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Episode 239 — AMMA — Raise Your Standards

Ever wonder why some law firms soar while others struggle to stay afloat? Brace yourself for a no-nonsense discussion on how to transform your team and marketing strategies from average to exceptional.

In this episode of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast, Michael and Jessica Mogill take a deep dive into:

  • The importance of setting and reinforcing high standards in your organization
  • How to raise the bar for your team’s contributions
  • Why world-class results are earned — not given
Episode 239 — AMMA — Raise Your Standards
Show Notes:

Set the bar. “We all have standards. We just have varying levels of them. A standard in one firm is going to be different from a standard in another firm. Everybody has their own definition of world-class. Standards are the minimum that you’re willing to tolerate.”

You endorse what you tolerate. “Once you have standards defined, that means that you are unwilling to accept any less. Standards aren’t just the fact that you put some poster on the wall and you said, ‘Here’s the standard.’ They only work when they’re reinforced. So if you say, ‘Hey everybody, we’re going to show up every day at 9:00,’ and somebody shows up at 9:05 and it is acceptable to show up at 9:05, then 9:05 is actually the standard — not 9:00.”

Standards in action. “If you look at high standards versus low standards in a law firm, this is everything from the client experience to how the phones are answered to how someone is welcomed into the firm — how they’re greeted, if they’re offered a beverage, how they’re followed up — the entire process that they have in terms of working with the law firm: before, during, after, at every aspect. But then internally in the law firm, it comes down to things like how is the team trained and what type of people are they attracting. Do you have the best attorneys and the best paralegals and the best office staff? Are they constantly investing in their training and development and reinforcing the standards internally in the organization? Because what you’re going to see outward is really a function of what is being reinforced internally.”

Reinforce excellence. “If you want to elevate the standard, then somebody has to come in and get angry and say that what we were doing before is no longer acceptable and define how we’re going to do things going forward. Then you have to reinforce them and say, ‘We are now going to operate differently.’ You’ve got to commit to doing that every single day until eventually you catch up to the standard. Now that you have set and reinforced it in the organization, you’re actually starting to see the output now in line with what you wanted to see as a result of those standards. But it takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of energy, and you’re fighting against inertia, constantly swimming upstream because it is human nature to do the absolute minimum possible.”

Release low performers. “There will be people who buy in and continue with the organization and those who don’t buy in that need to be exited from the organization. If you have high performers, they want to be around other high performers. And yes, sometimes you have to fire someone and they end up leaving your office. As Chris Voss actually shared on one of the first podcasts we did, ‘There’s not really a good way to slowly cut someone’s head off because that’s torture. You want to be quick and you want to be able to get to the point.’ I would be less concerned about doing it gracefully, and I’d be more concerned about doing it effectively.”

Earn the best cases. “I have yet to come across a law firm in the entire United States of America that tells me they do not want the best cases. Everybody wants the best cases. So why should they go to you? You don’t deserve them. Let’s be completely honest: If you’re not getting the best cases in your market, you probably don’t deserve to get the best cases for a number of reasons, but I’ll address at least the marketing ones. I’m not going to focus on having trial skills and having those competencies internally — although that is extremely important — but let’s say from a marketing and positioning standpoint, which is what gets people to pick up the phone and call your firm. They’ve got a lot of options. You’ve got thousands of law firms in every single market, and they could hire anybody. So why would they hire you? You have to be able to clearly differentiate yourself.”

Clear branding wins. “If you want better quality leads, then I think you need to dial in your message, dial in your audience, start narrowing your focus, and make a commitment to being very clear on not just who you’re for but who you’re not for. You’ve got to start saying no, and you’ve got to stop looking for the shortcut or the easy road, because you’re just bullshitting yourself and you’re wasting your time and your money.”


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