If you’ve been hanging around Zen for a while, you may have heard me mention one of my favorite business concepts, the Stockdale Paradox. It’s something that I’ve been thinking a lot about over the last several weeks (I’ll define it in a moment if you’re not familiar with it), because I’ve heard a lot of people saying things along the lines of “if we can just get through the next few months to 2021,” or “I can’t wait for this year to be over!” as if the pandemic or the economic crisis or in the case of the US, our elections, will solve all of the current issues that we’re facing.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could flip a switch and everything would suddenly be resolved?
Continue Reading The Stockdale Paradox and its Pandemic Relevance

Unless you’re new here (and if you are, welcome!), you’ll know that I often say that networking happens everywhere. So what happens when your “everywhere” gets slimmed down during a pandemic, and even when you ARE out and about, your (hopefully) smiling, open and friendly face is hidden behind a mask?

We adapt!

I know how much lawyers love change, and how much change you’ve already embraced in 2020, but this is the year to throw out old systems, test new ideas and see what works and what you feel comfortable with. The GOOD news is that we’re not changing what has always been true about how you get new work – by doing good work in the first place, and then through word of mouth. For lawyers, we’re in a people business, and that’s not going to change no matter how much technology we add into the mix. What IS going to change is the how.
Continue Reading Networking Happens Everywhere – the Quarantine Edition

It should come as no surprise that my most sought after post for this year is one about leadership excellence – in a time when many of us are trying to find our way in uncharted waters, seeking advice from someone with a tried and true philosophy can feel comforting and stabilizing.

While it’s no secret that Disney has had their ups and downs this year too (how could they not, being in the tourism industry during such a unique period?), their translatable philosophy still holds a lot of wisdom for the rest of us. I wanted to share some of the highlights with you again, in the context of the current environment. This advice comes from a presentation that Jeff Williford from the Disney Institute gave several years ago, but still holds true today.
Continue Reading Leadership Excellence in the Time of COVID – the Disney Philosophy we Need

Four years ago, we joined with HighQ in looking at the question, “What do you believe lawyers and law firms need to do to prepare for the future of legal services?”

Considering how much has happened even in the past six months, and looking at the way the legal industry adapted to being fully remote in many countries in 1-2 weeks, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to look back at what some of the leading experts in the industry had to say in 2016, and put that into today’s context.

In reading what many of us thought in 2016, the overriding sense is less that firms have been preparing for change and more that COVID has forced firms to have to be innovative and creative because they have no other choice. The old adage that when something is painful enough, THEN we will make changes, is just as true for law firms as it is for each of us.

But is change a challenge…or an opportunity?
Continue Reading Law Firms: Change as a Challenge, or an Opportunity?

Melissa Kano is a partner with KLA – Koury Lopes Advogados, a law firm in Brazil and a member of the International Lawyers Network. In this episode, I talk to Melissa about why collaboration is so essential during a pandemic, how working remotely may last longer than the quarantine, and why it’s essential to

In our second episode of the Law Firm ILN-telligence Podcast, we welcomed Michael Slan, who is the managing partner of Fogler Rubinoff LLP in Toronto, Canada, and a member of the International Lawyers Network. In this episode, I had a candid conversation with Michael about the importance of communication in this time of pandemic, why

It’s week ten of lockdown in my state, and while there are some places that are entering a phased reopening, some countries have extended their border lockdowns and many of the firms I have talked to are planning to continue remote working for a while because it has proven so effective. As a result, we all continue to have to find new ways to network, build relationships, and yes, even in some cases, develop business.

I think we can all agree that at the moment, the only thing we should all be doing is finding ways to relentlessly deliver value, and if business comes from that, then great. One of the ways we can do that is through content. We’ve already covered the two biggest problems with legal content as well as how to really deliver exceptional content, so today, I’d like us to think more about how you can make your content about building relationships. It can often seem like it’s a one-way conversation – you write or say something, push it out into the world, and that’s it; your content lives there and does its thing, and hopefully it brings in some business for you. But what if you used it more strategically than that, particularly in this moment when it’s harder to have in-person relationships?
Continue Reading In the Age of COVID-19, Make Your Content About Building Relationships

We’re thrilled to announce that a few weeks ago, we debuted our new podcast, Law Firm ILN-telligence, where we bring you real intelligence from real law firms. The first episode, I interviewed Pal Jalsovszky, the managing partner of Jalsovszky Law Firm in Budapest, Hungary and a member firm of the International Lawyers Network. We

In this week’s rainmaking recommendation, expert and trainer, Jaimie Field, reminds us about some key communication skills we should be building during this time of COVID-19.

***

Business development, aka Rainmaking, has been and will always be about communication and trust.

You need exceptional communication skills to build trust and confidence in your abilities to help your clients and potential clients.  And never has this been truer than at this time in history.
Continue Reading Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: It’s ALWAYS About Communication