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Patrick J. McKenna

CEO at McKenna Associates Inc

Edmonton, Canada

An internationally recognized authority on professional service firm management, I have since 1983, worked with the top leaders of premier firms around the globe to discuss, challenge and escalate their thinking on how to lead and compete effectively.

I co-authored a pioneering text on law firm marketing, "Practice Development: Creating a Marketing Mindset"(Butterworths, 1989), recognized by an international journal, ten years later, as being “among the top ten books that any professional services marketer should have.” My subsequent works include "Herding Cats: A Handbook for Managing Partners" (IBMP, 1995); and "Beyond Knowing: 16 Cage-Rattling Questions To Jump-Start Your Practice Team" (IBMP, 2000).

In 2006, my e-book First 100 Days: Transitioning A New Managing Partner (NXTBook) earned glowing reviews and culminated in my conducting a one-day masterclass for new firm leaders, usually held at the University of Chicago. Until COVID forced me to conduct this training virtually, over 80 new leaders from some of the largest legal, accounting and consulting firms graduated from this program.

A prolific writer on firm leadership, my book (with David Maister), First Among Equals: How to Manage a Group of Professionals, (The Free Press, 2002) topped business bestseller lists in the United States, Canada and Australia; was translated into nine languages; is currently in its sixth printing; and received an award for being one of the best business books of 2002. The book "Management Skills" (John Wiley, 2005) named me among the “leading thinkers in the field"; while in 2008, "In The Company of Leaders" included my work amongst notable luminaries like Marshall Goldsmith. Amongst twelve of my books, "Serving At The Pleasure of My Partners" (Thomson Reuters) was released in 2011 and "Strategy Innovation: Getting To The Future First" (LBW Publishing) came out in 2019.

My experience includes 30 years of being a strategic, leadership and trusted advisor to professional firms and to corporate CEOs. This work has taken me to 47 different countries. I also proudly serve as a non-executive director (NED) or advisory board member with a variety of professional service firms and incorporated companies. A sparing partner and sounding board to firm leaders, I help by asking probing questions, confronting orthodoxies, unleashing the intrapreneurial spirit, building strategy alignment and enhancing profitability. My aim is to instigate innovation, provide independent strategic insight drawn from my years of experience, and support effective governance.

My over 350 articles published during this last decade have appeared in over 50 leading professional journals, newsletters, and online sources, while I have also contributed chapters to 39 international books and been acknowledged by 32 other book authors as a "Contributing Source."

Available For: Authoring, Consulting, Influencing, Speaking
Travels From: International
Speaking Topics: Competitive Growth Strategy, Leadership, Future Trends in Professional Services

Patrick J. McKennaPoints
Academic80
Author1287
Influencer124
Speaker40
Entrepreneur113
Total1644

Points based upon Thinkers360 patent-pending algorithm.

Thought Leader Profile

Portfolio Mix

Company Information

Company Type: Company
Email: patrick@patrickmckenna.com
Business Unit: Strategy
Theatre: International
Media Experience: 30 years
Last Media Interview: 03/16/2020

Areas of Expertise

Digital Disruption 30.48
Innovation 44.81
Leadership 69.38
Management 41.63
Marketing 36.06
Change Management 33.65
Business Strategy 66.94
Culture 30.20
Risk Management 30.16
Health and Safety 32.78
Healthtech 31.22
Open Innovation 30.56
AI 30.16
Digital Transformation 30.41
Legal and IP 78.68
HR 30.44
Customer Experience 30.18
COVID19 31.74
Retail 30.24

Industry Experience

Healthcare
High Tech & Electronics
Media
Professional Services

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Publications

5 Advisory Board Memberships
Advisory Board Member
Managing Partner Forum Global
July 01, 2020
Pleased to act as an Advisor to help lunch the North American group, select the initial speakers for Webinars and serve as the Moderator.
Managing Partners’ Forum is a well-established and successful forum and resource in the UK and parts of Europe. The purpose of The Forum is to support the growth, productivity and prosperity of the professional services sector. The Forum brings together professional firm leaders to share ideas on strategic leadership and management excellence with each other. Unlike other forums or associations, the members are from all disciplines of professional services – e.g. accounting, law, engineering, architectural, property advisors etc.

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Tags: Leadership

Advisory Board Member
Intraspexion Inc.
September 01, 2019
Intraspexion is the world’s first “Deep Learning” service able to provide clients with an early warning of potential litigation disasters. The holder of 8 Deep Learning patents, the National Law Journal named Intraspexion in the inaugural list of Legal AI Leaders (February 2018). The Artificial Lawyer listed Intraspexion in the inaugural edition of the AL 100 Legal Tech Directory (August 2018). And Microsoft accepted Intraspexion into Microsoft for Startups (September 2018).

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Tags: Leadership

Advisory Board Member
Legal Business World
January 01, 2019
Legal Business World is an international company operating a global platform that produces and shares publications (articles, eMagazines and eBooks) read in over 32 countries; TV and Radio covering the business of law and development of the legal profession. Their Legal Knowledge Portal offers over 900 articles, contributed by over 400 authors, categorized under 40 topics, and appealing to 190K readers a month. Every year LBW chooses Thought Leaders – professionals who distinguish themselves through: opinionated publications, being recognized as an authority in a specialized field and/or whose expertise is sought after and often rewarded.

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Tags: Leadership

Advisory Board Member
True Balance Longevity Institute Inc.
August 01, 2014
True Balance is the Canadian leader in providing Regenerative and Anti-Aging Medicine, Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy and Medical Aesthetics from five clinics throughout Alberta and British Columbia.

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Tags: Leadership

Law Firm Management Mentor
International Bar Association
October 01, 2012
I am one of a dozen Mentors throughout North America designated under this special IBA Program to provide guidance, knowledge and law firm leadership skills to help selective Mentees.

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Tags: Leadership

1 Analyst Advisory
Your 6 Step Plan to Get Ahead of the Pandemic
Legal Business World
October 08, 2020
So many events just in the last week remind us this thing isn’t over yet.
The next normal is here. And the next next normal will arrive soon enough. The pandemic can change things in the blink of an eye, and volatility is part of it all. This begs this question — how do you get ahead of it without taking your eye off the ball? My friend and great thinker Patrick J. Mckenna and I discussed this in detail and developed the following plan to get ahead:

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Tags: Business Strategy

4 Analyst Reports
The Post-Pandemic Importance of Industry Groups
Legal Business World
May 29, 2020
In this post-pandemic arena, I believe your ability to have an effective industry group operation will no longer be discretionary. In fact, having your groups functioning as high-performing teams is likely to be what separates those law firms that emerge from this crisis much stronger from those firms that seriously falter. This process starts with your leadership team postioning industries as a strategic priority and partners being invited, encouraged and incentivized to position themselves as knowledge leaders in those industries niches recognized to be most lucrative.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Research Report: Lessons For New Leaders In Where To Invest Their Time
Legal Business World
September 30, 2019
In accepting any new leadership position you are dealing with firsts. And as with other firsts in life, where specifically you choose to invest your precious and finite leadership time can impact your future effectiveness and leave a long-lasting impression on everyone involved. It goes without saying therefore, that where you spend your time should be entered into with some thoughtful and deliberate intent.
In an attempt to examine where new leaders have spent their time, I surveyed and spoke with the new managing partners of 19 U.S. law firms, between 100 and over 500 attorneys in size. My objective was to determine specifically whether there were any identifiable patterns for where these leaders spent their time, how productive they viewed their initial efforts, and now in hindsight, whether there was anything they might have done differently. I started by inviting each of them to identify three key activities that consumed the better part of their time during their first few months in the role. Many of them lamented that they were “much more internally focused than externally during this period” and 24% of the respondents cited their efforts to proactively contact, meet with and interview fellow partners / shareholders as the primary activity that consumed the greatest portion of their management time.

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Tags: Leadership

Should Law Firm Leaders Build A Personal Brand?
Legal Business World
October 26, 2017
Exactly 10 years ago, in March 2007, at a time when most firms were doing very well economically, a survey was conducted of the profession to determine how certain firm leaders were perceived. A lot has happened since 2007. So, for the fourth in a series of Leader’s Pulse Surveys conducted by Patrick McKenna and David Parnell, they repeated that same survey in October

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Tags: Leadership

Law Firms Suffer the Behavior They Tolerate
Legal Business World
October 21, 2016
The results of this research survey shows that 93% of AmLaw 100 firms have experienced bullying, a lack of respect, and “me-first” attitudes among their ranks, despite 87% of them reporting how important it is to have written value statements sufficiently specific to ensure behavior that is consistent with those values.

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Tags: Leadership

80 Article/Blogs
Beware the Obstacles to Executing Your Best Intentions
Thinkers360
September 22, 2021
To effectively transform your best intentions into executed initiatives, there are several common hurdles that you need to overcome. Thinking through the following can help you make the leap.

Strategizing and implementing are interdependent. In many firms the process of formulating your plan and then implementing it are separated. Logically, implementation needs to follow formulation since you cannot implement anything until the plan exists. But, not involving those of your partners who formulated the strategy in having responsibility for also executing that same strategy or waiting for months until your strategy document is methodically finalized – threatens knowledge transfer, commitment to sought-after outcomes, and the entire implementation process.

Planning is not doing. Unfortunately, some partners believe that implementing the strategy and “getting their hands dirty” is beneath them. They act as if implementation is something best left to the non-lawyer professionals in the firm. This view holds that one group does the innovative work (planning), and then “hands the ball” off to lower-levels for execution. If things go awry, the problem is placed squarely at the feet of the “doers,” who somehow couldn’t implement a “perfectly sound” plan.

Effective implementation involves many hands. Implementation always involves far more of your professionals than the initial planning did. This presents problems. Communication throughout the firm or across different business units becomes a challenge. And linking strategic objectives with the day-to-day objectives at different offices and groups becomes a demanding task.

Implementation requires enormous time. Make no mistake, to successfully execute takes even more time than that invested in developing the plan. This can be extraordinarily taxing to the billable time expectations and client obligations of those partners who were initially involved.

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Tags: Business Strategy

My 6 Most Popular Articles This Year.
Personal LinkedIn Page
September 15, 2021
My sincere thanks to those of you who graciously take time to visit my LinkedIn Page or Website Blog and generously read, contribute your thoughts and observations to the various articles and material that I post. Here is a collection of what appears to be the most popular and highly read posts so far this year.

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Tags: Leadership

More Strategic Thought Provokers.
Personal LinkedIn Page
September 01, 2021
Further to my earlier article, here are the final six snippets:
• Approach Strategy by “BackCasting” – Moving from The Future Back.
Research has shown that people who use the current situation and project in a linear fashion tend to be overly optimistic.
• Beware the Obstacles to Executing Your Best Intentions.
Some partners believe that implementing the strategy and “getting their hands dirty” is beneath them.
• Where Do You Spend Your Management Time?
There is a powerful gravitational pull that unconsciously moves us toward fixing things instead of innovating, toward reacting rather than being proactive.
• Quantify and Communicate Real Value.
Clients need and want you to identify what adds value (as they perceive value).
• What is Your Succession Strategy?
Do you know that there is a competitive firm out there right now that is targeting the clients of your soon-to-retire partners?
• Create A Sense of Urgency.
Your challenge is to help people see what changes need to take place.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Some Strategic Thought Provokers.
Personal LinkedIn Page
August 25, 2021
A few brief, pragmatic snippets to stimulate your strategic thinking:
• Fight Established Routines.
Some partners can be like those old spring-powered watches — they have to be shaken hard to get them going.
• What’s Your Competitive Advantage?
If you do include a testimonial, make sure that there is a REAL name attached.
• Welcome New Voices.
If you don’t think one of your younger professionals could have some tasty contributions to make to your Executive Committee, you are clearly suffering a bad case of truth decay!
• Eliminate Barriers to Switching.
Ask yourself: “What keeps this person or company from becoming our client tomorrow?”
• Be A Creator of NEXT Practices.
Simply adopting someone else’s best practice may not be your best practice after all!
• What’s Your Skills-Building Strategy?
The half-life of knowledge is decreasing at a furious rate.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Be ORIGINAL Rather Than Imitating Competitors
Patrick J. McKenna
August 18, 2021
Many view other competitors, their strategies, their performance and experience as the benchmark from which to set standards for their own firm. That kind of competitive comparison may makes sense, especially as your firm’s performance is often defined by what your peer firms are doing. Where this approach becomes an obstruction is when the logic behind what works for some other firm, why it works and what might work for you, is not assiduously examined and thereby results in firms engaging in nothing but mindless imitation.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, Business Strategy

Unintended Consequences of Being Addicted to Commodity Work
Personal LinkedIn Page
August 04, 2021
One firm leader commented to me that while "most fans of efficiency are very strong on the left-brain – any innovation very much starts in the right hemisphere.” Thus, the “define, measure, analyze, improve, control" mind-set doesn't entirely gel with the fuzzy front-end of invention. When some new revenue generating idea starts germinating, you don't want to overanalyze it, which can happen in an efficiency obsessed cultural framework. That said, one wonders whether this propensity to simply accept commodity work as a natural way of legal life is not indicative of an addiction. Here are some examples:
• We don’t pay as much attention to our overall Brand Image
(Do we care that some work we do might actually demean our public profile?)
• We reward partners for doing shit work
(Are we over-rewarding some who have large billable hours?)
• We don’t force proper delegation
(Are we negating our promise to clients to have their work done at the proper level?)
• We don’t focus on longer-term market innovation opportunities
(Are we demoralizing those who have some ambition?)
Being addicted to commoditized work is the result of strategy decay – and strategy decay is like cancer – it happens little by little and the longer you take to deal with it, the more deadly it becomes.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Focusing on Efficiency and Commoditized Work Will Have You Seen as Just Another “Vendor”
Personal LinkedIn Page
July 28, 2021
I happened upon an article concerning a new Law Firm Profitability Survey, wherein the author “highlights the many projects that firms are working on to address profitability.” The article lists 16 different projects like timekeeping practices and inventory management, among the favored strategies. If one were to categorize these 16 into how many were internal versus external focused; and how many were operational versus strategic; you conclude that these firms were all obsessing over various internal cost efficiency tactics at the expense of strategic wealth creation – for example, launching a potentially lucrative new practice niche was NOT identified by even one of the firms surveyed!
The very next piece on my pile was entitled, “Commoditized Work Can be a Gold Mine.” In this article, rather than treating commoditization as a negative, they attempted to advocate that “the profitability of commoditized work has never been more important.” Really? Meanwhile 47% of GCs report that the increasing volume of low value work has impacted morale with many saying: "Is that what I went to law school for?" Combining these two articles one might conclude the future of our legal profession seems to be focused on . . . “making better buggy whips.”
Is that really what you want for your career and for your firm?

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Tags: Business Strategy

How Do I Get My Lawyers to Focus on Client Industries?
Personal LinkedIn Page
July 20, 2021
Question: “I have been reading your various article on the merits of attorneys having more of an industry focus and I’m intrigued. We have certainly become more cognizant of this topic as COVID impacted many of our client industries in ways that we would never have imagined. I manage a fairly large Litigation Department comprised of about 40 attorneys, fairly partner dominant, and spread out over five offices. Any ideas for how I might approach this with my colleagues and convince them to give re-organizing all or parts of our Department into smaller industry teams a try?”
Perhaps we might provide them with an experience that may allow them to explore some new practice options. Here is what you could do . . .

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Tags: Business Strategy, Legal and IP

Would You As Firm Leader Benefit From Having An Advisory Board?
Personal LinkedIn Page
July 02, 2021
There is an old saying that goes, it can be lonely at the top — especially if you are a busy law firm leader trying to maintain a modicum of a personal practice while also charting a course for your firm’s future growth.
However, you don't always have to go it alone or rely on the intuition of only your fellow colleagues – some of whom may have their own personal agendas to advance or not have the kind of business experience that you need. A good number of other professional service firms, from accounting to consulting, have found success through having an external advisory board to counsel the firm’s leadership on various aspects of the business — everything from operations to planning for growth or enhancing client service.
Think about the last time you met with a group of business people and had an open discussion, sharing ideas and concerns. An Advisory Board is a formal version of this process. Unlike a one-time event, you might think of an Advisory Board as your own special leadership think tank. Participants can serve as your personal sounding board, a source of insights and expertise — and give you honest and candid advice. If properly constituted, your advisory board will be comprised of people with no axe to grind, and who want to listen and impart their knowledge.

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Tags: Leadership

Fixing Firm Compensation Models
Patrick J Mckenna
May 04, 2021
This article evolved from the collaborations between a Fortune 500 GC, a Managing Partner, a leading practitioner in alternative fee arrangements and an international law firm management consultant. It was initially written in 2009 and pretty much forgotten about until now.

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Tags: Management, Legal and IP

When A Leader Needs to Confront Underperformance
Legal Business World
January 28, 2021
One of the more difficult decisions that any firm leader or practice leader will be faced with, is when you have to confront and possibly remove someone on your team who is no longer “pulling their weight.”
When you are faced with this challenge (and you definitely will be at some time in your leadership tenure) you need to understand that the consequences of taking decisive action are rarely as dire as they might seem to you at first glance. Nevertheless, there are numerous reasons why intelligent and capable leaders will go to great lengths to avoid taking any action. In reality, not taking action is the same as announcing that you will continue accepting unacceptable performance.
There are always reasons to put off the decision to take decisive action. A number of leaders have admitted to me, that in hindsight they came up with all kinds of rationalizations to postpone a painful decision that they just knew was inevitable. In the end all they succeeded in doing was hurting both their team and crippling the team’s possible progress in a highly competitive marketplace.
No leader would ever tell you that this is the easy part of the job. It isn’t!

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

How Effective Leaders Delegate
Legal Business World
December 09, 2020
In discussions with new firm leaders before they formally take on the role, I ask them what they think that they will like doing the most, in other words where are they eager to spend their time. The most common response is: “determining strategic direction and implementation.” After being in the job for some months when I come back and have them assess where they have been spending the largest portion of their time, they then confess how it is spent in “day-to-day administrative responsibilities” with absolutely no time for strategic issues. All too often, the urgent crowds out the important.
Whenever I’ve had the opportunity to follow up with new firm leaders and ask what surprised them the most during their first 100 days in the role and what changes they would make to be more effective if they had the chance to do it all over again, one of the more common responses I elicit is “needing to delegate more.”
Delegation is one subject that every firm leader I speak with, has strong opinions about. Some feel that they do it well. Some will quietly admit that they don’t even know where to start. Some have experienced a good example of delegation. Some feel like every time someone has ever “delegated” to them, it felt like they had just been dumped on. Many believe it is something they should do more of to be effective; but there are some who resist it with a passion – almost as if they feel that their fingerprints should be found on everything.

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Tags: Leadership

15 Innovation Questions to Ask Yourself
LinkedIn
November 05, 2020
It is my honor to be Chairing, for the third consecutive year, Ark’s Law Firm Innovation Summit, being conducted virtually. In my opening remarks today, I posed the following provocative questions for the participants to ask themselves:

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Tags: Innovation

How Difficult a Job It Can Actually Be
Patrick J Mckenna
October 05, 2020
The very concept of leadership is elusive and tricky. Every business-book author coins a
new "type" which is then sold as the latest elixir to problems. We see these everywhere:
authentic leadership, transformational leadership, charismatic leadership and other
faddish titles. It is hard to define leadership in a way that is satisfactory to everyone
although most professionals tell me that they believe they know it, when they see it.
What these same professionals may not appreciate is how difficult the job of leading a
firm can actually be. There are a number of truths that aren’t identified in any
guidebook;

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Tags: Management, Leadership, Business Strategy

Embrace Thought Leadership As Your Industry Group’s Strategy for Growth
Legal Business World
September 18, 2020
Successful thought leadership does not arrive by virtue of having a published idea linked to a hope that someone will recognize brilliance and sweep your industry team from obscurity into prominence. Thought leadership only matters if you address a specific audience and can present new ideas that improve their life or work. The best thought leadership, therefore, helps people in an industry do something better or gain insight that helps them better understand their market or their problems. There is little generic thought leadership that is useful. In a globalized online world, clients can quickly find an alternative to you. To establish your group as having an expert reputation – including those who don’t just participate in the industry discussion but drive it, requires consistent, diligent effort.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, Business Strategy

25 Quotes to Jump-Start Your Innovative Mindset
Patrick J. McKenna
September 02, 2020
Innovation does not require some exotic new technology by rather it requires an innovative culture. Today, firms need more radical and game-changing inspiration to be able to meet the challenges that we are all facing. We need new ideas. We need progress. We need positive change. Here is a collection of some of my favorite quotes on innovation to inspire your next move forward. When I need a dose of inspiration or advice, I often turn to these insightful words of wisdom for an added touch of motivation.

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Culture

Lessons BigLaw Could Learn from BigTech
LinkedIn
August 25, 2020
As the economy contracts and many companies struggle to survive, the biggest tech companies continue to grow and innovate, putting them in a position to dominate U.S. businesses with an unprecedented reach into shaping how we work, communicate, shop, relax and even where we invest our money. The encroachment of these companies into our lives can be evidenced by the more than one billion daily visits to the big four sites and by last week’s record $2-trillion stock market valuation of Apple – double what it was just 21 weeks earlier.

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Business Strategy

Effective Leaders Are Not Necessarily Nice!
Patrick J. McKenna
August 19, 2020
Having spent a good number of years studying, working with and coaching new firm leaders, I have concluded that the greatest challenge for any of us in leading others is the way in which we are hard-wired; our natural instincts to preserve our sense of pride and our need to be (and appear to be) “nice.”

The truth is, most of us would rather have the rock-star surgeon available if we needed a coronary bypass operation, irrespective of the individual’s bedside manner. Having a great bedside manner . . . would be a definite plus! BUT, our critical requirement would be to work with a medical technician with the best possible expertise and exemplary track-record for delivering results.

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Tags: Management, Leadership

Memo to Firm Leader: Are You Getting Minutes from Group Meetings?
McKenna Associates Inc.
August 12, 2020
Whenever I’ve been called in to work with some firm’s practice or industry group, perhaps some group that needs remedial assistance or one wishing to formulate a strategic direction, my first questions of firm leadership is usually to please send me copies of the groups’ most recent meeting minutes. The response I almost always elicit is . . . “Minutes? What the hell do you mean by minutes?” Which tells me everything I need to know!

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Tags: Leadership

Is Your Industry Group Monitoring Trends?
Personal LinkedIn Posting
July 22, 2020
Now, one of the challenges that every industry group leader faces is dealing with busy professionals living in a bubble; head down and consumed in solving client issues such that they are not involved in looking outward or knowing anything about what developments may be transpiring that could affect their practices and their future prosperity. So, one of the important subjects that your group needs to devote some time to focusing on, is in identifying emergent marketplace changes.
Staying on top of industry-related market information can be achieved, in the following 10 ways.

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Tags: Business Strategy

In Matters of Strategy: Beware of Best Practices
Personal Blog
June 03, 2020
What is it about this term, ‘best practices’ that makes it sound so persuasive, and yet why don’t they always seem to work as well as some might be suggesting? I would caution that it is nothing more than the myth of a single standard of excellence; the one right way to compete.
In fact, I have a few concerns that come to mind that I believe are worth you considering

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

What to do with your industry focus when your chosen industry falters
Legal Executive Institute
May 14, 2020
Retail is among a number of industries that are experiencing severe stress, previously from the trade wars and now largely due to the shuttering of many brick-and-mortar stores due to the ongoing pandemic. Indeed, we are currently witnessing something akin to collapse in the clothing apparel retail segment, with J.Crew, Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman all filing for bankruptcy. While these business failures appeared to result from a dramatic and immediate reduction in demand, other factors were largely observable and predictable to anyone monitoring developments in the retail industry.

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Tags: Leadership, Retail, Business Strategy

Hanging Up The Crown
CBA National
March 29, 2020
Taking over from some long-serving firm leader or a founding partner can present an enormous challenge for a new managing partner. In some firms, it gets ridiculously difficult when the new leader is given only a few weeks, or even days, to prepare themselves before having to step into the role -- or when the incumbent is not fully supportive of the transition.
A departing firm leader can undertake a number of actions to make the leadership transition much smoother.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership, Legal and IP

Are You Ready for “The Social Distancing Recession?”
LinkedIn
March 15, 2020
Wise law firm leaders will be balancing dual agendas – with their first priority toward navigating unprecedented challenges while also looking past the storm to a time when valued clients will need help in handing deals that are once again possible and attractive assets that are up for grabs at significant discounts. Most of us are hunkered down, but as markets stabilize and we get used to video conferencing with clients, deal-making promises to kick back into high gear.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership, Legal and IP

Clients Value You Having a “DEEP” Industry Focus: So Do You?
Legal Executive Institute
March 11, 2020
While attorneys tout their deep technical or functional expertise, most clients view that as table stakes. They assume you’re an expert in employment law, international tax or complex litigation. And as clients face increasingly complex business challenges that go well beyond any one (traditional practice group) area of the law, they wonder if you really understand the key aspects of their industry. To be fair – they don’t care if you don’t know the intricacies of making their widgets – but they DO want you to know the idiosyncratic aspects of what they are having to deal with.

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Tags: Leadership, Business Strategy, Legal and IP

Does Your Firm Have A REAL Industry Focus?
Legal Executive Institute
February 20, 2020
Understanding Your Client’s Industry is the single biggest differentiator among law firms. Unfortunately, for too many firms, any pretense of having a real industry focus is simply a list of industries displayed on their website – without any recognition that perhaps clients can discern the difference. Bad News Flash: you are not fooling anyone! Here are a dozen diagnostic questions (not intended to be comprehensive) that you might internally review and discuss, to evaluate where you stand with respect to having a genuine industry focus.

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Tags: Leadership, Business Strategy, Legal and IP

How Do You Get Your Practice and Industry Groups Firing on All Cylinders?
Legal Business World
February 15, 2020
You appointed professionals to positions as practice group leader whom you thought would do the job (and who promised you that they would try); you provided them with some basic training; and you endeavored to periodically meet with them all as a group to provide a bit of a pep talk. Despite all your efforts, only a FEW of your groups are functioning as you had hoped. So what to do?

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

The Art Of Leadership
fivehundred magazine
November 01, 2019
This article is intended to outline for new firm leaders the eight challenges that they often do not expect when first taking the reins and certainly don't talk about amongst their peers.

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Tags: Leadership, Change Management, Risk Management

Strategy Innovation: Getting To The Future First
LinkedIn
July 10, 2019
Download your copy of my new 240-page eBook - Strategy Innovation: Getting To The Future First – https://lnkd.in/grsexeq

If you want your firm to WIN in today’s highly competitive environment you need to possess an unwavering and intentional focus on tomorrow. This book is intended to help you advance your innovative, entrepreneurial, and strategic thinking to develop a thirst for pulling the future forward on behalf of your firm and it’s various competitive practices.

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Tags: Innovation, Business Strategy, Legal and IP

e-Sports Practice
Legal Executive Institute
March 28, 2019
eSports has become a specialized micro-niche of opportunity over the last few years. The stunning rise in the popularity of particular teams of video gamers competing against one another in front of a live and broadcast audience is becoming big business.

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Tags: Innovation, Marketing, Business Strategy

When Your Strategic Plan Needs To Get Implemented
Personal LinkedIn Page
March 01, 2019
Planning is not doing. Unfortunately, some partners believe that implementing the strategy and “getting their hands dirty” is beneath them. They act as if implementation is something best left to the non-legal professionals in the firm. This view holds that one group does the innovative strategizing work (“the thinkers”), and then hands the ball off to lower levels. If things go awry, the problem is placed squarely at the feet of the “doers,” who somehow couldn’t implement a “perfectly sound” plan.
Whenever I think about the effort that is required to go into implementing your firm’s strategic plan, I’m reminded of a particular business book title that grabbed my attention when I first saw it . . . Hope Is Not A Strategy!

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Tags: Business Strategy

Digital Transformation - Part 2
Legal Executive Institute
February 27, 2019
The US market, the largest and most mature as to digital transformation, is also one of the fastest growing and was the first to go all out in this area. And while law firms have been slow to identify this micro-niche as a lucrative area of focus, the consulting profession has not.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Innovation, Leadership

Digital Transformation - Part 1
Legal Executive Institute
February 20, 2019
Today, successful companies realize the costs of failing to innovate in a business landscape that is seeing incumbents displaced at an increasingly rapid speed. Intel, which has more than 100,000 employees, holds quarterly innovation days where employees can report the digital threats and opportunities they see in the distance.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Innovation, Leadership

When Your Strategic Plan Needs To Get Implemented
Legal Business World
February 11, 2019
Planning is not doing. Unfortunately, some partners believe that implementing the strategy and “getting their hands dirty” is beneath them. They act as if implementation is something best left to the non-legal professionals in the firm. This view holds that one group does the innovative strategizing work (“the thinkers”), and then hands the ball off to lower levels. If things go awry, the problem is placed squarely at the feet of the “doers,” who somehow couldn’t implement a “perfectly sound” plan.
Whenever I think about the effort that is required to go into implementing your firm’s strategic plan, I’m reminded of a particular business book title that grabbed my attention when I first saw it . . . Hope Is Not A Strategy!
To effectively transform your best intentions into tangible action, there are EIGHT common hurdles that you may need to overcome. Thinking through the following will help you make the leap . . .

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Tags: Business Strategy

Strategic Challenges That New Firm Leaders Face
Legal Business World magazine
January 14, 2019
Most lawyers have NO idea what the huge scope of this job entails (ever seen a job description?), how much exhausting travel can be involved, how much time it really requires, how lonely it can be at the top, and how ill prepared many new firm leaders are when they assume office! There are a number of common questions that I find are asked about leadership transitions and the challenges that new firm leaders often face and so I have identified those with my observations and experience with respect to each

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Business Strategy

Conducting A Strategic Review Versus A Strategic Plan
Personal LinkedIn Page
January 02, 2019
I believe that instigating a strategic review is very different from initiating a strategic plan, but the two often get confused. I see too many firms thinking that they are developing a strategic plan when they are really investing their time in conducting a strategic review.
How is a strategic plan different?

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Tags: Business Strategy

Metrics To Stimulate Innovative Action
Personal LinkedIn Page
December 01, 2018
If you are a firm leader, look at the issues that are currently consuming your time.
I often ask of firm leaders a couple of questions that painfully illuminates where they spend their time. First: “What proportion of your time is spent solving problems versus what proportion is spent on exploring new opportunities?” After a rather awkward reflection period, the answer I usually elicit is about 80% on solving problems and maybe 20% on exploring opportunities.
I suspect that it is really more like 95% on problems and 5% on opportunities, but let’s analyze what their response infers. This means that as the firm leader, you are spending 80% of your time and energy looking backwards and fixing things, while only 20% looking forward and creating things. Firms operating in this mode will find it hard to lead in their marketplaces.

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership

Every New Innovation Can Look Like a Failure in the Middle
Personal LinkedIn Page
November 01, 2018
In the "middle," you can overspend resources; both time and money, because forecasts are always overly optimistic. You should expect to have the unexpected pop up that no one knew would be there. After all, no one has been down this path before.
And the middle is when the critics attack. Opponents start to notice and will offer favorable comments about the project . . . only when it looks like it might be a winner.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation

Everything You Need To Know Has An Expiration Date
Personal LinkedIn Page
October 01, 2018
As a professional one of the things we tend to ignore and overlook is that everything we know has an expiration date. In an earlier era, many professionals retired having practiced in the same area, having attained competency and then spent their time doing pretty much the same thing from the day they entered their profession. Today, continuous learning and skill building are conditions precedent to maintain a healthy career.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Inspiring Leaders Connect With The Heart and Mind
Personal LinkedIn Page
September 01, 2018
There can be no real glue holding a firm together and certainly no leadership, without some degree of intimacy - some human acknowledgement of one another; that we are all people, each one with a unique story, unique difficulties, unique dreams. Leaders must see into the heads and hearts of those they would lead. Leaders who think leadership is about them have it exactly wrong. Ignore the people and the people will ignore you.
It all starts with getting to know your colleagues, their strengths, their shortcomings; their aspirations, and their fears. In spite of the best social media tools . . . there is NO substitute for face-to-face human interaction. The very best way to get to know what other people in your firm want is to sit down and communicate with them about it – on their own turf. Find the common ground.

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Tags: Leadership

How Conventional Strategizing Can Be A Waste of Time
Legal Business World
June 09, 2018
Many firms that have been involved in conventional strategic planning are failing to improve their ability to differentiate themselves, their competitiveness or their relative growth, in spite of the investment of time and effort in the planning exercise. One needs to recognize that the typical strategic planning exercise now conducted and infused with massive quantitative data misses the essence of the concept of strategy and what is necessary for being innovative and differentiated.

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Tags: Innovation, Management, Leadership

Do You Help Your Colleagues Feel Like Winners?
Personal LinkedIn Page
June 01, 2018
Our energy and enthusiasm for continual growth and improvement is strongly influenced by whether we feel like winners, taste success, and are having fun along the way. It’s all too easy to let what is yet not finished overshadow what we have accomplished.
Determine what you want to celebrate as the starting point for your cheerleading. The hoopla and celebration are not only for the sake of fun, but for the sake of calling attention to and reinforcing your team’s values and accomplishments. If it is important within your firm to have professionals involved in community and civic organizations, then celebrate when one of your people gets appointed to some position of significance. If one of the goals is to generate new clients, then celebrate when someone or a team achieves some major progress with client origination. If your firm values loyalty, then celebrate with years of service gatherings. The point here is that everything about a celebration must be matched to its purpose.

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Tags: Leadership

Scrape The Barnacles Off The Bottom of Your (Leader)Ship
Personal LinkedIn Page
May 01, 2018
I remember fondly one particular firm leader who commented to me “leadership is not the things you do to or for your people. But rather, it is more often the impediments you scrape away, leaving space for folks to empower themselves.”

SO, what exactly have you done today to remove obstacles to success from the path of the would-be heroes, the dedicated client-serving professionals that you lead?

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Tags: Leadership

Leading to the Future: Evolution of Blockchain and Its Impact on Your Clients
Legal Executive Institute
April 26, 2018
It was only back in mid-2015, while speaking at a couple of legal conferences (including one on Client Growth Strategies), that I would ask, “Show of hands, how many of you have heard of blockchain?” only to confront an audience that had no idea what I was talking about. Fortunately, I would speculate that most of these same folks have now heard of blockchain and have some notion of what the label refers to… but do they really?

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Tags: Blockchain, Innovation, Fintech

Be A Star Catcher: Discover The Best in Others
Personal LinkedIn Page
April 01, 2018
Firm leaders can invariably ensnare themselves in the trap of looking only for problems and failures to be fixed, rather than seeing successes needing to be replicated, emulated and multiplied. Focusing predominantly on problems and failures encourages your people to become overly cautious. It does almost nothing to encourage success, especially at the vital task of regularly innovating slightly new ways to do something better.
The most effective leaders go to great lengths to regularly, obsessively, and enthusiastically point out individual’s successes and positively reinforce those accomplishments. They make extraordinary efforts to stimulate more numerous future successes by promoting current successes. They accord particular recognition, often with great fanfare to individual and group demonstrations of commitment.

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Tags: Leadership

Avoid Tolerating Mediocrity
Personal LinkedIn Page
March 01, 2018
Mediocrity can insidiously work its way through every nook and cranny in your firm. The symptoms are numerous: from aimless meetings that begin late to an acceptance of missed deadlines; from commitments that have little follow-up to surreptitious dialogue in the form of whispers and rumors; from reports long on flash but short on substance to failures to confront individual underperformance.
In a culture of mediocrity, complaining, blaming and offering excuses - “what we ought to do . . .” quickly replaces accountability. Lethargy and complacency replaces action. Reactivity and defensiveness replaces initiative and risk.

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Tags: Leadership

Focus Your Leadership on Innovation, Not Fixing Problems!
Personal LinkedIn Page
February 01, 2018
Most of us as professionals are veteran problem solvers. We are trained to resolve the issue, put out the fire, correct the underperformance, and generally “fix” the problem. There is a natural gravitational field which unconsciously moves us toward fixing things instead of improving, toward restoring instead of increasing, and toward reacting rather than being proactive.

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership

Your Firm Can NEVER Be Something The Leader is Not
Personal LinkedIn Page
January 01, 2018
When one thinks about the words most closely associated with “leader” you might very well think of terms like catalyst, trailblazer, executive or visionary. Now if you then ask a respected firm leader, with some years of experience, what words are most closely associated, you are likely to hear terms like coach, servant, facilitator and friend.
Whether in service to your firm as a firm leader or even someone who has the responsibility for heading up a group, by now you will have heard all of the common clichés about how the job of working with and managing other professionals is akin to being the only fire hydrant on a street of dogs, like lighting your hair and then putting the fire out with a hammer, like nailing jello to the wall, pushing string across a table, or (the one I like most) “like herding cats.”

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Tags: Leadership

The Power of What Your Client's Say
Legal Business World
December 05, 2017
A testimonial is usually a written communication from a client that talks about what is special about you, your practice group and/or your firm. Preferably a testimonial should describe the work undertaken, highlighting the success achieved, and include a comment that the client is happy to recommend you.
The power of a testimonial or of someone endorsing your service can be the key that unlocks the doors of the subconscious mind. It is tangible evidence that allows you to showcase the specific ways you are meaningfully differentiated and distinctive from competitors.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Leaders Accumulate Incremental Victories to Make Monumental Progress
Personal LinkedIn Page
December 01, 2017
Leaders know that the most effective change strategies come by way of accumulating little incremental victories – even if and when your ultimate goal may be a complete overhaul of the system.

Start with your business plan or practice development agenda for 2018. Involve in your planning initiative all of your colleagues who can be counted upon to help in the implementation efforts. Individual professionals only support, believe in, and show commitment for some direction that they themselves have had some active part in formulating. Planning together and having people make their own decisions increases the likelihood of commitment to implementation.

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Tags: Leadership

Publicly Contested Horse-Races Don’t Usually End Well
Legal Business World
November 17, 2017
When a firm leader’s departure is predictable, firms need to take appropriate steps to ensure a controlled and effective succession process that minimizes the inevitable ‘disruption’ likely to occur. Having a contested election isn’t necessarily a negative, it only becomes problematic when it becomes public and political.

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Tags: Leadership

More Leadership Transition Misfires
Legal Business World
November 17, 2017
Your leadership transition process can also become dysfunctional when either of two specific things are allowed to occur

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Tags: Leadership

As A Leader, People Follow Your Example Not Your Advice
Personal LinkedIn Page
November 01, 2017
In order to be an effective leader you need to take advantage of the power of modeling or setting a positive example. You need to make yourself highly visible on a regular basis in a myriad of different ways and use that exposure to reinforce what you believe in, what direction you believe your firm or team should be headed, and how you intend to get there. As a leader, you have at your disposal a wide variety of “trivial tools” embedded in your daily message sending and receiving activities that can be used to energize and influence.

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Tags: Leadership

True Leadership Requires Being An Enthusiastic Change Agent
Personal LinkedIn Page
October 01, 2017
It is gross understatement to acknowledge that we are living in a world of accelerating change. That said, ironically this is likely to be the past that somebody in the future will be longing to return to.
Your job as the leader isn’t to adapt to change, but to create change. So why not enter the fray with all guns firing, all hands on deck, and everyone focused on the targets you have chosen. No one enters the Olympics shouting “Go for the bronze!” Pursuing the gold and ending up with the bronze may be a noble effort, but pursuing the bronze and ending up in 13th place makes little sense.

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Tags: Change Management, Leadership

The Best Leaders Ask Really Good Questions
Personal LinkedIn Page
September 01, 2017
There can be no real glue holding any firm together and certainly no leadership, without some degree of intimacy - some human acknowledgement of one another; that we are all people, each one with a unique story, unique difficulties and unique aspirations.
It all starts with getting to know your people, their strengths, their shortcomings; their dreams, and their fears. And to that end there is no substitute for face-to-face human interaction. The very best way to get to know what other people in your firm want is to sit down and communicate with them about it - on their own turf.

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Tags: Leadership

Six Great Leadership Nuggets I’ve Overheard
Personal LinkedIn Page
August 01, 2017
For Example:
• When hiring candidates, ask for their operating manual.
Tell candidates: “Imagine you're a robot. What does your manual say under 'ideal operating conditions.'” Once they answer, follow-up with this question: “What does the 'warning label' say?” You're likely to get insightful, unpredictable and even humorous answers but this is likely to be very subtle way of gauging an individual’s self-awareness and revealing their personality.

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Tags: Leadership

Sound Leadership Counsel in Six Words
Personal LinkedIn Page
July 01, 2017
According to literary lore, Ernest Hemingway was once challenged while in a bar, to write an entire novel in just six words. I thought about that in the context of what I might (tongue firmly in cheek) title my autobiography one day – “My Life: It Won’t End Well.”
From the trivial to the profound, this six word constraint forces one to figure out the essence of what matters most. This constraint often inspires rather than limits individual creativity. To that end and in having some fun with a group of colleagues, I’ve composed the following and would now invite you to join in and expand on my initial meandering:

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Tags: Leadership

Preconditions To Setting-Up Your Own Advisory Board
Personal LinkedIn Page
June 01, 2017
You don't always have to go it alone or rely only on the intuition of your colleagues. A good number of professional firms have formed an advisory board to counsel the firm leader and/or the firm’s elected board on various aspects of their business – everything from operations to personnel to planning for growth.

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Tags: Leadership

The Challenges in Sharing Leadership
Legal Executive Institute
June 01, 2017
The job of leading a law firm may certainly be demanding enough for two professionals; but the test is selecting the right two people to share the role. From my vantage point I have witnessed multiple examples of attempts to split the firm leadership job that led to clashing egos and crippling power struggles, especially if one of these two partners conceals any ambition for holding the position alone.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership, Management

How Can You Really Differentiate Your Practice?
Legal Business World
May 02, 2017
At a time when the demand for legal services is flat, the root of all successful strategy lies in being differentiated. Your firm and your individual practice groups must all work at making themselves distinctive and intrinsically more valuable to clients.

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Tags: Business Strategy

How Having An Advisory Board Can Add Value
Personal LinkedIn Page
May 01, 2017
If you are like many Firm Leaders you probably belong to one or more peer organizations where you can network with fellow professionals. But, what I’ve learned is that you may not feel comfortable sharing your most sensitive or pressing management challenges, or discussing competitive opportunities among those same peers. Having your own advisory board can supplement those peer networks and relationships.

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Tags: Leadership

Manage The Disruption When Leaders Leave
Personal LinkedIn Page
April 01, 2017
When a firm leader’s departure is predictable, as in the case with their term reaching an end — there are numerous uncertainties (such as the identity of an appropriate successor) that, if handled poorly, can have a major negative impact on your firm’s performance. It is important to understand that overall performance can suffer, sometimes spectacularly so, during any transition from an outgoing leader to a new one — and I have witnessed examples of this diminished performance extending for as long as a year.

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Tags: Leadership

The Five Challenging Paradoxes of Firm Leadership
Legal Business World
December 12, 2016
Over the past decade I have had the privilege, through my consulting, research and interviews, to peek behind the veil surrounding the challenge of becoming a new managing partner (or whatever title best signifies your firm’s leader). From candid discussions about the stress involved in looking like you know what you are doing and the huge time demands imposed by your partner’s requests, to feeling disorientated by the scale and scope of the mandate, many professionals quietly struggle with the various pressures that accompany their term in office.

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Tags: Leadership

The Myth of Visionary Leadership
Legal Executive Institute
October 03, 2016
While almost every book on leadership suggests that a true leader needs to have a vision (with more than 400 books listed under “Visionary Leadership” on Amazon) I think it is nice in theory, sounds profoundly intelligent as a concept, but is absolute nonsense in its application with highly talented professionals.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Leadership

Solving the ‘Commitment Drift’ Frustration
Legal Executive Institute
July 28, 2016
If there is one single frustration that I hear from firm and practice leaders on a continual basis it is trying to determine how to deal with the “commitment drift” of those partners who make promises but don’t always follow through. In other words, how do you ensure task completion on important projects when your partners agree to do something at the implementation stage, and you’re uncertain that you will see the necessary committed follow-through?

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Leadership

Involving Firm Leaders in Selecting their Successors
Legal Executive Institute
June 06, 2016
Firm chairs and managing partners can play a very critical role in identifying and developing leadership talent within their firms — most specifically those lawyers ready to head up offices, practice groups and industry teams. But in my experience, there are a number of reasons why I would be cautious about having your current firm leader choose his or her successor.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Leadership

Competitive Plagiarism
McKenna Associates Inc.
September 15, 2015
Many firm leaders view other competitors, their strategies, performance and experience as the benchmark from which to set standards for their own firm. That kind of competitive comparison makes sense, especially as your firm’s performance is often defined by what your peer firms are doing. Where this approach becomes an obstruction is when the logic behind what works for some other firm, why it works and what might work for you is not assiduously examined and thereby results in firms engaging in mindless imitation.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Firm Strategy: Understanding Industry Dynamics
Bloomberg Law
July 23, 2015
Editor’s Note: This post is written by an advisor to law firms who has written extensively about the legal industry. It is the first article on how law firms are becoming more industry focused.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Beyond the Mea Culpa
American Lawyer Magazine
June 01, 2015
Why you made that strategic error, and how to recover from it. (Hint: Ignoring the problem or rationalizing it aren't options.)

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Tags: Leadership

Being An Effective Leader Is All About Relationships
Personal LinkedIn Page
November 01, 2014
It has been my observation, over the years, that many leaders rank low on empathy. They understand it intellectually, they just don’t pay enough attention, ask the right questions or comprehend that it is not just about what your colleagues think, but about how they feel. To be an effective leader you need to do more than just manage the bottom line and watch the numbers like a hawk. Obviously that may be necessary, but so is offering suggestions, being supportive, being a source of creative ideas, helping your people think through their roles and helping them make the best use of their time. If fact, that is precisely what the best leaders do.

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Tags: Leadership

Are You Developing A Star Culture
Am Law Daily
July 18, 2014
It is important to weigh the value that developing a star culture may bring – and the costs that come with it. For example, star cultures can obsess over the wrong metrics, suppress innovative behavior, and impair partner morale.

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Tags: Leadership

Firm Leadership Is NOT For Wimps!
International Review
April 25, 2014
Here are 8 leadership truths that we don't talk about, but that I know to be valid based upon anecdotal evidence gleaned from countless discussions and interviews with firm leaders much wiser than I am.

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Tags: Leadership

6 Factors That Can Impede Effective Firm Leader - COO Relationships
Of Counsel Newsletter
April 15, 2014
The reality is that a COO inevitably finds him or herself with a brand new boss while at the same time, some new Firm Leader realizes that they now have to work closely with an individual whom they may not even know very well. There are any number of factors that can make this “forced marriage” rather challenging, if they are not conscientiously addressed.

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Tags: Leadership

Publications publication titleStrategy Innovation: Getting To The Future FIRST (240-page eBook) publication date2019 publication descriptionLegal Business World Publishing publication descriptionIf you want your firm to WIN in today’s highly competitive environment you need to possess an unwaver
McKenna Associates Inc.
September 15, 2013
There is now significant evidence to show all leaders are susceptible to overusing their strengths. Your natural desire to be forceful and forthright can, under pressure, become perceived to be abusive and authoritative. Your operating preference to always seek consensus can drift into periods of protracted indecision. The desire to dramatically improve performance and the firm’s profitability can incite a preoccupation for short-term expediency.

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Tags: Leadership

Malignant Leadership
The American Lawyer Magazine
January 15, 2013
It wasn’t until a pair of more recent failures, of Howrey and Dewey & LeBoeuf, that we’ve seen the industry begin to hold a firm’s own leadership accountable for its failure.
Too often, boards and/or executive committees facilitate firm failures by denying, overlooking, or “working around” crucial issues. In other words, firms fail when good people do nothing! There is an absence of checks and balances. Power is centralized, and those responsible for monitoring have either been silenced or choose to be mute. So when the board is benign . . . the leadership can become malignant.
It can take some time to realize that a firm leader is on a path to disaster. This is particularly the case when the leader has had a stellar career. Fortunately, there are firm-governance steps that can be taken to curb a malignant leader. While this list is not exhaustive, it does present plenty of options for consideration.

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Tags: Leadership

Crazy Like a Fox
The American Lawyer Magazine
February 01, 2012
Why the increase in nonequity partners (and decrease in associate ranks) makes business sense.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Low Return: The Unintended Consequences of Financial Incentives
American Lawyer Magazine
November 01, 2011
Financial incentives are The Am Law 200’s favorite motivational tools, but their value is limited, and they carry risks.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Methodologies That Make Strategic Planning A Waste of Time
McKenna Associates Inc.
June 10, 2011
Many firms that have been involved in conventional strategic planning are failing to improve their ability to differentiate themselves, their competitiveness or their relative growth, in spite of the investment of time and effort in the planning exercise. How many firms with a beautifully presented strategic plan have anything meaningful to show from their efforts? One would think that the application of strategic planning methodologies would have achieved more measurable results.
One needs to recognize that the typical strategic planning exercise now conducted and infused with massive quantitative data misses the essence of the concept of strategy and what is necessary for being innovative and differentiated. Indeed the word “strategy” has unfortunately become a devalued term, challenged only in the buzzword hall-of-shame by “synergy” or perhaps “out-of-the-box thinking.”
But the problem here for most of us isn’t with terminology. When research study after research study now suggests that the only way for your firm to grow is at the expense of competitors, the need for you to craft a truly competitive strategy could not be more acute. The real problem is one of not continuing to utilize shop-worn, tired old approaches, which simply don’t work anymore.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Evaluating Your Performance As a Managing Partner
McKenna Associates Inc.
September 15, 2010
“There is an old adage in managing a client’s expectations that states, whether we like it or not, we are going to be measured. If we take a very passive approach the measuring stick against which we will be measured will be exclusively a creation of our client. Alternatively, we can help create and shape the measurement criteria.” My message was that as the firm leader you should take the initiative and I provided a quick-and-easy sample of 29 evaluative factors that any firm leader could use to elicit feedback from their colleagues.

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Tags: Leadership

Leadership Transitions: Seven Steps To Ensure Success
Law Practice Magazine
July 15, 2009
This is the specific guidance you will need to help you and your predecessor determine how you will work together going forward.

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Tags: Leadership

12 Books
Strategy Innovation: Getting To The Future FIRST
Legal Business World
July 10, 2019
If you want your firm to WIN in today’s highly competitive environment you need to possess an unwavering and intentional focus on tomorrow. This book is intended to help you advance your innovative, entrepreneurial, and strategic thinking to develop a thirst for pulling the future forward on behalf of your firm and it’s various competitive practices.
The future is no longer a timeframe; the future is a mindset! The greatest handicap with the conventional planning process is that it works from today forward and implicitly assumes, whatever the assertions to the contrary, that the future will be more or less like the present. The leading minds know that the future will not be an echo of the present. Getting to the future first requires that you be deliberately farsighted.

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Tags: Business Strategy

The Art Of Leadership Succession: How To Select Your Next Firm Leader
LBW Publishing
April 15, 2019
Patrick J. McKenna’s latest book, The Art of Leadership Succession, may be the most comprehensive text on law firm succession ever written, covering every priority from choosing a nominating committee to defining leadership criteria.
It’s worth highlighting some points that McKenna makes in his thorough and informative guidebook—and that’s really what it is: a succession bible. He really covers all the bases, from selecting a nominating committee with the right composition and setting selection criteria for the next leader, to developing and implementing a transition and integration plan to usher out the former chair or managing partner gracefully and usher in the new one. And, he offers guidance on all of the many steps in between. The biggest value of this book is the way it helps show how best to pass the leadership baton. To use another metaphor, it serves as a beacon to navigating through the rocky waters of succession planning.

Excerpted from Critique written by: Stephen T. Taylor, Senior Editor
Of Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

When It Comes Time To Instigate Change
Legal Business World Publications
March 20, 2019
Every few years a new theme emerges in law firm management. There was a time and perhaps it still exists where we witnessed resistant attorneys being forced to take the marketing of professional services seriously. We have all since observed initiatives like total quality management, branding programs, alternate billing methods, and project management assume center stage. Meanwhile, many of our skeptical and often times, senior partners have chosen to sit on the sidelines.

So why is it that these professionals are so skeptical?

From understanding the “Challenges of Implementing Your Initiatives” and “Helping Your Partners See The Need to Change” to “Helping Your Partners Take Action” and
“Nurturing Your Partners To Follow-Though” this 50-page eBook provides advice and counsel on how to convert best intentions into best practices.

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Change Management

The State of Law Firm Leadership
Legal Executive Institute
August 09, 2018
This extensive White Paper is based on a comprehensive 30-question survey, distributed in June and July to a group of about 300 law firm leaders, many among the Am Law 100 and 200 ranked firms. The data uncovered some surprising and potentially valuable findings

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Legal and IP

Leadership Lessons From The Trenches
Legal Business World
June 20, 2018
This 120-page book is a compilation of some 34 concise, leadership tips containing pithy, pragmatic and sometimes, provocative advice on everything from how the best leaders get exactly what they expect to being a good coach to your colleagues (contained in Part One: In The Trenches With Colleagues) – and – from how to signal what you value as a leader to why those supposed ‘best practices’ are not always best (in Part Two: In The Trenches With Your Team).

These meanderings were inspired by those I’ve had the honor of working with, were fun to write and so I hope equally rewarding to read; but more importantly provide some guidance on how you can make your leadership journey more meaningful for those you serve and more personally gratifying for yourself.

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Management

Serving at the Pleasure of My Partners: Advice to the New Firm Leader
Thomson Reuters
March 15, 2011
Serving at the Pleasure of My Partners: Advice to the New Firm Leader provides straightforward guidance about your tenure as manager – your leadership style, compensation, time management, and responsibilities – and the people you manage.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership, Legal and IP

Passing The Baton: The Last 100 Days
Ark Group Publishing
September 01, 2008
Whether the result of your firm having set term limits or your personally deciding to step down from office, sooner or later every firm leader will be the central player in a leadership transition. It is an issue that many firm chairs and managing partners grapple with . . . when it is time to move on, how do you create a sensible departure plan and manage the transition in a way that enhances your reputation? After all, the last impression you make in your leadership tenure may be the most important to capping your legacy.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

The First 100 Days: Transitioning A New Managing Partner
NexTBOOKs
September 01, 2006
This text provides prescriptive counsel to new firm leaders on what actions they might consider as they begin undertaking their initial responsibilities. Included is the experienced wisdom and real-world commentary of some twenty law firm leaders.
PRAISE: "Patrick McKenna has written a fabulous new 23-page-book called FIRST 100 DAYS: Transitioning A New Managing Partner. I showed Patricks monograph to some clients of mine outside the legal profession, and they agreed that it is incredibly useful and well-written." - David Maister

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

First Among Equals: How to Manage a Group of Professionals
Free Press
April 04, 2005
Professional service gurus David Maister and Patrick McKenna have created a practical handbook on how to lead professional colleagues or peers when you lack formal authority. Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge calls it “a timely, easy to read work leavened with action plans and examples.”

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Tags: Innovation, Management

beyondKNOWING: 16 Cage-Rattling Questions To Jump-Start Your Practice Team
Institute for Best Management Practices
May 01, 2000
Today, our preoccupation with finding answers must not obscure the importance of asking the right questions. In fact, average answers to good questions, more often than not, yield better insights than astounding answers to lousy questions.
Unfortunately, too many partnership and practice group meetings get filled with artery-clogging discussions that do little to help determine how busy professionals are going to invest their precious non-billable time to change their future. Meanwhile, our strategic planning efforts become consumed by uninspiring and overly complicated navel-gazing that often results in little more than a binder full of documents gathering dust on some managing partners’ bookshelf. The idea that rigorous analysis will somehow yield blinding insights is invariably replaced by the creative synthesis of nothing more than “me-too” strategies.
beyondKNOWING is not intended to be the latest diagnosis of prevailing market trends or some serious academic tome . . . but rather a collection of unusual, quirky, provocative, and bizarre questions to clear out the cobwebs at your next meeting, jump-start your creative thinking, tickle the brain, launch your partners’ minds moving in productive directions, pop some new ideas out of your intellectual toaster, and get energized to take action.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Herding Cats: Handbook for Managing Partners and Practice Group Leaders
The Institute for Best Management Practices
July 10, 1995
Whether in the service to your firm as a managing partner or heading up a practice group, by now you will have heard all of the common cliches about how the job of working with and managing other professionals is akin to being the only fire hydrant on a street full of dogs; like lighting your hair and then putting the fire out with a hammer; like nailing Jell-O to the wall; pushing string across a table; or (the one I most commonly hear quoted) "like herding cats!"
This handbook is intended to be a catalyst to provoke your thinking and provide you with a working reference of what the job really entails. You will find no pompous concepts spelling out the quick fix leadership-awakening diet. There are no arrogant value judgments proposing one type of firm culture, compensation system or leadership personality as being more desirable, superior or effective than any other. What I hope you will find is a rich menu of practical and inspiring examples drawn from my research and client work.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Practice Development: Creating The Marketing Mindset
Butterworths Legal Publications - ISBN 0-409-80636-6
April 15, 1989
This was the first book published (to our knowledge) on the subject of the marketing of legal services and distributed internationally. A decade later recognized amongst the Top 10 Books on law firm marketing.
Unfortunately now out of print. You may wish to try securing a copy through www.alibris.com

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership, Marketing

36 Book Chapters
Be Dominant Somewhere Rather Than Mediocre Everywhere
Legal Business World
August 11, 2021
From your firm’s perspective: is each practice truly profitable, is the practice worth committing further resources toward developing, or what would the downside be if we were not to provide these services? Indeed, could we somehow fine-tune or reposition this business unit so as to be regarded as the preeminent authorities in some new niche or selective area of client need?
While many firms engage in some form of strategic planning, only a few really come to realize that having three to five truly strong practices is preferable to having a good number of mediocre practices that serve only to consume resources, dilute profits and diffuse strategic focus. Firms and their business units need to clearly articulate what their selective focus is. Imagine having as a compelling challenge and managing your firm consistent with a strategy that states: “We will have as integral to our firm, only those business units that are clearly number one, two, or three in every market we serve.”

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Claiming To Be Full Service Is An Exercise In Irrelevance.
Legal Business World
July 14, 2021
Too often your firm’s strategy, assuming that you have one, is focused on the wrong issues.
Many keep asking, “How can we effectively compete with (that particular firm) at what they are doing in (some particular area)?” Firms are so intent on watching each other and imitating what each other do, that they fall victim to competitor inertia. The more your firm looks like everyone else and as any distinguishable differences between firms blur, competition leads to commoditization.
Many firms attempt to be different but are not truly differentiated because they pursue forms of uniqueness that clients simply do not value. Some of the most prominent examples of this are firms that propagandize their: number of lawyers; reputation and years in business; growth in revenues; promise to assign the best people; commitment to superior client service; various (pay-to-play) “Best Lawyers” awards; devotion to producing results; etc. Sorry: these are ALL table stakes, not points of meaningful, to clients, differentiation.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

The Most Lucrative Growth is Industry Focused But Only If You Get Granular
Legal Business World
July 02, 2021
I was reading an interesting interview with Sandy Thomas who was just reelected for his third term as Global Managing Partner at Reed Smith. What struck me was when he was asked about the direction of his firm and his growth priorities, he responded that Reed Smith will concentrate what he calls its “talent, time and treasure” as the firm embarks on a new four-year plan. The focus will be on developing capabilities in five core industries: financial services; life sciences and health; energy and natural resources; transportation; and entertainment and media. The interviewer observed, “That’s a wide net -- but compared to some Big Law leaders who seem loathe to imply any scrap of business is less important, it’s practically a laser-like focus.”
We all know intuitively that we need to have our firm grow but the subject of growth can be a tricky topic such that it becomes important to have an informed perspective on how to think about it. Growth creates healthy practices, strong firms, opens up opportunities, excites and attracts good lateral talent, and rewards partners. But do we really know how to achieve it? And I am not going to blow smoke at you here – law firms and lawyers do NOT understand the intricacies of Industries.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Learning Faster Than Your Competition Can Be Your Strategic Advantage
Legal Business World
March 23, 2021
Firm and group leaders need to pose a few very serious questions to their colleagues in one-on-one (virtual) coaching discussions:

1. “Do you believe you are adding real value or simply passing along legal information to our clients? In other words, my beloved partner, what is it that you can specifically do for clients today, that you could NOT do for them at this same time last year?”
2. “What do you need to do, in the time that you have available right now, to build your skills and reinforce your opportunities for when we come out of this pandemic so that you can have an even more successful practice?”
3. “As you see this pandemic continuing to unfold, are you plugged into what is happening around you and inside your client’s industry, such that you can interpret whatever is transpiring and be the source of proactive counsel – before the client has to ask?”
4. “Are you trying out any new ideas, new techniques, new technologies and I mean personally trying them, not just reading about them? Or, are you waiting for others to figure out how to innovate and re-engineer your practice – (and re-engineer you . . . right out of that practice)?”

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Get Your Industry Focus In Sync.
Legal Business World
July 24, 2020
When exploring what factors clients use to select their preferred firms, three criteria were tops: Specialization (are you doing something that we cannot just get everywhere else?); Technology (are you using technology to improve your productivity and collaboration?); and Ability to Understand Client Needs (which sounds a lot like the commonly phrased – do you understand our business / industry?)
This article provides some prescriptive guidance on how what label you attach to your industry group actually matters; how you need to be very specific about the sub-industry you are targeting; how there are areas of lucrative opportunity that may defy simple industry categorization; and why industry sector expertise is THE differentiator.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Enough with The Visionary Leadership BS.
Legal Business World
June 17, 2020
Last week I came across another article by another supposed best practices researcher that claimed to have surveyed more than 1800 law firm partners on “what they really want from their leaders.” This author informs us that they “asked partners to describe, in their own words, what they saw as the key strengths of their leaders.”
Survey Says . . . “being a Visionary” is at the top of their list. Can you just imagine?
While many books on leadership suggests that a leader needs to have a vision (with some 627 books currently listed under Visionary Leadership on Amazon) I think it is all very nice in theory, sounds profoundly intelligent as a concept, but is absolute BS in its application for you leading a team of highly talented professionals.
Let me tell you about some of the garbage that gets spouted about what leadership is all about and what does work.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Big Industry Groups Suck!
Legal Business World
June 10, 2020
In a recent webinar on industry group best practices, the panelists were asked whether there was an ideal size for their groups. “How big do you allow an industry sector group to become?” asked the moderator. According to the first panelist: “I would say, our membership is unlimited . . . the more the merrier.”
Unfortunately, bigger does not always mean better, and nowhere is that more evident than when it comes to measuring practice or industry group effectiveness. In the process of David Maister and my writing First Among Equals, we devoted an entire chapter to our observations from working with and interviewing the leaders of high performing practice and industry groups – across professions. In it we reported emphatically that one of the clearest ways to ensure failure is to allow membership to grow beyond a small, solid working group.
Here’s a half-dozen important reasons why big groups suck, why we need to strive for smaller teams, and some prescriptive options for you to consider in making a course correction.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Seeing the Future First – Analyzing Strategic Trends
Ark Publishers
May 12, 2020
This is a forward looking article intended to help readers look around the corners to see and analyze new developments.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Horizon Scanning: Modernizing Legal Service Delivery
Global Law and Business
May 01, 2020
This book is about leading your firm into the future with respect to positioning it to take advantage f changes already on the horizon.

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Tags: Leadership

The Lawyer’s Guide to the Future of Practice Management
Ark Publishing
October 14, 2019
am pleased to have contributed a chapter to this new book intended to provide guidance, and market knowledge on what today’s legal marketplace might look like tomorrow.
The Lawyer’s Guide to the Future of Practice Management provides law firm leaders with expert opinion on the very latest guidance and market knowledge on what today’s legal marketplace might look like tomorrow, organized into four crucial areas of practice management – technology, people and culture, finance and strategy – before taking a horizon-scan of the future, and what law firms need to be aware of in the coming months and years. For my part, this represents the 37th book that I have contributed to over the course of my career. For a complete list of all of the various books that I have authored chapters for, you need only look here:

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Dispute Resolution and Lawyers, A Contemporary Approach, Sixth Edition
West Academic Publishing; 6th edition
September 08, 2019
CasebookPlus Hardbound - New, hardbound print book includes lifetime digital access to an eBook, with the ability to highlight and take notes, and 12-month access to a digital Learning Library that includes self-assessment quizzes tied to this book, leading study aids, an outline starter, and Gilbert Law Dictionary.

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Tags: Leadership

The Lawyer's Guide to the Future of Practice Management
Global Law and Business
September 01, 2019
The Lawyer's Guide to the Future of Practice Management provides law firm leaders with expert opinion on the very latest guidance and market knowledge on what today's legal marketplace might look like tomorrow, organized into four crucial areas of practice management - technology, people and culture, finance and strategy - before taking a horizon-scan of the future, and what law firms need to be aware of in the coming months and years.

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Tags: Leadership

Legal Leadership: A Handbook for Future Success
Global Law and Business
November 01, 2018
To position oneself as a contender in a fast-moving and competitive market, the legal leader of the future must push back against these trends by acting strategically, engaging in people management, investing in their employees, and creating a working environment that places emphasis on communication, teamwork, and growth and development.
Legal leadership: a handbook for future success combines the latest and most relevant intelligence from those on the frontline of law firm leadership and management, to serve as the catalyst for change and the foundation on which a strong leadership practice can be built. Drawing on their expertise and experience, our authors - ranging from behavioral psychologists to senior management figures and pofessional coaches -present a wide range of competencies and strategies to cultivate as part of a leader's personal and professional development. Whether you are already a member of your firm's senior management, or in a junior position with big aspirations, Legal leadership: a handbook for future success provides the essential tools to equip you to become a leader of the future.

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Tags: Leadership

Developing Your Growth Strategy: Seeking Clear Blue Waters
Legal Business World
June 09, 2018
One of the little ironies I’ve observed over the years is firm-wide strategic plans that get drafted and finalized without any allowance for input from the various business units that comprise your firm. In other words, what I’m proposing here is that what you, as firm leader, are managing is NOT one homogeneous firm but rather a portfolio of very different business units – such that what may be required to develop, market and grow a very successful and profitable Health Care Group will be very different from that required for a highly successful Labor and Employment practice. Like many clichés, this one turns out to be true – a successful firm strategy is largely built around having strong practice groups, positioned in growing market (micro) niches, developing a distinctive presence, doing higher value work.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Tackling Partner Underperformance, Second Edition
Global Law and Business
March 01, 2018
Drawing on original and academic research from the past 8 years, and featuring contributions from law firm performance experts including Edwin Reeser, Angus Lyon, and Patrick McKenna, author Nick Jarrett-Kerr's highly anticipated Tackling Partner Underperformance 2nd Edition covers topics including:Trends in partner performanceUnderstanding why partners underperform or are underproductiveJudging, rating and evaluating partnersAligning performance with partner compensation and rewardsSupporting and rehabilitating underperforming partnersStress and mental illness impact on performanceSystems for partner performance managementUnderperformance cultureGovernance, communication and conflict management and more.
Tackling Partner Underperformance 2nd Edition is arguably the most comprehensive study ever undertaken into partner underperformance in law firms, and those firms (regardless of size and location) who utilize and implement the information, advice and practical strategies for addressing this issue, will see significant differences in their productivity and ultimately profitability.

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Tags: Leadership

Managing Legal Change Initiatives
Global Law and Business
September 01, 2017
In these turbulent times for firms, change initiatives must be properly managed to ensure the whole firm can successfully shift to the new norm and stick to it. Without the proper support and management, a firm runs the risks of alienating their workforce - who will not take well to sudden and imposed change.
Managing Legal Change Initiatives looks to illustrate the best methods of introducing and managing change in a sector that is known for being adverse to it. The book highlights the critical obstacles and pitfalls that law firms will face during transitional periods, and outlines some of the best methods of approaching organizational change; from building a change framework to follow, to encouraging a shift in partner behavior through the compensation strategy. This new book also explores why change is so difficult for individuals - with discussion of the neuroscience behind change, and the role of emotional intelligence in leaders to help garner a transformation. With the disruptions to legal services predicted to continue for some time, it will be those firms who adapt, put into place, and act upon a change management strategy that will be the ones capitalize on changes to come.

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Tags: Leadership

Effective Practice Group Leadership
Global Law and Business
September 01, 2017
Law firm practice group leadership is not for the faint hearted.As firms compete increasingly at practice group level, leaders are being asked to run their groups like business units; to develop and implement a strategic plan that supports the goals and competitiveness of the firm; and to coordinate and lead their partners to enhance the efficiency, performance, and profitability of their groups. Many firm leaders complain that some of their group heads are not producing the results they want to see. But how many practice group leaders receive the tools and support they need to succeed in this critical role? How many are selected for demonstrable leadership skills? And how often are they held accountable for how well - or otherwise - they perform in the role?With contributions from a wide range of experts, Effective Practice Group Leadership explores these key questions and more. The book examines the demanding role of the practice group leader (PGL) in law firms today, the challenges of the role - from gaining buy-in for group initiatives to approaches to measuring and managing performance of the leader and the group - and demonstrates the enormous contribution PGLs can make to the profitability and performance of their law firms, when armed with the tools and the authority.

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Tags: Leadership

Proactive Leadership: Conducting a Strategic Plan “Premortem”
Legal Executive Institute
August 14, 2017
Having worked with members of your law firm’s Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) for a number of months, you’ve finally come to the point where you have a draft of a strategic plan that has been approved by the partners and now just needs some attention directed toward how certain components will actually be implemented.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Leadership

Becoming A Visionary Law Firm: Developing Board Foresight
Ark Publications
July 21, 2017
Nearly every law firm of any significant size will have a Board of Directors or Executive Committee comprised of partners elected by their peers, for some predefined term. Some Boards are primarily concerned with providing oversight on the activities and actions of their management team (managing partner, management committee and administrative professionals) and some are actually charged with developing the firm’s formal strategic plan or direction such that the management team can then focus primarily on implementation. In either scenario, your elected Board is a valuable resource . . . if used properly.

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Tags: Leadership

Measuring and Managing Performance for Law Firms
Global Law and Business
April 01, 2017
Measuring and Managing Performance for Law Firms offers an overview of the measurement and metrics that firms can employ to effectively manage their work force and firm-wide performance. Discussing a range of topics from metrics that stimulate innovative thinking, effectively managing high-performance teams and dealing with stress in the work place, and implementing "balanced scorecards" and "opportunity scoring assessments" to track firm performance and effectively utilize internal information resources.

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Tags: Leadership

The Challenges Inherent in Assessing Law Firm Leader Performance
Legal Executive Institute
March 20, 2017
The first challenge that needs to be addressed is the fact that most leaders of large law firms don’t have a formal written job description, so how can you evaluate someone unless they are clear on what the job is?

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Tags: HR, Leadership, Legal and IP

Unlocking The Mystique of Understanding Industry Clients
Legal Business World
March 15, 2017
Today many firms would assert they have embraced having a smattering of industry groups in their firms. Nevertheless, it is interesting and informative to look at what some of these groups may actually signal to clients about the firm’s industry knowledge and competence.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Innovative Strategies to Attract, Develop and Retain Legal Talent
Global Law & Business
March 15, 2017
The competition for talent that leading experts started to describe in the 1990s has now become a reality in the legal profession. Like most industries across the globe, the legal industry is facing a shortage of exceptional people. Although in some jurisdictions there are more lawyers than the market can absorb, the reality is that the number of lawyers with the right skills is limited and that organizations are fighting to attract and retain the best professionals in a legal market that has become globalized and where mobility is now the norm. The ability of law firms to adopt innovative and tailored recruitment and retention strategies for their size, culture and market has become a strategic priority and one of the biggest determinants for a firm’s competitive success. This practical handbook, coordinated on behalf of the International Bar Association, explores the opportunities and challenges for adopting effective recruitment, development and retention strategies.

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Tags: Leadership

Managing Your Legal Organisation | Global Insights
Magic Lawyers
January 01, 2017
A compendium of thought pieces by global management experts and conversations with leading Indian Senior Law Firm Partners.

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Tags: Leadership

Rise of The Legal COO
Global Law and Business
January 01, 2017
Rise of the Legal COO examines the scope and variety of the legal COO role and how the challenges and demands of the position have altered as law firms have evolved over the last two decades.Heavily backed up by the first-hand experience of the contributors, the book also covers key topics such as how the COO fits into and supports the firm's leadership and what happens when leaders transition, factors that influence success (or not) as a legal COO, and key considerations for law firms thinking about introducing or developing the role. This book features:A number of current COOs at large and midsize law firms share first-hand experience of the role at one or more firms.In exclusive interviews, current COOs talk about how they relate to and support other leadership positions, get buy-in for change, and how they add value in the role.Insight is provided from sought-after consultants who regularly advise the leaders of big name law firms.Key topics covered include the most popular COO models used in the legal sector and reasons for the adoption of each model, what makes a COO-MP relationship successful, and how to deal with leadership transitions.

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Tags: Leadership

Inovativni Pravnici 2016
Economia
August 08, 2016
Dear Mr. McKenna, I'm a journalist from Czech republic.
In our media house (Economia), we organize our first big CEE Conference about innovations in law. We are also preparing special issue of our Economist Magazine Called "Czech Innovative Lawyers".
I am really interested in your work. Would you be interested in writing a short article on - the topic of "How to become an innovative Law Firm"?

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Tags: Innovation

Bringing Your Strategy Process Back To Life
International Review
July 15, 2016
In today’s environment of declining demand for legal services, you must be able to challenge conventional thinking in order to grow. Conventional thinking only leads to mediocrity, being stuck in the middle of the pack. To grow you have to be willing to break the rules

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Tags: Business Strategy

2020 Vision: The Future of Legal Services
Ark Publishing
August 15, 2015
A collection of Chapters written by experts in the profession outlining where and how the practice of law was transforming.

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Tags: Leadership

Foundational Success: Building Blocks for Personal and Professional Success
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2nd edition
October 31, 2014
Creative lead and co-author, Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey, CKD-Emeritus, Accredited Speaker, Spirit of CAPS recipient is an inspirational leader, motivational speaker, and a best-selling, prolific author whose works include "Legacy of Leadership" and "Speaking for Success". His articles have been featured in a multitude of North American trade and consumer publications. He is a respected leader who has been honored by CAPS, NSA, Toastmasters, and the United Nations for his leadership contributions. His Ideas At Work! have been successfully applied by leaders across North America, and around the globe, as well as Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies. His innovative programs have taken him around the world to 39 countries on 5 continents

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Tags: Leadership

In the Company of Leaders: Leadership success can be yours!
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2nd edition
March 26, 2014
Creative lead, Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey, CKD-Emeritus, Accredited Speaker, 2011 Spirit of CAPS recipient is an inspirational leader, speaker, and a prolific author whose works include Amazon best-sellers 'Legacy of Leadership, Strive for significance - lead on purpose!', and 'Speaking for Success'. He is also the creative lead for Amazon best-seller, Foundational Success. His thought provoking articles have been featured in a multitude of North American trade, association, and consumer publications. He is a respected leader who has been honored by CAPS, NSA, Toastmasters, and the United Nations for his leadership contributions. His innovative Ideas At Work! have been successfully applied by leaders across North America as well as Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies. Visit him at www.ideaman.net Special thanks to these leadership experts for contributing: Dillip Abayasekara, Michael A. Aun, Anne Barab, John Blumberg, Paul Bridle, Marjorie Brody, Jim Cathcart, Steve Chandler, Paul Cherry, Jim Clemmer, Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, Chris Ford, Joyce L. Gioia, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, Stacey Hanke, Tom Hollinger, Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey, Patricia Katz, Janet Lapp, David A Larson, Sr, Mark LeBlanc, Jim Manton, Linda Maul, Eileen McDargh, Stephen McGhee, Patrick J. McKenna, Nancy Michaels, Michel Neray, Larry Ohlhauser, Vilis Ozols, Terry Paulson, Randy G. Pennington, John Reinhart, Sid Ridgley, Sheryl Roush, Mark Sanborn, Joe Sherren, Brian Tracy, Jack Trout, Phillip Van Hooser. Cy Wakeman

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Tags: Leadership

The Future of Legal Services
Ark Publishing
December 17, 2013
As law firm leaders look to the future following the global recession, few will deny that the profession has entered a period of unprecedented change.
This is evident not only in the way that legal services are procured, but also in how firms manage the expectations of their clients. This includes pressure to adopt alternative fee arrangements and to provide a leaner, more efficient service. Gone are the days when lawyers could charge by the hour and clients would pay without question. The client is now very much in control.
Managing Partner's report, The Future of Legal Services features in-depth guidance, analysis of key trends to keep an eye out for, lessons learned, and practical advice provided by the professions most well respected and leading experts on law firm management.

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Tags: Leadership

Targeting Profitability: Strategies to Improve Law Firm Performance
Ark Publishing
March 15, 2013
One of the latest publications from Ark publishing, and produced in management report format, this book will be of interest to those who run law firms with the aim of creating enhanced client service aimed at increasing productivity and profit. If you fall into this category and/or tasked with decision-making regarding your firm's future, you'll do well to acquire this expert guide.

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Tags: Leadership

The Extraordinary Managing Partner: Reaching the Pinnacle of Law Firm Management
Association of Legal Administrators
May 15, 2011
This book is about the ingredients of managing partner success; it is about the critical responsibilities of the position; and it is about not just adequately filling the role but scaling the heights and reaching the pinnacle of law firm management.

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Tags: Leadership

Law Firm Strategies for the 21st Century (First Edition)
Global Law and Business
September 10, 2010
Published in association with the Law Firm Management Committee of the International Bar Association (IBA), this practical title is the first in a Globe Law and Business series on the business of law dedicated to exploring strategic development in law firms. This book is organized around the market and the resource side of law firm management, and offers new ways to think about strategy and how to discuss it in the context of a partnership. Whether you are a managing partner of a small, large or international law firm, this book offers points of views on those questions that are of relevance to today’s law firm management.
The First Edition is now out of print.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Strategy and the Fat Smoker: Doing What's Obvious But Not Easy
The Spangle Press
May 15, 2008
In 18 chapters, David Maister explores the fat smoker syndrome and how individuals, managers and organizations can overcome the temptations of the short-term and actually do what they already know is good for them. I contributed the Chapter: Managing The Multidimensional Organization

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Tags: Business Strategy

Management Skills: A Jossey-Bass Reader
Jossey-Barr Publishers
November 11, 2004
Management Skills contains the best thinking from the biggest names in business management on a wide range of subjects including leadership, shaping the work environment, change, communicating, hiring and motivating employees, leading teams, and much more. The author list of this invaluable resource reads like a who's who of business management. This extraordinary collection features chapters from Robert R. Albright, David Batstone, Warren Bennis, Lee G. Bolman, Richaurd Camp, David R. Caruso, Terrene E. Deal, Christina A. Douglas, Peter Drucker, Deborah L. Duarte, Michael Finley, J. Davidson Frame, Bill George, T. George Harris, Todd D. Jick, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, James M. Kouzes, Edward E. Lawler III, Patrick Lencioni, Clinton O. Longenecker, David H. Maister, Marick F. Masters, Cynthia D. McCauley, Patrick J. McKenna, Henry Mintzberg, Dana M. Muir, David A. Nadler, Mark B. Nadler, Burt Nanus, Parker J. Palmer, Terry Pearce, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Barry Z. Posner, Robert E. Quinn, Kathleen Kelley Reardon, Harvey Robbins, Peter Salovey, Steven B. Sample, Jack L. Simonetti, Douglas K. Smith, Nancy Tennant Snyder, Barry A. Stein, Robert I. Sutton, and Mary E. Vielhaber.

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Tags: Leadership

2 Book Forewords
How to Engage Partners in the Firm's Future: The Secrets Every Leader Needs to Know
Bay Street Group LLC
June 10, 2013
Partners are the culture in a professional services firm - what they believe, what they reward, what they do and how they do it determines what and how things get done. And, if they don't believe in what the firm is doing, they will never be effective role models who think firm first and actively bring the whole of the firm's services to their clients. In this brief book, the authors identify six major challenges that firms need to address to engage their partners and to ensure everyone moves forward together. They are: 1. Un-motivational firm vision. 2. Lack of clearly defined core values. 3. Lack of clarity around what being a partner means. 4. Ineffective or non-existent partner performance reviews. 5. Performance systems not tied to strategic initiatives. 6. Lack of successful firm leaders. Most firms consider these six challenges to be merely "touchy feely" aspects of running a professional services firm. They take time to implement and the common response is that "we have clients to serve and this stuff just detracts us from our real job." But unless you embrace these challenges and get your partners actively engaged and performing for the firm and its future, you may find yourself without clients and without a viable future.

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Tags: Leadership

Clients At The Core Marketing and Managing Today's Professional Services Firm
John Wiley & Sons Publishing
April 20, 2004
"Clients At The Core is an essential blueprint to helping us all take the next steps. The authors, battle scarred by the evolution of professional firm management and marketing from then to now, have captured the changing needs of the firms in this turbulent new economic era.

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Tags: Business Strategy

8 Conference Publications
Legal Micro-Niche: Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine.
Legal Executive Institute
November 08, 2019
A Chinese scientist who announced that the first set of CRISPR-engineered female twins had been delivered; stem cells that can now grow eye retinas; a collagen bioprinter that should soon provide 3D printed lungs; the global longevity industry is primed to reach $17 trillion this year and on track to crack $27 trillion within the next five years.

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Tags: Healthtech, Health and Safety, Legal and IP

Lucrative Micro-Niche: Synthetic Biology
Legal Executive Institute
September 18, 2019
Biology is already changing the way we live, eat, manufacture, and treat human health. In the next few years, synthetic biology — a $40 billion industry — will be the premier technology of the 21st century that will be used to solve real-world problems facing millions.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Digital Disruption, Open Innovation

Lucrative Micro-Niche: Deep Learning
Legal Executive Institute
July 10, 2019
The amount of data we generate every day is staggering — currently estimated at over 2.6 quintillion bytes. 2.6 quintillion! It’s a number so large that 2.6 quintillion pennies would, if laid flat, cover the entire Earth… five times. And that number is only growing with the increasing number of devices being made available and being used. If data is the new oil, what new products can we make? That’s where deep learning comes in.

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Tags: AI, Digital Disruption, Innovation

A Lucrative Micro-Niche: The AgTech Practice
Legal Executive Institute
June 06, 2019
Imagine driverless tractors tilling acres of crops, produce growing in massive climate-controlled warehouses, and seeds genetically altered to require less water. These and other modern marvels are among the high-tech innovations changing, or about to change, the centuries-old face of agriculture.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership, Management

A Lucrative Micro-Niche: Climate Change Practice (Part 2)
Legal Executive Institute
May 02, 2019
Oil companies are taking climate change litigation cases very seriously. Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest, launched a million-dollar push in 2018 for carbon tax legislation that includes immunity from climate change-related lawsuits. Exxon is also facing lawsuits for allegedly misleading investors about the risks of climate change to its business as well as the risks of future climate regulations.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership, Management

A Lucrative Micro-Niche: Climate Change Practice (Part 1)
Legal Executive Institute
April 24, 2019
In 2016, the nations of the world created the Paris Agreement, an international call to action in the battle against a rapidly changing climate. The agreement outlined limits to greenhouse gas emissions and other major changes to economies and infrastructure — the kinds of things that might be inconvenient but worth doing when the alternative is widespread climate catastrophe. Nearly every country in the world signed the agreement. But today, nearly every country in the world is falling short of its commitments — and the science behind those commitments is getting scarier.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership, Management

The Advent of the Legal Practice’s Micro-Niche, Part 2
Legal Executive Institute
October 18, 2018
Today, firms are facing yet another structural and marketing challenge, that which I have come to call, “Tech-Driven Hybrids.” These are practices that are not simply conventional in that they require a level of expertise that goes beyond any one vertical (e.g., may require regulatory plus tax, plus IP), and they are practices that extend beyond impacting just one industry in that their effect will likely be felt in a good number of different industries.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership, Management

The Advent of the Legal Practice’s Micro-Niche, Part 1
Legal Executive Institute
October 04, 2018
I have a new word that I share with lawyers whenever I’m speaking at conferences — “Infobesity.” It is meant to help them try to conceptualize that we now live in a time where we all suffer from an information epidemic, wherein we are exposed to the digital equivalent of more than 176 newspapers worth of data every day!

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership, Management

1 Courseware
9 Reasons Why Law Firm Strategic Plans Are So Pathetic
McKenna Associates Inc.
June 25, 2021
If you have any interest in “real" strategic planning, I tell leaders that there are a number of fatal traps you need to ensure you don’t fall victim to – like strategic planning that . . .
- is too focused on fixing internal problems;
- has a few wise elders going up the mountain to receive the word . . . and then having them
invest enormous time trying to sell it to their fellow partners;
- does not involve analyzing any new trends;
- is obsessed with cost-efficiency;
- treats the firm as one homogeneous entity;
- does not include the voice of the client;
- falls short of truly differentiating yourself;
- does not address how the firm is actually going to improve profitability; and
- ignores who specifically is responsible to do certain of the implementation tasks.

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Tags: Business Strategy

2 eBooks
Strategy Innovation: Getting To The Future First
LBW Publishing
July 10, 2019
Download your copy of my new 240-page eBook - If you want your firm to WIN in today’s highly competitive environment you need to possess an unwavering and intentional focus on tomorrow. This book is intended to help you advance your innovative, entrepreneurial, and strategic thinking to develop a thirst for pulling the future forward on behalf of your firm and it’s various competitive practices.

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Business Strategy

First 100 Days: Transitioning A New Managing Partner
NexBooks
March 15, 2006
This text provides prescriptive counsel to new firm leaders on what actions they might consider as they begin undertaking their initial responsibilities. Included is the experienced wisdom and real-world commentary of some twenty law firm leaders.

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Tags: Leadership, Legal and IP

1 Executive
Non-Executive Board Advisor
Jackson Lewis P.C.
October 15, 2015
FIRST quasi-NED in a U.S. Law Firm:
Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country's preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce internationally renowned legal strategist Patrick J. McKenna has been appointed Advisor to the Board, where he will meet regularly with Jackson Lewis' Board of Directors to provide confidential counsel and advice.
"Jackson Lewis is thriving, in part due to our role in introducing business of law innovations such as alternative fee arrangements and our move away from the billable hour as an evaluative measure for associates," said Firm Chairman Vincent A. Cino. "We want to make sure we continue to thrive. For many years I have been a proponent of operating a law firm in the most client-centric and business-like manner. Patrick's addition will introduce an external business voice to our Board's discussions, and is aligned with Jackson Lewis's mission to provide best in class legal services in the most efficient, strategic manner."
"The old methods of managing a law firm are no longer sufficient to address the magnitude of changes the legal community must regularly address," added Cino. "We have watched as law firms in Europe and Australia have brought outside expertise to their boards by way of Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) and while we are not yet able to follow that precise model in the U.S., we are pleased to again stay ahead of the curve by adding this outside voice to our governing body."
Mr. McKenna, who brings with him over thirty years of extensive experience consulting to law firms on an international scale, is an author, lecturer, strategist and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier professional service firms, having served at least one of the largest law firms in over a dozen different countries. He has authored eight books - most notably the international business best seller, First Among Equals. Mr. McKenna has been recognized by Lawdragon as "one of the most trusted names in legal consulting," and his three decades of experience led to being the subject of a Harvard Law School Case Study entitled: "Innovations In Legal Consulting."

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Tags: Leadership

1 Faculty Member
Faculty Member - MBA Workshop Series
Leaders Excellence at Harvard Square
September 01, 2016
This is an online executive development program consisting of highly interactive sessions with MBA topics, at MBA level, by MBA faculty and guest star leadership experts; designed for those seeking cross-functional management and leadership development. Each workshop consists of 1 hour of effective online lecturing and is presented LIVE in our online study rooms in order to provide you with inspirational ideas, penetrating insights, and practical advice from MBA faculty and leadership experts. If requested by the professor, each workshop can be prolonged up to 30 minutes.

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Tags: Leadership

7 Influencer Awards
Top 5 Thought Leaders As Voted By the LBW International Readers
Legal Business World
July 15, 2019
Acknowledgment from Legal Business World published in the Netherlands.

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Tags: Leadership

CEO Trusted Advisor Awards - First Annual
MacKay CEO Forums
April 29, 2019
I was nominated and shortlisted fo this prestigious award, founded by MacKay CEO Forums, which recognizes the significant contribution that CEO Trusted Advisors make, in the field of leadership, to the success of the Canadian business community.
Unfortunately most all of my supporters operate outside of Canada on an international platform, with my only support coming from ManuLfe Canada.

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Tags: Leadership

Top 10 Most-Read Blog Posts on the Legal Executive Institute Blog in 2018
Legal Executive Institute
January 04, 2019
We at the Legal Executive Institute blog thought we’d get into the game by offering our “Top 10 Most Viewed Blog Posts of 2018”.
One of my articles was identified as the #2 Most-Read!

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Tags: Culture, Leadership, Legal and IP

Global Leader and Influencer in Legal Business
Association of International Law Firm Networks (AILFN)
September 25, 2017
Patrick McKenna has been recognized as a Global Leader and Influencer in Legal Business by the Association of International Law Firm Networks (AILFN). This prestigious directory published by AILFN covers corporate counsel and legal operations, bar associations, legal networks, consultants, technology companies, LPO, academics, publishers and others.

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Tags: Leadership

Honorary Fellow
Leaders Excellence at Harvard Square
September 15, 2015
The honorary fellowship designation recognizes exceptional achievement and contributions within an individual’s professional field. Leaders Excellence is a community of leading academics and practitioners who specialize in leadership and collaborate to share their thinking, research and experiences. To preserve the integrity and exclusivity of the network, membership is offered on an invitation-or qualification-only basis.
Headquartered in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA
MLE℠ – Member of Leaders Excellence

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Tags: Leadership

"Innovations In Legal Consulting" - Case Study
Harvard Law School
November 16, 2010
Over a three-decade career, Patrick McKenna's introduces innovations to the legal profession, which help him grow his firm to one of the top three legal consulting firms in North America. Having three times successfully introduced innovative products to the profession, McKenna launches a new initiative designed to provide external advisory boards for law firm managing partners. Despite positive feedback, the initiative falls dramatically shortofexpectations. McKennamustnowdecidewhatactionstotake.
The case allows us to discuss how professional service firms can develop and market new innovations.
Subjects Covered:
Careers & career planning, Innovations in consulting, Packaging knowledge, Marketing professional services, Managing partner behavior.

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Tags: Leadership

LawDragon's Legal Consultants You Need To Know
LawDragon
September 18, 2008
What I learned was that Lawdragon’s researchers surveyed managing partners from all across the country. The publisher was very gracious in her feedback: “I have to say that I think you received more glowing recommendations than any other ‘consultant’ on the list. You have quite a legion of supporters. Extraordinarily impressive. For the consultants, in addition to the high-level strategic ‘consultants’ of which you are an outstanding example, we include legal recruiters, marketing consultants, generational change advisors, technology advisors and a hodgepodge of others.”
https://www.lawdragon.com

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Tags: Business Strategy

4 Journal Publications
A Lucrative Micro-Niche for Lawyers: Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing
Legal Business World
July 12, 2019
When one hears the term 3D printing, it is just natural to think of it as a way to produce a small plastic desk accessory or toy you might pick up in a gift shop. But 3D printing is instead, part of a broader range of revolutionary technologies known as additive manufacturing (AM). 3D printing is a process where a physical object is created from a digital blueprint of something that’s “sliced” into thin horizontal layers and uploaded to a printer.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Leadership

Two Types of Legal Innovation
Legal Evolution Org.
November 18, 2018
My sincere thanks to my good friend, Professor Bill Henderson for his gracious commentary on my S-Curve Strategy Model.
Two types of legal innovation: Type 0 substantive law, Type 1 service delivery (071)

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Tags: Business Strategy

Contributing Editor
Of Counsel: The Legal Practice and Management Report (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)
June 01, 2014
I have authored an article in each monthly report since June of 2014. This publication has distinguished itself as the finest management report for law firms and corporate law departments by helping firm managers solve financial, business, and practice problems. Monthly, it provides cutting-edge insights American legal professionals need to maintain a competitive advantage in a global marketplace.

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Tags: Leadership

Counseling New Firm Leaders
International Review
September 01, 2010
In addition to my semi-annual master class at the University of Chicago for new managing partners, I’ve increasingly been called upon to provide one-on-one counsel to those whose appointment dates do not coincide with the dates of our one-day program. While there are a couple of good books (like First 90 Days by Mike Watkins) that provide context for the first days in a new leadership role, many of these texts have been written from the prospective of a corporate (top down) environment and where the new leader is usually brought in from the outside. We all know that in a professional service firm, the situation is very different. Among a vast array of issues and challenges that Brian Burke (Chair Emeritus at Baker & Daniels) and I review in our one-day master class, here are a dozen quick tips for new leaders to reflect upon:

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Tags: Leadership

1 Keynote
Going Beyond Technology: Innovating in Law Firms Through People and Process
Law Firm Innovation Summit
November 05, 2020
Ark Group’s Law Firm Innovation Summit brings together senior level law firm professionals at the only innovation conference in the industry to go beyond technology and focus on the people and process of law firm innovation. With the legal market poised for significant transformation, attendees will hear how to drive innovation directly from firms that have taken risks and pushed the boundaries. Join us for two days of leading-edge case studies, interactive discussions, and ample networking opportunities that will lead to practical strategies to put innovation into practice, new ways to improve efficiency, and takeaways for driving profitability within your organization. Back for its third year, this conference continues to push the envelope on the people and process of innovation, using technology as an enabler.

Attendees can expect to hear top-notch content from industry experts on topics including:

The people, talent, and culture of innovating
Technology as an enabler
How data is used for innovation
Where innovation sits in an organizational structure
Client delivery of innovation

Stay tuned for updates on our 2020 event!

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Innovation

11 Media Interviews
Why Aren’t Law Firms Bringing In Outside Directors?
American Lawyer Magazine
June 04, 2021
There’s no shortage of interest in the legal industry today about what the Big Four are looking to accomplish: particularly, whether they’re going to find a way to snatch substantial work from U.S. law firms–perhaps aided by the regulatory reform process that’s unfolding in a number of states.
But perhaps that interest should also extend to some of the organizational practices in place at Big Four firms. I’m going to spotlight one today, based on a recent LinkedIn post from Canadian law firm consultant Patrick McKenna. That’s bringing in independent directors from outside their organizations to sit on their boards.

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Tags: Leadership, Legal and IP

New Insights from Managing Partners On a New Kind of Crisis
LinkedIn
March 26, 2020
No one knows what to expect. But the near term is not good – or worse depending on who you talk to. This week I was pleased to have the opportunity to join Michael Rynowecer, President of BTI Consulting to see what we could learn from leadership partners about what law firms are doing and how they are thinking. We canvassed about 25 managing partners (or equivalent) at firms with more than 500 attorneys. Here are key insights from their thinking, together with a few of our observations:

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Business Strategy

Thought Leader and Influencer Interview
Thinkers360
March 01, 2020
Thinkers360 interviews profile prominent members of the Thinkers360 community who embody the power of ideas in their work. In this edition, we speak with Patrick McKenna, Principal, McKenna Associates Inc. An internationally recognized author, lecturer, strategist and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier professional firms, Patrick has had the honor of working with at least one of the largest firms in over a dozen different countries.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Leadership

Law Firm Pay Cuts, Layoffs Will Likely Multiply
Law360
January 04, 2020
The reports on cost-cutting measures taken by midsize and large law firms will likely flood in as firms realize the gravity of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tags: Leadership, Business Strategy, Legal and IP, COVID19

When Your Strategic Plan Needs to Get Implemented
Legal Business World Publishing
February 27, 2019
Whenever I think about the effort that is required to go into implementing your firm’s strategic plan, I’m reminded of a particular business book title that grabbed my attention when I first saw it . . . Hope Is Not A Strategy! To effectively transform your best intentions into tangible action, there are several common hurdles that you may need to overcome. Thinking through the following will help you make the leap.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Leadership

Innovative Metrics to Stimulate Innovative Action
Legal Business World
November 26, 2018
At a recent gathering of firm leaders, while bemoaning the flat demand for legal services and the increasing power of clients, one discussion centered around metrics – financial and performance-oriented measures. While we are all familiar with the usual billable hour, collections, matter profitability, and so forth, this discussion provoked me to think about some of the more unorthodox, but vital metrics that I believe law firm leadership should ALSO be looking at. Here are a five unusual metrics that I think are worth taking a very serious look at in your firm.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Leadership

The Power of What Your Client’s Say
Legal Business World
December 05, 2017
It’s hard to deny: clients today are particularly skeptical. So, one difficult challenge each of us as professionals face, is coming up with a convincing response to one critical question (whether it is articulated or just being thought about): “As a prospective client, tell me please, why should I choose you (your firm or your practice group); what makes you distinctive and what added-value do you bring to my business matters … that I cannot get anywhere else?” (and please do notice those last six words).

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Tags: Business Strategy, Customer Experience, Marketing

Becoming Fearless: Facing Uncertainty in the Legal Market with Confidence and Insight
Thomson Reuters White Paper
June 01, 2017
Today’s legal market is rife with situations that could be seen as fear-inducing. This is not to say that leaders in today’s legal market are paralyzed by concerns. No, indeed those leading today’s legal businesses are savvy, educated, and bold in many respects. But the comfort of the status quo can sometimes make exploration of the unknown appear undesirable, or even intimidating. Today’s legal leaders know about pushing fear aside – in their jobs every day they identify and mitigate risk, weigh options, and handle a myriad of issues, big and small, that hinge on their ability to put aside fear of change, fear of the legal market, and fear of meeting their clients’ needs – and simply do their jobs with confidence and insight.

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Tags: Business Strategy

What Leadership Messages Are You Sending?
Legal Executive Institute
January 09, 2017
One of the more profound things I’ve learned and try to pass along to new leaders (be they managing partners or practice heads) is to “act like you are on stage at all times… because you are!” Everything you do and say will send messages, set a tone, establish expectations and communicate direction about what is of priority to you.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Leadership

Efficiency Is Not THE Competitive Advantage
San Francisco Daily Journal
November 25, 2015
Too many firms seem to be investing significant time and resources into being more efficient – at the expense of being effective. Firms are all too often focused on being efficient at doing the wrong things with respect to producing commodity work, pricing services, generating net operating income and satisfying clients.

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Tags: Business Strategy

McKenna On Leading Change In Your Law Firm
Ark's Managing Partner Magazine
October 20, 2010
How do you convert a process-driven change initiative into an experience that engages and enthuses the people impacted by the change?
Leading law firm strategy and practice management specialist Patrick McKenna says this is one of the more challenging change management issues, backed up by the many research findings over the years about the high failure rate of change programs.
He says those findings reflect the prevalence of the “command and control corporate entity”, where the CEO says “jump!” and everyone says “how high?” and there’s a general assumption from the top that directions will simply be put in place.
From an interview conducted by Nerly East, MA, PhD, author writer and communication speacialist.

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Tags: Change Management, Leadership

1 Membership
CEO Trusted Advisor
Chief Executive Group
July 01, 2019
Chief Executive Group now helps CEOs find the right expert adviser. The right outside adviser can help you improve processes, develop new products or provide access to new markets. Unfortunately, the mid-market has been dramatically underserved by the advisory community. Until now. CEO Trusted Advisers, newly launched by Chief Executive Group, gives you speedy access to peer-recommended experts in executive coaching, succession planning, strategy, talent, operations, technology, finance and M&A and more.

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Tags: Business Strategy

3 Quotes
What Is A Leader?
Personal LinkedIn Page
September 23, 2021
Having trained hundreds of practice and industry group leaders over the past 20 years one of the first things we talk about is . . . “what is a leader?” And it is not about elusive attributes, esoteric characteristics or aspirational nonsense. It all comes down to day-to-day behavior and this for me, provides some great examples of what the best leaders do:
(forgive the "boss" term as this obviously does not come from our professional services arena)

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Tags: Leadership

Is There A New Science To Teamwork?
Harvard Business Review
March 22, 2017
As a very long time subscriber and member of your HBR Advisory Council I cannot tell you how shocked I was to read your March-April cover article: “The New Science of Teamwork.”
“NEW?” Are you kidding me? Where in the world do the folks at Deloitte get away with suggesting that anything in this supposedly research based article is “new” other than modified labeling of their four primary styles and a fancy product name: “Business Chemistry.”
Back in 2002, when Dr. David Maister and I authored our book, First Among Equals: How To Manage a Group of Professionals, we devoted a 22-page chapter, “Deal Differently With Different People” to (these same) four distinctive work styles and provided in-depth guidelines to assist our readers in understanding and working with each. But even more importantly, we cited our primary source, the extensive research of Dr. David Merrill (Personal Style and Effective Performance, St. Lucie Press) whose work on this subject was first published over 35 years ago.
For these authors and the folks at Deloitte to make claims that they have built this assessment tool and that it is the product of over 190,000 individual assessments is, in my opinion, a blatant infringement in intellectual integrity and I guess goes to prove the adage that if one waits long enough the old becomes the new once again. Very Sad!

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Tags: Leadership

Barriers To Collaboration
Harvard Business Review - Letter to The Editor
May 01, 2015
RE: Why It Pays To Collaborate With Your Colleagues (March 2015 Issue)

The subject of collaboration within professional services firms is a critically important topic and I believe worthy of a couple of supplementary points.
Firstly, while the number of practice groups serving a client should definitely increase a firm’s revenues as Gardner’s research suggests, simply adding more revenue does not necessarily translate into increased profitability. And professional service firms have been notorious for chasing revenues without really giving sufficient attention to whether those revenues, practices or clients are profitable. And unfortunately today, there is also a strong correlation between the number of practice groups that a client uses translating into the increasing power of that client and even stronger demands for fee discounts.
Secondly, Gardner accurately observes that one of the things that gets in the way of collaboration is compensation systems that favor individual contribution rather than team work. What she does not acknowledge is that the partner’s compensation spread in many large law firms is now anywhere between 10 to 1 and 20 to 1. That means that if you hear about how some major law firm is enjoying profits per partner averaging $1 million, you may rest assured that half of those equity shareholders are taking home about $500,000 or less, while some of their fellow partners are being paid $8 to10 million. Now in the typical professional environment where any form of recognition, other than money, is hard to come by (and so the common mindset becomes “pay me a dollar more than that turkey and I’m a happy camper; a dollar less and I’m underappreciated”), I would welcome hearing how you solve this collaboration hurdle.
Gardner’s suggestion that “leaders need to resist the temptation to bring in high performing but selfish partners” is technically correct but not grounded in firm behaviors. These professional service firms go out into the talent marketplace looking for some professional who has a big book of business. And they tell that professional that if he or she comes with their firm they will have a bigger platform to practice in, significantly more opportunities, and they will do so much better . . . and of course we will pay you commensurate with the number of clients and revenue that you bring across to our firm. Then when you get over to our firm, we immediately want you to share your book of business and your clients (all the things that initially attracted attention and made you a valuable candidate) with the rest of your new partners. Yeah, right!
The other related factor that is not acknowledged is the difference between an ‘open’ (every partner knows what every other partner makes) compensation systems and a ‘closed’ (only a handful know) compensation systems and how each of those can either enhance or impede collaboration. For example, about 90 of the top 100 largest accounting firms have transitioned over the past to a closed system while 90% of the large law firms still favor the open system.

Thirdly, I had really expected Gardner to proffer some client-centric approach as one of her prescriptions for enhancing collaboration. To be specific, many professional service firms, and most every law firm, structure themselves based on the particular disciplines they were trained in (Consulting – marketing; Accounting – auditing; Law – litigation). So as Gardner correctly observes, when you structure your firm in a vertical manner, it becomes rather challenging to have professionals collaborate across independent silos. That said, every industry study that we’ve seen over the past two decades clearly informs us that clients choose their professional provider based on an entirely different criteria. The number one selection criteria is based on “demonstrated understanding of my industry.” Read that to mean that those practice groups comprised of multi-disciplinary professionals, all serving a common industry (BioTechnology Group) do not suffer the same collaboration problems or the persistent pleadings from firm management to “please try to cross-sell your fellow partner.” So one example in the article is a firm that “creates a cross-selling SWAT team.” In my 32 years of consulting to large and international professional service firms I’ve heard that attempted many times, but have yet to see it work.

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Tags: Leadership

4 Speaking Engagements
Third Annual Law Firm Innovation Summit
Ark Conferences
November 10, 2020
I am honored to be once again Chairing, for the third consecutive year, the Ark Group’s Law Firm Innovation Summit which will embrace the premise that innovation needs to begin with process, and not technology.

So, join us for two days of leading-edge case studies and interactive discussions that will address:
- Is Innovation just a Fancy Word for Change?
- Innovation and Purpose: A Confluence of People, Cultures and Goals…
- Innovation in Crisis: Executing on what Matters
- Adapt or Fail: Turning Chaos into an Opportunity for Change
- Strategy Innovation: Innovating for Practice Growth
- The Next Frontier: Why Law Firms need to increase the EQ of their KM and Innovation Teams

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership

How As A Firm Leader You Can Harness Innovation
Legal Business World
December 16, 2019
Pick up the firm brochure or visit the web site of most any professional services firm and you will see somewhere in the content, “We are acknowledged for our ability to find new, creative and innovative solutions to solving our client’s problems.” And in most firms that statement is neither puffery, nor a crass exaggeration. Your leadership challenge becomes one of redirecting some of that innovation that your colleagues just naturally display in solving client problems, to innovation in running the business side of the practice. What that all means is that “innovation” is now being added to the long list of competencies that you as a firm leader are expected to be conversant with and to eventually master implementing within your firm. So here are some things that you as a firm leader, interested in developing your firm’s capacity for being more innovative, need to know to take some of the mystery, and misery, out of innovation within your firm.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Legal and IP

How As A Firm Leader You Can Harness Innovation.
Legal Business World
December 16, 2019
Pick up the firm brochure or visit the web site of most any professional services firm and you will see somewhere in the content, “We are acknowledged for our ability to find new, creative and innovative solutions to solving our client’s problems.” And in most firms that statement is neither puffery, nor a crass exaggeration. Your leadership challenge becomes one of redirecting some of that innovation that your colleagues just naturally display in solving client problems, to innovation in running the business side of the practice. What that all means is that “innovation” is now being added to the long list of competencies that you as a firm leader are expected to be conversant with and to eventually master implementing within your firm. So here are some things that you as a firm leader, interested in developing your firm’s capacity for being more innovative, need to know to take some of the mystery, and misery, out of innovation within your firm.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Leadership

Law Practice Management 2.0 Conference
Ark Conferences
October 04, 2018
Join me October 4th at the University of Chicago, Gleacher Center. We will begin by exploring how one might organize new ‘tech-driven hybrid’ groups like Blockchain or Synthetic Biology; hear directly from panels of highly-experienced Practice Group Leaders and Chief Practice Officers; participate in an interactive exercise with the LEADING EXPERT in the field of “virtual distance;” hear first-hand, from the professions’ leading client research firm concerning why some practices thrive and others dwindle; and conclude our day by venturing outside the comfortable corridors of our profession to hear from one of the most distinguished leaders in the accounting world.

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Tags: Leadership

2 Trainings
Join me at a Virtual Masterclass for NEW Practice Leaders
Ark Conferences
October 22, 2020
You have just been appointed as one of your firm’s newest practice leaders and you now have the care and custody of a group of your peers. This may be your first experiencing in managing or leading (or whatever you call it) a group. To be effective you must now forge a team out of a collection of autonomous individuals - most of whom are now working from home. Only one small problem . . . you were never trained or given any guidance on how to go about organizing and managing a group of your fellow professionals.
So, now where do you turn?
This intensive, skills-building workshop is an investment in your ability to make a measurable difference to your group’s quality of service, profitability, and professional morale. Every aspect of this experience is designed to provide hands-on checklists, interpersonal techniques and exercises to make it completely applicable for you to use immediately

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Tags: Leadership

Would You Rather Lead Strategically?
Ark Conferences
June 10, 2019
Whether you are the designated leader of a practice group or industry team, your ability to lead that group, especially if they are a challenging collection of mavericks, makes you one of the most essential players in helping your firm achieve its long-term profitability and market success.

Join me at the University of Chicago on August 22nd for a one-day, very intensive workshop to explore techniques and build skills to unleash your practice group’s highest potential.

We will explore how best to:
• create a strong cohesive group out of a collection of bright, intelligent, autonomous professionals?
• identify specifically what it is, that you can do, that is likely to actually affect the competitive success of the group you lead?
• find the means to develop a strategic direction and have your colleagues actually want to work together?
• lead effective meetings that result in concrete action plans being formulated and colleagues willing to take responsibility for actually doing something?

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

2 Webinars
North America - Succession in professional services firms
MPFGlobal
April 28, 2021
The webinar on April 27, 2021 focused on succession in professional services firms – challenges of implementing during a pandemic. The panel consisted of Harry Blum, Manuelle Charbonneau, Andy Corea and Sandro Iannicca, with moderator Patrick McKenna and hosted by Larry Stroud. To receive information on future events, please email Larry.Stroud@korverge.com

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Tags: Management, Leadership, Legal and IP

Succession in Professional Services Firms
Managing Partner's Forum North America
April 27, 2021
Under normal circumstances transitioning a new Firm Leader is challenging and can be disruptive. The reality of the lingering Covid pandemic and a possible adverse economic impact have created even greater challenges for a transition. As a result, many professional firms are trying to postpone their leadership succession activities. But is postponement the right thing?
Many professional firms re-tuned aspects of their operations because of Covid but there is still so much more to do. Sticking with the process to select a new firm leader would allow for the chosen leader to provide direction to ramp up for the post pandemic reality. Firms that postpone the process because of Covid would be diverting their focus and grappling with the leadership transition when their competitors are already galloping out of the starter’s gate.

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Tags: Change Management, Leadership

4 Webinars
Dealing with The Underperforming or Misbehaving Partner
Managing Partner's Forum North America
March 18, 2021
In tackling this thorny subject our four panelists also explore a number of DIFFERENT definitions of underperformance, some of which go entirely overlooked in many firms. For example there is:
• the Obvious – the partner who for whatever reason is not achieving their billable hour performance standards;
• the Hoarder – that partner who holds tight all of their billable work to make themselves look good, without bothering to delegate that portion that they know full well could be done by juniors thereby providing better value to the client;
• the Gate Keeper – the partner who will not introduce any other lawyers to their clients even though they know full well that the more lawyers from the firm serving the client, the more loyal that client becomes; and
• the Deadbeat – that partner who is meeting billable goals, but meeting those standards by doing the same old schtick, often only marginally profitable, without bothering to invest any time in building their skills to make themselves more valuable.

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Tags: Leadership, Management

Aftershocks and Opportunities
Managing Partners' Forum North America
December 17, 2020
we officially launched the Managing Partners' Forum North America with an Inaugural Webinar and firm leaders attending from not only all parts of North America but also from countries as far afield as Spain, Bulgaria and Australia. The Webinar was entitled: "Aftershocks and Opportunities” and featured Keynote Presenter Rohit Talwar, a global futurist, award winning speaker, author and strategic advisor to CEOs. Joining me was panelists Beth Wilson, CEO at Dentons Canada and Sean Denham, Global and US Industry Leader with Grant Thornton LLP.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Horizon Scanning: Modernizing Legal Service Delivery
Ark Publications
May 12, 2020
This link is provided if you are interested in listening to a half-hour Webinar that I moderated featuring three of the authors of this new book in which I also authored a Chapter.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Succession Planning Is Inevitable
CPA Leadership Institute
October 27, 2016
Other than taxes and death, the only other sure thing that will happen in all organizations is succession planning. Failure to plan for succession is, perhaps, the greatest current threat to the future of professional firms and should be one of your most important strategic issues. Since the issue won't go away or won't be resolved by itself, it is critical to have your firm management or the partner group address this issue rather than ignoring it.
Please join me on October 27th for a special Webinar on Succession Planning where I will be joined by:
August Aquila, founder and CEO of Aquila Global Advisors and a key thought leader for professional service firms.
Vincent A. Cino, the Chairman of Jackson Lewis P.C. a Global 100 law firm and responsible for the entire firm's day-to-day administration and management.
William Herman, former Managing Partner from 2001–2009 at Plante Moran, he was on the firm's leadership team from 1995–2001 and launched the Ann Arbor office in 1982.

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Tags: Leadership

14 Whitepapers
What High Performing Group Leaders Do: Coach Partners One-On-One
Legal Business World
September 01, 2021
In BC (Before Covid) any form of coaching or mentoring was fairly accidental – either by way of a hallway greeting (“So, how’s it going?”) or reactive to someone sticking their head in your doorway (“Got a minute?”) BUT, in the highest performing firms, both BC and in a virtual world, real coaching and mentoring is a very disciplined, purposeful and deliberate process, which goes a long way to explaining why these firms are the high performers!

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Tags: Leadership, Business Strategy

What High Performing Groups Do / Hint: They Take Action! (Part 2)
McKenna Associates Inc.
June 18, 2021
I have had the privilege of conducting well over a dozen virtual training workshops over the past year with the leaders of both practice and with industry groups. At each of those workshops I asked of the group leaders in attendance, “Given that it is so much easier now with Zoom and video-technology, how many of you have invited one of your group’s clients to attend your group meeting – during the past six months?” It is no exaggeration but only with sad bewilderment that I report, I have yet to elicit a single positive response!
The final part of this article addresses the remaining two meetings, the first dealing with Bringing Outside Voices In and the second called an Action Planning Meeting, and the one I firmly believe to be the most important of the four because it deals with actually doing something and having your group take action.
Since publishing Part 1, I have heard from a good number of group leaders about how their high performing groups do meet weekly. Once again, I dare any group leader to tell me that their team members would not embrace and benefit from any of these four meetings.

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Tags: Leadership

What High Performing Groups Do / Hint: They Meet Weekly! (Part 1)
McKenna Associates Inc.
June 12, 2021
Like it or not, meetings are a large part of what you do as an effective team leader. In the research and preparation of First Among Equals and for some time after its publication, I had the opportunity to interview leaders from dozens of large firms comprising law, accounting, consulting and other professions. My mission was to identify what the highest performing (practice or industry) group leaders were actually doing to inspire winning performance within their teams.
I would approach a firm leader and ask whether there might be one specific group leader within the firm that “stood head-and-shoulders above the others.” Invariably I would hear, that would be our George or Jennifer. I would then go and interview the particular individual who was identified. Now while this was only touched upon in our book, one of the findings that my research revealed was that in most cases these individuals did not meet with the members of their groups once per month (for an hour) – but they met ONCE PER WEEK! And these group leaders engaged their teams in four very different types of meetings, which collectively helped explain their exemplary performance.
Today, I dare group leaders to tell me that their team members would not embrace and benefit from any of these four meetings

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Tags: Leadership

Where (Practice/Industry Group) Leadership Training Fails
McKenna Associates Inc.
June 01, 2021
From my observations over the years and from speaking candidly with those professionals within law firms charged with overseeing training and professional development, I hear about how leadership development training, especially for practice and industry group leaders is so vitally important, but how the biggest contributor to wasted training dollars is ineffective methodologies.
When my old friend David Maister and I wrote “First Among Equals: How to Manage a Group of Professionals” I checked Amazon, only to discover that there were already over 920,000 books listed under “Leadership” and conclude that all the world needed was one more. But that said, if we look closely at these various Leadership books, one can quickly discern that most are written from a top-down corporate prospective and don’t often line up with our professional services reality. So, if we are not providing our people with training that fits with their real-world situations, we are sunk before we begin.
And to be very specific, here are five distinct shortcomings I hear about and personally observe where I have to conclude that leadership training is an unfortunate waste of money:

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Leading Change: Adaptive Approaches To Implementation [White Paper]
International Review
February 15, 2021
Our professional landscape is littered with firms who introduced various “flavor-of-the- month” initiatives. Every so often, one of those efforts produced some favorable results. If everyone is talking about how critical it is to be adaptive to marketplace changes and flexible in being quick to implement some new program or initiative, why is it that so few firms are actually able to achieve this goal?

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Tags: Change Management, Leadership

Suffering Obsolescence (Part 2): Are You Fostering a Skill Building Culture?
McKenna Associates Inc.
August 05, 2020
Since your firm sells professional skill, talent, knowledge, and ability, rather than time (hopefully), it makes sense that one should probably think of those as valuable firm assets and have some kind of program to manage and prevent those assets from inevitably becoming obsolete. The culture you choose to develop can serve to play a critical role in helping everyone build skills for the future.
It is trivial to observe that most new learning happens while professionals are engaged in their various client matters. What is not trivial to point out is that far too many firms (and their groups) fail to capture and disseminate much of that knowledge, such that it never gets leveraged and used to the benefit of outperforming competitors.

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Tags: Leadership

Suffering Human Capital Obsolescence: Partners Doing the Same Old Schtick!
McKenna Associates Inc.
July 29, 2020
In most firms, my observation is that we seriously over-invest in the efficiency (“let’s provide a discount” or “do more for less”) arena and under-invest in having partners working to build their skills – in order to deliver greater recognized value.
As a general rule, firm leadership needs to help partners understand that they are in competition will millions of other professionals all over the world, capable of doing the same work that they can do, and that the sad news is that: “nobody owes you a career. To continue to be successful you must continually dedicate yourself to retraining your individual competitive advantage.”

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Tags: Leadership

The Advent of The Legal Practice’s Micro Niches (Part 2)
Legal Executive Institute
October 20, 2018
Today, firms are facing yet another structural and marketing challenge, that which I have come to call, “Tech-Driven Hybrids.” These are practices that are not simply conventional in that they require a level of expertise that goes beyond any one vertical (e.g., may require regulatory plus tax, plus IP), and they are practices that extend beyond impacting just one industry in that their effect will likely be felt in a good number of different industries.
What are the micro niches in your legal practice? And how can you use them to find new clients and better service your existing ones?

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Tags: Business Strategy

The Advent of Micro Niches (Part 1)
Legal Executive Institute
October 05, 2018
There was a time when we simply organized our law firms vertically, by the same subject matter we studied in law school — a corporate practice, a litigation practice, a labor and employment practice and so forth. So that today, we tend to think of the typical labor and employment practice as highly commoditized with practitioners doing low-value work for highly discounted fees. In the real world, however, those looking at the trends, monitoring the pace of change, and exploring where new client needs may be, are discovering the answers might be in highly-specialized micro-niches.
What are the micro niches in your legal practice? And how can you use them to find new clients and better service your existing ones?

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Tags: Business Strategy

New White Paper: The State of Law Firm Leadership 2018
Legal Executive Institute
August 22, 2018
n new white paper published by Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, authors Patrick J. McKenna and David J. Parnell delve into what it takes to be a law firm leader today, culling valuable insight from a survey of law firm leaders and identifying some key issues related to the role of being firm chair or managing partner.
The white paper is based on a comprehensive 30-question survey, distributed in June and July to a group of about 300 law firm leaders, many among the Am Law 100 and 200 ranked firms. The data uncovered some surprising and potentially valuable findings, according to the authors.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

Sound Advice for New Law Firm Leaders (Part 2)
Legal Executive Institute
March 27, 2018
If you are like most who have traveled this route, I guarantee you that you will go through several distinct stages in the early days of your leadership transition. It starts with anticipation, where you are eager, excited, and thinking to yourself, “I guess my partners really do think that I can lead our firm to greater heights.” Unfortunately, it may not be long before your initial excitement gets bogged down by the reality of daily tasks as the urgent crowds out the important, and you now find yourself thinking, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership, Management

Sound Advice for New Law Firm Leaders (Part 1)
Legal Executive Institute
February 21, 2018
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of conducting research and one-on-one interviews with at least 50 law firm leaders who provided their real-world perspectives and experience on all aspects of becoming a firm leader — from the agony of deciding to take on the job, to making the difficult transition from just practicing law, to also leading an entire firm. All of my work unhesitatingly confirms for me that there are some critical actions that new leaders will need to take to ensure a successful tenure at the top.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

The Fearless Leader’s Advisory Board
Legal Executive Institute
December 19, 2017
More than just a sounding board or a chance to schmooze, a carefully selected and trusted Advisory Board can help a law firm leader avoid potential problems while solving existing ones, fine-tune strategies and stimulate some new and innovative ideas.

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Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Legal and IP

Practice Group Leadership 2.0
International Review
May 15, 2013
If you are like many, for a number of years now you’ve been attempting to get your practice and industry groups to function effectively . . . with only limited success. You appointed professionals to positions as practice group leader whom you thought would do the job (and who promised you that they would try); you provided them with some basic training; you endeavored to meet with them all as a group, periodically, to provide a bit of a pep talk; but in spite of all of your efforts, you have only a few of your groups that are functioning as you had hoped. So what to do? Well, you’ve now decided to embark upon “Practice Group 2.0” and start fresh, largely by changing most of your leaders and hoping that some new recruits might do a better job. If I’ve learned anything over the years, it is that your challenge is not so much a people issue, as it is a structural issue

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Tags: Leadership

Radar

2 Trends
Equity Crowdfunding Micro-Niche.

Date : September 12, 2020

While Covid-19 may be decimating many businesses, it is already creating scores of new ones and serving as a catalyst for improved sources of “alternative financing” – and one notable micro-niche within alternative financing is equity crowdfunding (or Reg CF). By way of a small example, take a look on LinkedIn at #crowdfunding to see that there are already 86,350 followers. On July 10 I noticed a posting from Jose Montero, a California-based CEO, announcing the official close of “our crowdfunding campaign” after maxing out early with 3800+ investors reaching his funding goal of $1.7 million (the regulated cap) to finance Blue, a smart business card and mobile app.

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Social Media Influencer Micro-Niche

Date : September 12, 2020

Among a number of micro-niches that I have been monitoring is one that received high-profile attention on June 30th by way of the forming of their own lobbying group. Apparently, a collection of “TikTok tastemakers and IG mavens banded together to launch a trade group, the American Influencer Council.” Part of their stated goal is to legitimize influencing as an industry, fund market research into the influencer economy, and build a mentoring program for rising stars.

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Blog

1 Article/Blog
Are You Interested In Getting To The Future . . . FIRST?
Thinkers360
February 03, 2020
If you want to win in today’s highly competitive environment, you need to possess an unwavering and intentional focus on tomorrow. Think about this: The future is no longer a timeframe; the future is a mindset! The greatest handicap with the conventional planning process is that it works from today forward and implicitly assumes, whatever the assertions to the contrary, that the future will be more or less like the present. The leading minds know that the future will not be an echo of the present. Getting to the future first requires that you be deliberately farsighted. One of the acid tests you might reflect upon is – “does our current strategic plan have our firm differentiating itself in some meaningful way, show us doing anything different from the three or four significant competitors in our marketplace; and cause other competitors to see us as a ‘leader’ in some particular niche areas? Many are satisfied if they can get a handle on their clients’ current needs. But, this is not the answer. You must also think far ahead of the curve. You must lead the pack by anticipating clients’ needs before clients even know those needs exist. Thus, the question is NOT, “how might we better serve our clients?” That is an example of working from what is. To work from what could be, the central question becomes, “What service might we provide that clients are not yet asking for?” How many of you, as you are reading this, understand the potential influence of Synthetic Biology, or Graphene, or CRISPR Genomics, or Biometrics, or IoT and how any one of these will profoundly affect your future? Your strategy should only be concerned with looking externally, looking to the future, and looking for growth opportunities. ### At different times during this past year, I released three new eBooks through the kind folks at Legal Business World – all of which remain available free for you to download. This excerpt comes from Strategy Innovation: Getting to The Future First (242 Pages, 43,079 Total Readers, Top Countries: US, United Kingdom, Australia, India, Netherlands)

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Innovation, Business Strategy

Opportunities

2 Businesss
Imagine Having Your Own CEO Advisory Board

Location: International    Date Available: September 12th, 2020    Fees: TBD

Submission Date: September 12th, 2020    Service Type: Service Offered

According to one very extensive study “an advisory board brings tangible benefits, such as an external perspective and expert advice. Almost by definition, the board requires a firm to be more reflective and pushes it to build a long-term vision. This leads us to believe that those with advisory boards likely develop greater rigor, and are better able to strategically orient their firms and take the necessary steps to reach their objectives.” I can help you achieve results.

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Non-Executive Director / Advisory Board Member

Location: International    Date Available: May 14th, 2018    Fees: Open to Discussion

Submission Date: May 12th, 2018    Service Type: Service Offered

My experience includes 30+ years of being a strategic and leadership advisor to professional service firms, primarily law, but also including some of the largest international consulting and accounting firms; and to corporate and government legal departments. This work has taken me to 47 different countries. I also proudly serve as a non-executive director (NED) or advisory board member with a variety of professional service firms and incorporated companies. My aim is to instigate innovation, provide independent strategic insight drawn from my years of experience, and support effective governance.

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Patrick J. McKenna