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Posted In: Culture & Diversity, Law Firm Resilience, Leadership Support & Development, Legal Project Management, Team Performance

For LPM, Charisma is Undying Belief

Here’s an idea for LPM leadership. We’ll welcome spring with the ending of our three-part series on charisma. If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 of our series, you’ll find them here. Again, we recommend viewing the Simon Sinek video that forms the basis for this series. It’s both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Although we use the word charisma throughout the series, Sinek’s focus is really on building what he calls “undying belief in your cause.” For our purposes, it functions just like charisma, providing the magnetic pull and compelling charm needed to get everyone on the LPM train. So, for the sake of brevity, we’re calling it… charisma.

Sinek’s 10 recommendations for being charismatic are:

  1. Stand together: Make the group feel safe.
  2. Be a giver: It’s all about them.
  3. Find courage: Stand up against outside forces.
  4. Create an amazing work environment: Put effort into the journey.
  5. Be the last to speak: Don’t taint the jury pool.
  6. Have balance: Implement metrics that matter.
  7. Commit to consistency: Do the little things all the time.
  8. Just be yourself: Practice authenticity to attract like minds.
  9. Communicate your why: Lead people to want to be a part of it.
  10. Take action: Do the things, walk the talk.

The first six were covered in Parts 1 and 2. In Part 3, we’ll cover the final four.

Commit to Consistency

Simon says it’s impossible to know when change happens. Of course, we all know this to be true. Change is a process. And while processes themselves aren’t all that difficult to follow, change, well, that’s another animal. Change requires that we persevere and keep doing the things that get results in the long term. Sound familiar? It’s the one percent rule as outlined by James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones and highlighted in our recent blog. We often quit because we want results. Right now. But that’s not how it works.

When you believe in something, you stick with it. Success in LPM is not an event. We can’t just put together a plan and call it good. It’s about doing all the little things consistently. You don’t become emotionally intelligent just because you take an assessment, and you don’t become a great practice leader just because you attend a conference. Events are important for learning new things and revisiting the old. It’s the accumulation of a lot of little things, however, that creates success.

How often have we heard from law firm clients, “Well, we tried that and it didn’t work”? The question before you then is: Did you really commit to it? Did you commit to even the innocuous daily things? For example, some activities may seem pointless as standalone activities, but in the end, they may make a big impact within a disciplined LPM framework. Consistency begets consistency. And leaders who demonstrate consistency attract others to their cause.

Just Be Yourself

Sinek finds it hilarious that companies conduct market research to find out who they should be. How about just being yourself and attracting people who believe what you believe? It’s the same in a law firm with your LPM initiative. It’s not enough to plaster yourself to the wall and stay out of trouble by going along with the flow. Identify your values and beliefs, live them out loud, and others will follow. The easiest things to do are the things you believe in. You will attract like-minded others by being authentic. When you have a following, you have charisma.

On the other hand, if you’re not being yourself, you become inauthentic and you lose all credibility. When others don’t know what you stand for, you stand for nothing. Sinek points to the brand Harley Davidson. It’s clear what the brand stands for and why it has such a strong following. Riders proudly tattoo the logo on their bodies because it means something. LPM is your brand. What does it stand for?

Communicate Your Why

We have written so much about communicating the ‘why’. In Sinek’s classic book entitled “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” he outlines the importance of why, explaining that it includes purpose, values and beliefs. Most entities, law firms and practice groups included, can tell you what they do and maybe even how they do it. They struggle, however, to tell you why. Sinek suggests that Apple is successful not because they make great computers. So does Dell. Apple is so successful because they tell you what they believe before they tell you what they sell. Few PC owners identify as strongly with their brand of computer.

Sinek says that Apple’s ‘why’ is that they believe in thinking differently and challenging the status quo. It’s a powerful message and it resonates with the group of people who identify with Apple. As mentioned above, when you attract people who love your why, you’ll find success. Try defining and communicating the why of your LPM initiative.

Take Action

Sinek’s final point is the most important. You can have every available tool in your arsenal. But if you fail to execute, those tools are useless. You already know this is true with LPM. It’s an extremely effective tool, but only if you use it. Effective execution ensures that your strategies are realized, and goals are achieved. LPM works. But you have to find the people who are willing to take action and ready to move beyond antiquated ways of doing business. This means attracting others who have “undying belief in your cause.” That’s charisma.

Using Sinek’s 10 recommendations, every LPM leader can become more charismatic. Charisma can help you influence others to become involved in LPM and inspire them to achieve success. Although it’s not the only trait you need as a leader, charisma can greatly enhance your ability to attract and mobilize your team.

Carla Landry is a Principal at LawVision and leads the Legal Process Improvement practice. She can be reached at clandry@lawvision.com | (202) 406-0955.

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