “culture bar” down. When you bring on people that aren’t a fit they infect other parts of the organization; even after a culture misfit moves on, their corrosive effects on the company live on.

4. You’re going to have a culture anyway. You can and should influence it–so why not build the one you love?

So where should you start if you want to create a mission statement that actually means something–and that helps you run your business by establishing and codifying goals, practices, and principles you both follow and measure? Shah suggests,  ’Quick hint: You want to build a company that you love working for. The rest will work itself out.’

I realize that it’s not the easiest task to get a room full of lawyers to agree on a vision, but that is exactly what has to happen. What makes your firm different? What makes your firm memorable? What makes working at your firm fulfilling? What’s at the heart of your firm? Find the answers to these questions… then live them on a daily basis. You’ll find that this practice benefits your firm in many different ways… especially when it comes to business development.

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Paula Black
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