The article below asks whether a strategic plan can compensate for a lack of leadership. I suggest that it can’t since you need leadership in order to execute a strategic plan. The answer for most law firms is that you need to address the leadership question as part of the strategic planning process. You may also need to appoint a managing partner to oversee the planning process and execute the strategic plan. The fact is you really can’t have one without the other. Without leadership your strategic plan will probably end up sitting on the shelf just like many other firms.
If I had to pick one key skill which can have the most impact on the profitability of law firms, it would be Leadership. I distinguish leadership from management in that leadership involves inspiring and motivating others to do what’s best for the firm, while management focuses on execution and efficiency. Lawyers often confuse the two functions, and focus on counting pencils and cutting staff instead of leading others and dealing with key issues holding back the firm.
There are many good books and materials on the subject of leadership, so firms should start by building a leadership library now. Hold inhouse leadership seminars for all partners and associates and provide one-on-one leadership training for those in leadership positions. This is just a start, as much more can be done here.