In this socially linked-up, online age, connecting with like-minded people is easier than ever and can pay big dividends (last year I joined an online community of tech founders and in that time I’ve increased my company’s revenue five-fold). These groups can also be a massive ego-stroking, energy-guzzling waste-of-time. You need to choose wisely if you want to harness the power of community to grow your law firm.
So what do you need to look for, how do you find the right community and what can you hope to get out of it? Here’s what I figured out…
Be clear about who you’re looking for
You get kick-ass results for your clients. You’ve got the guts to be shaking up the system and daring to do things differently. In short, you’re pretty darn awesome. Because you’re you, you already have loads of people in your life who can give you a pat on the back, praise your ideas and encourage you to keep going. Since you’re a lawyer, you’ll have lots (and I mean LOTS) of colleagues who are all too keen to talk at length about how busy they are and what they’re working on.
You don’t need a support group. You need a bunch of people as awesome as you who will help you find innovative ways to transform the lives of clients you love working with and put extra 0’s on your law firm’s bottom line.
Forget how many likes, shares and connections someone has. As an entrepreneurial lawyer you measure success by the results you get for your clients and the impact on your bank account. So as you’re scrolling through potential communities, ask yourself what real, tangible information (if any) is being shared. Remember, you want these people’s minds and learnings – not their feel-good stories.
Look for a leader who knows when to hang back
Great communities have great leaders. They should be inspiring and provoking – challenging you to push yourself and look at things from different angles. They will set the tone for the community so look for leaders who are supportive, encouraging and, most of all, open about sharing their successes and failures.
A great leader also empowers their community to step up. They know the invaluable role member generated content has within a group. Look for a community where the members are actively getting involved. If the other lawyers are given enough space then you’ll be exposed to lots of different strategies, tactics and ways of approaching a problem. Find a community that feels like a bunch of colleagues debating rather than head-nodders listening to a sermon.
Everybody has their superpower
We are all good at lots of stuff but most of us are really kick-ass at a few things. Find a group where people with lots of different strengths are congregating and sharing.
Search for communities with members who have strengths in areas you’re less familiar or comfortable with. Likewise, look for a group where you’ll be invaluable because of the expertise you’re bringing to the keyboard.
Disagreement is good
As entrepreneurial lawyers we love a good challenge (handy since some days it feels like that’s all we’re dealing with!). Look for a community where dissent is encouraged.
There will always be people keen to agree with you, but people who can challenge our thinking will always be more valuable. You’ll hone your ideas when you need to defend them and you’ll be exposed to different approaches – one of which could be the key to cracking your problem.
Get real and be specific
What you need to grow your law firm are the right concrete, tangible tactics. You need a group where people share theirs – the ones that worked, the ones that didn’t. Specific results should be shared. If no one’s talking about real stuff, move on. Find a group where there is enough trust and confidence for people to be honest.
As humans we’re bound to the principle of reciprocity. Once you’ve found the right group, contribute the kind of real, specific information you want to hear back. Share your successes and failures.
The right community will get you there faster
It’s an old but true idiom that we learn more from our failures than our successes (hell I should know, my greatest leaps forward have come from searching for a way to fix a problem). But what’s equally true, is that you can learn a lot from other people’s successes and failures.
Being part of the right community will fast track your firm’s success. You won’t need to waste time trying things that don’t work. You’ll be able to cherry-pick great ideas, strategies and actual tactics. You’ll have a bunch of amazing minds to discuss challenges and nut-out solutions with.
Find your community now
As entrepreneurs in the legal industry we know all too well that there isn’t a handy guidebook we can check out of the library. The people figuring out how to succeed in this space are doing it right now, in real time. Your challenge is to find them and connect with them.
A great place to start is Automio’s Savvy Lawyers Facebook group. Now I’m obviously a tiny bit (ahem) biased because it’s a group I run, but I’ve been so impressed by the lawyers who are part of it. They’re a bunch of super-smart, forward thinkers who aren’t afraid to share real, specific content with each other.For high performers serious about making their mark, there’s Automio’s Scale Up programme and community – a place for the best of the best to meet, share and learn.
Surrounding yourself with the right entrepreneurial lawyers is only one step on the journey to creating a scalable law firm that taps into the awesomeness of automation.
If you’re serious about your law firm’s success then sign-up to my free webinar that I’m co-hosting with Clarissa Rayward on 6 August where we’ll share the real strategies we have developed for creating a successful law firm that leverages automation to scale to seven-figures.