Episode 179 — AMMA — Ask Michael Mogill Anything: How to Find & Attract High-Level Mentorship
To grow your law firm successfully, it’s crucial that you don’t do it alone. You need a mentor who has gone before you, can advise and support you, and ultimately is living a life that you want to emulate.
So where can you find the right mentor?
In this Ask Michael Mogill Anything episode, Michael and Jessica Mogill dive deep into:
- Why you want a mentor who is not focused on trends and tactics
- Where to find the right mentors
- How to get leaders you admire to want to be your mentor
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The power of putting your people first. “When I think back, my best mentors have always emphasized the importance of prioritizing the people in the organization, and they’ve been putting people first. So if you want to achieve anything, you want profits, you want to have great outcomes, it’s always put the people first. Whenever we’re speaking to any law firm, a lot of times the question becomes, ‘Well, how do I make sure I never worry about where my next case is coming from?’ It really starts with 1) can you make sure that your clients are getting the absolute best experience and the best representation? But in order for that to happen, it really comes as a function of how are you treating your team? Are you helping them achieve their goals? If you can help someone achieve their goals, they’ll ultimately return the favor and help you achieve your vision. Any time we’ve prioritized the people in the organization, we’ve had great results and great outcomes. I think that if you get the people aspect right, that solves every other challenge.”
Focus on who, not how. “I think early on your mentors tend to be much more tactical in nature of like, what do I do? Like do this, do that. Like give me a list of things to do. Let me try to exercise these tactics. But then as you start to really grow and evolve and you start to really grow your organization, now you’re less focused on tactics individually and much more focused on overall thinking, decision-making, strategy, leadership, leverage: the things that can really add a greater output to the organization itself and can create greater impact. So I actually find that organizations — and I say this respectfully, though I’m sure it won’t come across that way — mentors that are very focused on purely marketing are focusing on a very, very low level of impact. And I know it may feel like, ‘Oh man, I just heard about this new marketing strategy, or heard about Facebook ads, or heard about LSAs, or I heard about pay-per-click, or I heard about the SEO algorithm update.’ But that’s such small thinking because if you could solve the root issue — which usually has to do with how do I find the right individual? How do I find the right person, bring them into my organization, and allow them to own that challenge? — you can free yourself up from that problem entirely. Now you’re not thinking about the algorithm update because you have somebody who is focused on those things and can help scale it. Now you’re not thinking about how do I improve my intake? Because you have somebody who owns the intake problem in your organization. The greater competency is finding those people. You know, Dan Sullivan’s got the great book called Who Not How. I think it’s a transformational concept of being able to solve challenges through finding and attracting the right people into your organization.”
How to choose the right mentor. “Generally, you’ll get some really great advice even from mentors that may not be the ideal mentor. But I always look at who is at the top of my industry and then I ask myself, ‘Would I want to trade places with them?’ If I keep doing what they’re doing — if I’m listening to their advice, I’m listening to their feedback — do I want a life like they have a life? … Would I want to trade places with this person? And I want to look beyond financial success, because if you only look at financial success, that’s not going to tell you the full story. Someone could be a financial success and be lacking in other areas of their life, which early on if you’re struggling, you might think who cares? But that becomes more and more important in finding the right mentor because it’s not just the financial. It’s also what’s the relationship like with their family and do they have a family? How are they spending their time? What kind of physical shape are they in? What kind of mental shape are they in? I mean, I know some people that are a financial success, but are completely inadequate in all those other areas. They’re overweight. Their health has suffered. Their relationship with their family’s nonexistent. They’re a stranger to their family. They’re dependent on substances and various drugs — all that. That’s not someone I’d ever want to trade places with. Maybe they’ve got a nice boat or maybe they’ve made some money, but no thank you. But this is also dependent on what is valuable to you and what your values are. So it’s important to find mentors that you can align with.”
Where to find a mentor. “I think it’s about really putting yourself in the right environments. You know, you never know who’s going to become a great mentor to you. So for example, we see this in our coaching groups and in our workshops, that if you put yourself in the type of environment where you have a lot of entrepreneurial thinkers — so like in our different coaching groups, you bring together like-minded law firm owners that sometimes, wherever they may be located, you’ve got local state bar functions where no one wants to share any ideas and people aren’t really growth-minded; they’re very fixed mindset — and our Crisp Coach members come together, and we essentially built this community of people that are sharing ideas and that are learning from one another. That becomes a great environment. So I think it starts by putting yourself in the type of environment where you’re in instead of like, Talking about just people and nonsense and gossip and all this, you’re, you’re instead talking about culture and leadership and strategy. Like you, you really have to change what the conversations are. And it starts by putting yourself in the right environment, and then the mentors come outta that.”
Stop asking to pick their brain. “You may also find somebody that you look up to and respect. I think a lot of times people underestimate the value of being able to send that person a message, an email, a LinkedIn message. But I wouldn’t ask necessarily to pick their brain because when somebody sends me something like that, or I’m sure when a lot of other people get that, you’re not the only one who’s sending them something like that. I’d find a way to be able to add value to this person. So let’s say if you’re a law firm owner, maybe you can send them a case. Maybe you have something that could add value to them to be able to spur that relationship, and then you can start to build upon that so you’re not just taking. That there’s a way in which you can help them, right? Let’s say they’ve got an event coming up. Maybe you can help get some people to that event, for example. Maybe they’re doing something in the community. Maybe you can help support that without asking for anything in return. And by giving first, I think that’s where you start to build those relationships. Like a lot of the best relationships that I’ve ever built came from giving without expectation. If you do that, that’s where you start to develop trust. You’ll find that some of the most successful people tend to also be the most guarded because there’s a lot of people that want things from them. Anytime I detect kind of a whiff of, ‘Okay, this person’s going want something from me; there’s going be an ask,’ I immediately start to pull away because it’s just that those aren’t the types of relationships I want to build.”