The "I”s Have It

As we are about to emerge from the pandemic and begin to return to the office on some basis - it has become clear to me that we all should focus more than ever on intentionality and accurate information.

We will have less “face time” in the future, whether with bosses, potential clients, or targets.

Additionally, eating into that potential time (and rightfully so) will be team and culture-building events and exercises.

So it is more important than ever that we have the information we need to develop our career and intentionally use our time.

Accurate Information

What do I mean by accurate information? To move forward, you need to know where you are today. And this can be tough. It would be best if you had an accurate picture of where you are in your career or building a book of business.

Depending on your position, you want to ascertain some of the following:

  • What do your clients, peers, & managers think about you? Will they hire or promote you? Why?
  • What is your current brand and what should it be?
  • What do my reviews mean for my career where I am currently working?
  • What strengths should I be leveraging more and what weakness should I be addressing?
  • What are my business development numbers? What are the trends I see in those numbers?
  • What is the status of my current clients or supporters? Are they a flight risk?
  • Who are my ideal clients or what are my ideal positions?  

Now some of this information you can glean from performance reviews, 360-degree feedback, or business development reports that your firm generates. However, the most critical info will come from talking to people and obtaining feedback - real honest and maybe harsh feedback.

Why? Because the information is not accurate, it is not actionable, and you will waste your time focusing on things that will not propel you forward.

Below are a few sample questions you can ask:

  • What is my special sauce? What makes me different than _____?
  • What should I be doing to become _____?
  • What do people say when I leave the room?
  • What should I start doing?
  • What should I stop doing?
  • What should I continue doing?
  • What is your opinion of my client service? What could I be doing differently to serve you better?
  • What relationships should I be building?

An alternative to face-to-face meetings is to have a mentor reach out and put together a synopsis not identifying any one source of information. However, this may not be easy with external clients.

You should then assess all of the information that you have obtained and look for patterns. Finally, focus on the things that will bring you the most movement and develop a plan to conquer.

Intentionality

Our most valuable commodity is time. And your plan must take that into account. With people being in the office less, you will have less time to spend at networking events, developing key relationships, and touting your personal brand. This means you should prioritize how you spend your time and not follow the latest sparkling objects.

You should develop a plan based on the greatest return on your investment of time. For example, consider asking yourself the following questions depending on your circumstances:

  • Who are the most important people ( targets, clients, peers, key decision-makers) to meet in person for my career? What is meaningful or valuable to these people?
  • Can I create events for small groups of people that would provide value to them?
  • Does that organization, event, or conference give me the return I need for the time I invest, or are there other places I should explore?
  • What investment do I need to make in developing or strengthening my personal brand?
  • Is my current place of employment the one I should be investing my labors in, or can I be more successful elsewhere?
  • How do I want to use the virtual world and social media going forward to amplify my career?
  • If I was doing what was best for my career, what would I be doing differently?

The answers to these questions should help you prioritize the activities you should engage in during the next few months. You also want to mark a day in the future to see if you are getting the results you anticipated. If not, it is time to re-evaluate your activities and switch them up.

Your time is valuable use it wisely.

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Sheila Murphy

Founder of Focus Forward Consulting

For over 20 years, as a former senior legal officer for a Fortune 50 company, I successfully developed, coached and transformed talent in corporations and law firms, as well as...