That’s what we, as lawyers, want to deliver in whichever field or context we are working. Whether in-house or in private practice, this notion can be neatly divided into Business Impact (ensuring delivery on day to day matters), Strategic Impact (process improvement, innovation and future-proofing) and Cultural Impact (why and how we are doing things and the wellness of teams and individuals). Never has the interdependency of these three facets been more evident or important.
When Covid first struck business, for many teams and firms it was like being thrown overboard. Initially, you’re under water (the first shock) and you have to get your head above water (making sure everyone can work), then you’re treading water (as teams are able to collaborate and internal/external clients are kept happy); but ultimately this is not sustainable or desirable. We want to perform an elegant and powerful butterfly stroke into the sunset of a happy future.
As we discuss this within our own team and with clients, it has become plainly obvious that we can’t do that unless we intelligently review our positions around the Business, Strategic and Cultural Impact(s) and then: recalibrate and reprioritise in light of changing circumstances, budgets and business objectives. Further, we may find it somewhat liberating to accept that it’s not necessarily going to be a smooth and linear progression. We may get the butterfly stroke and then, for some reason, need to tread water again — and that’s fine (and likely necessary). As the economic situation develops, legal restrictions change, customers adapt and lockdown flexes, our need to remain sensitive, responsive and iterative is ever important.
We were really encouraged by the observations and wisdom from Richard Susskind and Mark Cohen in Legal Geek’s Uncertain Decade events recently. Key messages that resonated for us were that: development to adopt tech, innovation and flexible working has now been (and will continue to be) accelerated; the future is positive, but we must be vigilant and participative in the change; inhouse teams and GC’s hold a lot of power, influence (and responsibility) in that process; law firms and companies must be(come) ever more customer-centric. However, the point that stood out for me the most was how important culture is in relation to all of this, which brings me back to our “impact triumvirate”.
In these fast-changing, uncertain and challenging times, it’s natural to spend time on immediate imperatives with an eye on future-gazing (the Business and Strategic impacts), but we must continually evaluate why and how we are doing things — and ensuring that all members of our teams and organisations are always aligned, pulling together and looking after each other (the Cultural impact). It’s a delicate, but important balance that we need to review holistically and continually maintain to get things right.
On that point about looking after each other, I can’t write better than legal’s wisest owl, Paul Gilbert. “Today the enormity, catastrophe and gravity of our time is impossible to understand. The history of now, only exists in the future. All we can do today is to find the courage to be vulnerable and the opportunity to be kind.” The Covid crisis and the more recent anti-racism events has brought forth a wonderful sense of camaraderie and rallies of ‘we are in this together’. Let’s capitalise on that sentiment and momentum whilst bringing kindness into our personal, team and organisational DNA.
When people are in multiple locations, with different personal pressures, styles and desires, we must be attentive and considerate to ensure that: (a) our purpose is clear; (b) our values are strong; and © each one of our team is fully included, engaged and motivated. It’s the only way we can successfully deliver on our Business and Strategic impacts — continually tweaking each as necessary — and how we’ll swim strongly, together and with purpose.
For a discussion on how the LexSolutions team can support your in-house legal team or law firm when it comes to business and strategy, contact email@example.com.
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