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Murray Mathieson – Mindset and organisation

In the fifth episode of the Your Law Firm Success podcast, Stephen meets with Murray Mathieson of Positively Legal. Listen as they explore two simple things to change to transform your practice, your life and your state of mind.

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my name is Stephen Moore and I’m the presenter of the your Law Firm success podcast this podcast explores the roots to Law Firm success we chat to those who have done it those who are doing it and those who help law firms do it this podcast is brought to you by MLT digital the leaders in law firm success in this episode of the your Law Firm success podcast I chat to Murray Mathieson of positively legal Murray is pretty self-effacing about his achievements but he has worked with some of the biggest firms in the world and has built a very successful business coaching helping instructing advising both law firms and lawyers from I know for now 22 years or so in this edition we talk about mindset now you may see that as being a fluffy term or something that’s quite hard to define but the fact is that changing your mind mindset around how you approach your work how you approach fee earning how you approach Business Development and how you approach your day can have two very significant impacts one is on reducing the anxiety that you may have around work and two is around the growth of your Law Firm so Murray thank you very much for spending some time with me today I know your time’s valuable pleasure Stephen I was wondering if you could start for those who don’t know you explaining just a wee bit about your background um how you’ve got to where you are and actually where you are now okay thanks so I started off I’m actually a non-practicing solicitor and accredited business coach started off uh in the mid 80s working for a small firm in Glasgow Browning and bow so I was there for four years it was a chamber practice so for those listeners who aren’t lawyers that means it didn’t do any litigation it was Wills trust convincing I didn’t know that so commercial work and then I went to Brodies and did corporate work for a couple of years there and then I became an attorney at law in the turks and caicos islands in the British West Indies uh about a three or four partner firm there uh but I’d always wanted to go into business and I saw the biggest Avenue for that to become an in-house lawyer a general Council so I made the move into jet stream aircraft in Prestwick we built turbo prop aircraft 1929 seers and it was part of ba systems what is now ba systems was British aerospace PLC uh so I ended up as legal director there in charge of a department three or four at any one time uh but we’re part of a global Department of about 50 inhouse lawyers and of course was instructing a lot of law firms so I saw anything from the client side uh the aircraft manufacturing program uh ceased and I took a job as the first inhouse lawyer the Scottish Football Association so I was legal director or director of legal and special projects at the SFA H was there for a couple of years it was really enjoyable some excellent work as it had been at bee as well uh and then I moved on to bar which a private limited company about 100 million turnover not bar the iron Brew Company bar construction environmental Etc so again an excellent work portfolio we were doing PFI we were building football stadium we did the St Mar Stadium at Southampton and I then saw a gap in the market basically uh and it started off as training workshops on client awareness that was really the first stage of positively legal set up positively legal in 2001 and 22 years later I’m still here uh positively legal has developed it’s still only me I sometimes worked with other Consultants but it’s broadly me H and I have three ways of delivery if you like so I’ve one to one coaching became a coach 2004 got one to one coaching I’ve got bespoke Group Training I say bespoke because I don’t do open training I do it for specific groups within specific law firms uh and consultancy and the main areas if you like I don’t do anything on how to become a better technical lawyer it’s all around things like particularly strategic planning leadership Business Development and then I’ve got some Niche areas like uh designing and implementing partner appraisal uh retiring partner programs all right brilliant um we first got H into contact I think maybe about 16 years or so ago so that was relatively early in your positively legal that’s right Journey what type of firms do you typically work with or has that changed a lot over the course of the past there yeah it hasn’t really changed it’s a very broad range what I have found in the last few years that are smaller firms are starting to buy my services a little bit more and when I say smaller firms say around 5 million plus so it used to be and I think it shows a bit of a trend in the market it used to be firms of maybe 15 million plus would be willing to use somebody like me because everything I everything I do is a discretionary purchase and I am seeing in the market now because the Market’s becoming I feel like more sophisticated in terms of trying to be Innovative trying to improve the way they behave as businesses smaller firms are now more interested in that but the range is from five million right up to multi-billion International firms because the first time that we worked together I think was for a firm where I was doing some retained work and you were brought in to help out with tenders that’s right and I remember the discussion amongst the partners was whether or not they should be bringing in somebody external to help with something is important and they were encouraged to do so and I remember working with you and I was fairly astonished by the level of detail that you went into your commitment to Quality and language and to such an extent I remember actually that we worked together through the night on one of those tenders when all the other partners had gone home and I think it probably reflected or certainly was a very clear example for me as to how somebody was able despite being what one might consider as being expensive to deliver a significant amount of value and I imagine that’s what’s underpinned the growth and the fact that you’ve been able to sustain and grow positively legal so successfully for such a long period Well than a compliment it’s the first time you told me that you were so astonished by the quality of the work yeah what I what I also remember about that evening is that we were both starving and thirsty and we didn’t know our way around so we found a fridge and you drank half a pint of milk and about uh about two hours later uh you were struggling because it was about 6 months out of date yeah but one yeah one of the one of the things about that exercise actually tells you quite a lot about the way lawyers think and behave differently to other uh business sectors yeah because I remember speaking to one of the partners there about two days before the tender was to be put in and if this tender you remember if this tender had been won which I think it was it was going to improve the turnover of the firm by 8% or something like that yeah and I was asking the partner how it was going late one night and he said oh could you come back in again tomorrow Murray it’s really tough going this he said I actually can’t wait till Thursday morning and I can get back to doing my work yeah and I thought to myself if this isn’t work what is work yeah and we can maybe come on to that later yeah and I think that is a good Segway for our sort of discussion because you haven’t heard the podcast today so far but what we have been chatting about or what has been a recurring theme has been around the importance of Business Development

within a practice in order to grow a firm you know sales are the lifeblood of any business and each of those individuals that I have spoken to whether it be Austin Lafferty Stephen Gold Greg Whyte and then Bernard Savage has talked about certainly the the lawyers within that group about how they’ve moved from being technical lawyers to effectively specialising almost entirely in sales and I think to cover you’ve worked a lot with individuals and there was a quote I had from Stephen Gold section which I wanted to play with you play for you that I thought could form an interesting start to our discussion so just hopefully this works if you scratch the surface of the average solicitor then I think you find somebody who is I don’t know what’s it called suspicious maybe quite reserved in their dealings a lot of the time risk averse petrified of personal failure and these are all fantastic qualities for keeping clients out of trouble and solving complex problems but you probably wouldn’t find Richard Branson describing himself that way so I know that a large aspect of your career has involved coaching individual solicitors just before we go into considering that how many lawyers do you think you know I know you

[10:00] don’t know the exact well I thought you might do but I don’t think you do the exact number and across how many countries I don’t have an exact number but it’ll be well into the hundreds it may be over a thousand in terms of countries positively legal I actually worked this out last summer I surprise myself I’ve been to 21 different countries as working as positively legal not coaching lawyers in every single country either doing training or consultancy or coaching one of the one of the interesting things before I get on to Stephen’s quote which is very insightful one of the interesting things is that the issues that lawyers face in their General day-to-day business and working long term tend to be exactly the same whether they’re in a 5 million turnover firm or a 2.5 billion turnover International firm they’re the same sort of issues from an individual mindset and approach perspective they just maybe have different emphasis in different contexts okay and that’s interesting because I do I was going to raise that you know that you have worked with firms from Magic Circle firms down to as you say small you know smaller firms when we talk about small you know I know at that time maybe the firm that we were talking about was maybe turning over about 10 million or so it’s still a significant business and this podcast is aimed lawyers within small to medium practices and I think maybe they sometimes think that the difficulties they face are unique to their sector but what you’re I think suggesting to me is that actually those problems are uniform as are the mindset challenges that individual lawyers face in terms of how they can work out how to make their law firms more successful absolutely and I mean the fundamentals I think are the whole the whole training and approach of a lawyer is counterintuitive to what a business leader an entrepreneur a high growth business should be first of all we as lawyers Look Backwards all the time in our work we look at precedents case law templates for agreements etc so we’re always looking backwards and the core job of many lawyers in most situations is to minimise risk for the client so if you think of it entrepreneurs Business Leaders look forwards and take risks so from that perspective we’re designed wrongly to grow businesses to be successful business people and then linked to that you have the concept of the producer manager so we’re completely different from other sectors whereby accountants are a good example but even manufacturing sector the all almost all the leaders particularly in the law firms we’re talking about small to medium size which I would talk about up to say 40 million something like that almost every single partner is on the production line so they have an hour’s Target to do the work as they call it every year and they’re absolutely focused on producing okay rather than managing leading that’s the core aspect of their business and added to that to make it worse is that in many cases if you’re if you’re working on a Time based an hourly rate or a daily rate the longer it takes you to create the product the more money you get so there’s a whole this incentive to do the other stuff like strategic planning teamworking Business Development and you know it’s interesting you

mention risk because you again you haven’t heard this but Greg Whyte who has grown Jones Whyte from 0 to 264 lawyers within a space of 10 years when I asked him what the most important lever that he could he had pulled in relation to his Law Firm success he mentioned risk and an appetite for risk he did mentioned that there was a number of occasions where he’s almost fallen out with his business partner because his attitude is different yeah to his business partners and having reflected on it he was glad on that occasion but so talk thinking about Stephen’s comment you find somebody who’s analytical suspicious maybe quite reserved in their dealings a lot of the time risk averse and petrified of personal failure is that something that resonates with you and how is it that you work with lawyers on an individual basis to perhaps counter some of those behaviours so they can build the law firm of their dreams or the practice of their dreams right well I mean going back to Stephen’s comment one of the things he says is suspicion so yes lawyers are suspicious and I come across one of the Big Blocks for getting people like me in is it’s just for smaller firms it’s just it’s just corporate right so if you look at that into language you know corporate jargon things like the low hanging fruit opportunities putting the third leg in the stool yeah that’s corporate jargon if you like it’s not particularly useful but there’s also effective business language so kpis smart objectives now laws tend to put all that into the same bucket which is Corporate rubber I’m a lawyer I’ll get on and do it the way we lawyers do so that that’s part of the suspicion thing and that permeates through and particularly with the fear of failure I think subconsciously that links into the business development so in terms of not doing business development yes there’s a lot of it is around risk but a lot of it is about not actually quite understanding what it is and habit and fear of failure so from a coaching perspective you know coaching is basically asking questions and the way I explain it to people is coaching is asking mentoring is telling so most coaches whether they realise it or not start off with a base of coaching which is asking questions and then when necessary they put in the mentoring bit in my experience or how about trying out this handout or reading this book or whatever so one of one of the things about the coaching that I do is just to help people realise what the overall situation is with lawyers and one of the sort of almost therapeutic things that comes out a lot is oh so I’m not the only one that’s got this problem so I do I try to create some sort of framework for them and I try to enable them to come up with or I give them if necessary some practical ways to change what their habits are because a lot of it is mindset and habit so not on a BD perspective but on a general perspective often I’ll get a situation say with a salaried partner quite recently a few weeks ago a salaried partner in a British Law Firm trying to pull together an Innovative project into her practice which is completely different from what the type of work that they’ve done before and was struggling to get from the thought process to actually getting some traction working out how you’d put it together speaking to decision makers in in The Firm Etc and I said so what you’re struggling to do is try to get thinking time yeah that’s right I said so if you’re working from home one day and it was a Thursday morning it was a nice morning and you started work at 9:00 would you go out for a walk and just think about this project how you would put it together and maybe do that from 9:00 till half 10 and I knew what would be said no I wouldn’t do that why not because I would be feel guilty that I’m not doing billable hours I’m not basically on the production line I said would you go out from 5:00 till half 6 oh yes so that that’s how the producer manager lawyer mindset and habit and attitude really affects the growth of Law Firm businesses because everybody’s most people are built into in core hours we in the production line and all the other stuff is lunchtime evening or weekend so a lot of the work I do is just to change that habit and talk about impact and value rather than it’s the Habit to do this at this time of the week the that same firm that we worked upon that we worked on years ago I mean you know I struggled in the same way as maybe some as others would and maybe you did as well to gain traction within firms because despite having done legal training I wasn’t a fee earner and there was a mantra within that firm which was fee earner good non fee earner bad there’s a mantra in the whole sector like that yeah do you think that that that is something that

[20:00] can be changed for the lawyer because it seems to me that from the firms that I’ve spoken to it’s only being on the occasion where the principal or the founder is new business oriented that they are then able to make that step towards making their firm yeah successful it is changing and not without exception but generally speaking the much larger firms are changing so there’s much more credit given specifically and if you like in the mind to senior Associates Partners who are doing other type of work to push the business forward other than just fee earning and sometimes you get that in small firms some I’m working with a firm a really Innovative firm around 10 million turnover they’ve got a management board and there’s only one what I call jobbing partner on the board one of them is a project an integration uh partner the CEO is an accountant Etc so it is changing the other thing I would say Stephen is that the focus tends to be in business development so you’re going to push your firm forward by getting more sales more people involved in more sales and they’re more productive in doing that but also there’s a whole other aspect around that better self-management of individuals better strategic planning at an organisational team and individual level better focus in financial performance not just how many billable hours are we doing what’s the profitability but also you know what are lockup days how much age how much debt do we have how much work in progress do we have how can we shorten our lockup days from 110 days to 83 or whatever on average better leadership all these issues link into your Law Firm success and I think there is a bit of a preponderance to focus only on Business Development and these other things for example if you reduce your lockup days uh by 5 or 10% over a year that is a massive impact on the success of your firm to go back to the first thing which you mentioned self-management what do you mean by that lawyers tend to be incredibly busy in terms of the hours they’re working and incredibly disorganised within the context of that work so many of them don’t even have a list never mind a strategic plan so they come in and just batter through their day batter through their files time record then go up the road that’s right and lack of prioritisation a good example is you know I’ll sometimes ask for you know if I’m coaching somebody and it’s and it’s on Business Development and they have a BD plan so what you’ll get is a list of 50 clients potential clients right no prioritisation where are you going to start right I don’t really know and there’s so much of it they put it to the side and go back into the comfort zone of doing the work so from a BD perspective trying to appreciate that often it’s more valuable to go to a client’s factory or office at 10:00 on a Thursday morning and going to an evening networking event but they’ll tend to do the evening networking event because it’s outside of the core hours so from a self-management point of view because that to me sounds pretty basic but I can understand it you know we’ve both been in the offices where you walk into a law firm and there’s files literally everywhere and I think at points that could have been seen as a sign of Industry you know and deserving of Kudos what tips would you give to those within a busy practice around how they can begin to manage their day more effectively well I think the first is a good question the first thing is actually to have a list now whether that’s an overall strategic plan for yourself over the next six months the next year I think that or it’s just what you do the next day that’s helpful that actually you wouldn’t believe how many lawyers don’t have anything like that at all at all levels of firm at all levels of firm and the anxiety that that raises so many firms will have personal development plans obviously that’s becoming more common but again the frequency with that might be overall objectives and five competencies like financial performance clients technical expertise Etc but the frequency with which they look at that competency framework and their objectives might be very low so what you find is that when they do come out with some sort of daily list or weekly list whatever it might be the main benefit from that is a reduction of anxiety right because they get it down then you need to prioritise so if you go back to the Client List I always say that you know you always sell to a man so I can imagine people listening to this going that he actually say that you always sell to a man but what I mean by that is you sell to the person or the team or the organisation that has the money yes the authority I to make the decision okay and the need so if you’ve got 50 potential clients to approach and you do it on that basis which of them have got the funding who in there have got the authority to make the decision to buy you and who have the immediate or short-term requirement that’s a good way prioritise okay so you can pick your top three or your top five and then you work on them so you start off with a list for the day you begin to prioritise that now what we are talking about is Law Firm success and that comes in in various different guises and as you as you say there’s business development is talked about a lot but there are range of other factors within there for in your experience I don’t know if you going to be able to answer this but in your experience from the listers that you have dealt with who you have been most impressed by in terms of their perhaps their organisation their personal management the way that they have approached things what lessons have you learned from them are you able to share or what say maybe characteristics or aspects of behaviour from them would you say others could adopt relatively easy with some practice easily with practice right easily with practice is interesting because none of the stuff I do and none of the things that we’re talking about are intellectually challenging yeah so that that’s the first thing they’re very behaviourally challenging I mean you you’d said that it seems like Common Sense yeah it most of it is common sense and the difficulties are driven by habit so I think the just the acknowledgment of that to people that it’s not a lot of this isn’t difficult another thing is that that I think the lawyers who do well in in this type of thing don’t fall into the legal trap of something has to be complex to be valuable okay so classic is with smart objectives I remember one of my sons they were doing his high school were they were doing a new thing of setting smart objectives for the year so I went for a meeting with his guidance teacher we had a chat and said right I’ll now draft three objectives for Stuart and the guy drafted three smart objectives time scale etc within about two minutes and I work with law sometimes for 45 minutes trying to get them into the mindset of how you do a smart objective and it’s I think it’s because they think that it has to be really complicated for it to be valuable okay which aligns with the work so if you have if you if you acknowledge that and do things in in a simple effective manner I think having the flexibility as well of time not being a slave to this core hour thing of I’ve got to be doing billable hours and also just taking the risk of taking the risk of saying well at the partners meeting I might be the lowest billable partner of the month but the value I’ve brought in is 10 times as much as anybody else and that is where attention comes in uh because you know the by habit the firms are looking at number of billable hours rather than the amount of work brought in I think another thing I would say is that if lawyers look on the wider level of competences and give them all some sort of proportionate focus so whether it’s learning development whether it’s chasing up age debt or speaking to your cash Department about age debt whether it’s doing a strategic plan with your team rather than just looking at the billable hours and just looking at how many clients we get in okay I don’t know if that answers it well or not I mean I suppose what you’ve said to me and answer to that is that

[30:00] actually I’m not going to come out with any there’s nothing ground-breaking or particularly intellectually challenging around any of this it’s just about following some set routines now smart members of our audience might not know what a smart objective is a smart objective it’s an objective that’s specific measurable so you know when you’ve done it achievable results driven and time bound okay and time bound is often the most important bit so I’m going to have a meeting with my team regarding our strategic plan if you don’t say by 30th September or something akin to that the law will always find the excuse not to do that okay now I know also you worked with the SFA you’re a very keen football fan within the makeup of a team for example a departmental team in a law firm of a particular size there’s that whole fee earner aspect in Bella blowers everybody’s a producer manager that’s a bit like seeing in a football team everyone’s a centre half how what have your observations been around how people can build effective teams by recognising skill sets that maybe somebody’s not quite so good at the technical stuff but they’re great yeah that that’s a that’s a really interesting question it’s actually quite a difficult question to answer H I think the starting point has to be a realisation that many lawyers either don’t want to or because of the way they think and the they’re built aren’t able to become the goal scorer the right winger Etc so what I quite often see in law firms with tenders and pitching for example is you have a group of people who work on a on a pitch and the same three people do the written tender as do the oral pitch presentation to the client panel now in many cases those three people may be suited to writing a really good tender but not doing the presentation doing that aspect of it but rarely will you get in a small firm three or four people who are naturally good at doing the presentation so you have to you have to work on that and it’s the usual you know there’s a percentage of maybe 10% of lawyers or less who are naturally good at that thing that sort of thing 10 or 20% will never be and you just have to work with the middle 80% but the first thing is the awareness of the firms around that whole team structure the other thing to say as well is I was talking to a friend a few years ago who’s Imaging partner of a large International firm and just to put this into context they had 150ish Partners at that stage and he had met with his chairman to look at who could possibly success succeed him and they looked at the 150 Partners who are all leaders in the firm and out of the 150 they came up with six names I think that’s I mean it’s know this is like really interesting I think we could go into different areas but I suppose what I’m Keen to do for this particular is focus on the individual you know because you mentioned earlier on and that it’s mindset and it’s having a restricted mindset that can end up you end up in a scenario that you don’t want to be in and you’re unsure how to get out of it I listen to the wrong and Chatterjee podcast feel better live more and he had a very interesting person on there talking about Dr Bruce Lipton I think it was talking about unlocking the power of the subconscious mind and that as a result of by the age of seven you learn certain behaviours and that becomes you but it’s only through practice and repetition and consistency that you’re then able to unlock that and change your aspects of behaviour I suppose what I’m quite Keen to understand or to give lawyers away from this is some practical tip you know I know you’ve given me some already but how is it what can they identify in themselves that they can change easily that they can change with others within their practice with a view to then taking steps forward to becoming more cognisant of the fact that everybody has different skills some of them will limit the growth of their business and some of them will enhance them but they might not be so good technically um I don’t know if that question actually got there in the end I don’t know either but yeah I mean if you’re looking at actual practical tips on how to improve as an individual there’s a self-management stuff start off with some kind of strategic plan even if that’s just a daily list yeah ideally you want to do a strategic plan that aligns if you like with your firm strategic plan if it has one so you know what you can write down a plan on it and it can be anything it can be an Excel spreadsheet it can be on a piece of paper with a green felt tip it doesn’t matter yeah what are your three levels of strategy in other words a senior associate I want to become a part partner by the middle of 2025 second level what are the five areas I need to focus on to do that so one of them is technical expertise might be and other might be Business Development getting new clients in another is my financial performance another is my leadership capabilities and another might be Community what kind of Pro bono work do I do so you have these five areas which are quite basic Common Sense things and then the third level is under that pick four or five tactics for each of those areas so under financial performance it might be hit 1,600 billable hours uh a second one might be reduce my lockup days you know from 113 to 102 or the team’s lockup days if you’re head of a team and you do that so you have some sort of plan that you can keep referring to too as a sort of living document keep updating and tick off and you can do that on your own you don’t need to be working with a supervisor or partner to do that another thing I think that is well very important from a business development point of view is to stand back and look at what develop BD is and what are the areas of BD so myself and another consultant  Sally Sanderson of Profex you know Stephen we came up with a six segment BD process for lawyers starts with organisation and planning and it finishes with closing the deal it includes things like building relationships building your profile selling Solutions etc but you then go into dividing those six into three sectors organisation and planning and that can be strategically what type of client base are you’re going for and it can be how much planning you doing for the meeting tomorrow at Starbucks with your current client secondly marketing and thirdly selling now the work I’ve done with individuals and also with groups but let’s focus on individuals if you’re a partner say and you do you maybe do 300 hours of business development each year what you tend to find is maybe 250 hours of that is actually in marketing so you do precious little planning organisation and more importantly you do hardly any follow up so you go to the networking event you take the box you talk to a few people you come back and in the morning you go in and start doing your work again so your return investment is very low so what is much better is to actually you can do the same amount same 300 hours in BD but instead of going to 25 marketing events and writing loads and loads of Articles and all this kind of thing you cut that down you do more more organisation and planning and very very importantly you do the one to one follow up after the marketing events that way you’ll get a lot more business in yeah Bernard Savage talked about that in recent one that we did the importance of the follow-up yeah critical how critical that is if I can say as well Stephen just at this stage that brings me on another thing that the whole concept of plan do review it’s a three-way process now I had a managing director at Bae who he was in at our place for a year or two and he wasn’t he wasn’t particularly enthused about lawyers and uh it was a difficult sale internally from our point of view to show the value of the lawyer within within Jetstream but in our first conversation he said the problem with he said there

[40:00] that business runs on plan do review and he said you L just do you do hardly any planning and the most important part of the process is review and you just never do that right so a good practical tip is I think is when you’ve done a pitch for example or you’ve uh run a team meeting in a different way from normal anything like that you sit down quietly afterwards or you maybe sit with somebody else and you write down or you type up whatever three things what went well what did I learn and what can I do better next time and if for example if you’re doing a lot of tenders or pitches you can build that up and you look at it before you do each one and slowly but surely your performance will improve it’s interesting I think that’s all very interesting and we’ve talked about it I’m very keen in it the benefit of the plan is not the plan itself it’s the process of doing the planning which then forces you to think through certain elements and I just to draw this bit to a conclusion or to draw this to a conclusion it’s trying to get out of the mindset fee earning good non-fee earning bad which is that time spent planning and then reviewing is as important if not more important than actually doing the work itself absolutely and that bailing time is not equal to success would that be a fair absolutely and the higher you go up the hierarchy of the law firm the more and more important that becomes so from the small firm owner lawyer point of view it’s about breaking out of the mindset that doing equal success and that in order to build a successful Law Firm you need to have individuals within the firm who are working as a team and who are encouraged to spend time doing planning prioritising setting some goals then reviewing their progress on an ongoing basis would that be right absolutely it’s very well put and the phrase it reminds me of some of what you’re saying is implementation is the graveyard of strategy right okay so that’s where the process is really important and the review aspect is really important so as we come up with these lovely plans from a from a firmer team perspective 30 page plan everybody goes on a Friday night to the pub to celebrate the fact that we’ve got a really good strategic plan the next time they look at it is a year later the night before they away day so you’ve got to do it you’ve got to have that process to make sure you implement okay and that’s an ongoing process a review process a self-review process a lot of the time ticking off the objectives that you’ve achieved okay brilliant so just there’s one thing that I know you would have heard many times I’m too busy you know what’s your counter to that you’re not too busy I say this and it’s easy for me to say this as I’m the external guy that comes in and says maybe you could improve doing this and that so it’s easy for me to say it but it’s not about being too busy it’s about deciding what you’re going to do and what you’re going to prioritise within the time you’ve got I I did a uh Sally and I did a film a number of years ago uh interviewing clients people who dealt with clients a lot of the time and one of one of the people was a commercial property developer and he said it’s amazing he said you know with lawyers all I get is I’m too busy I’m too busy and I’m thinking working all these hours but they never deliver anything on time or rarely into budget and it’s about deciding what you’re going to use your time for and prioritising and one of the things is energy so you know if you’re at your most creative in the morning then do the difficult things or the imaginative things first and leave the client work till later the word I would focus on is impact what impact are you going to have by doing something or not doing something whether it’s billable or non-billable work so if the impact on you the team the firm is going to be positive by chasing up a debt having a team meeting writing your plan on a Wednesday morning because that’s when you’re most creative and it’ll also reduce your the anxiety in your head think that’s going to be a massive impact so do it then and then do the less impactful standard client work the comfort zone stuff do that in the evening okay so think about impact okay which includes impact on the mind I mean I think it’s you you’ve seen it a lot more than me I think you fall into the trap and you what we’re seeing here and what you’re saying is that you’ve got to use your time effectively to deliver the most valuable for the firm if that’s not built time it doesn’t matter you know if it’s going to result in a hugely positive impact at the yeah in the future yeah and talking of you know leaders of these law firms and taking risks I think there’s got to be an acceptance sometime that you and or the people within your firm actually put the client work to the side and focus on other things that will move the firm forward and going back to the time issue and the prioritisation another tip is to always ask the client when are you looking for this for because quite often lawyers come out of meetings and they’re too busy because they’ve thought I just want to get this to the client immediately and the client’s actually thinking well anytime in the next two or three weeks and if you ask that question that time question it can take a lot of pressure off you okay thanks Murray thanks very much for your time um where can people find you if they want to get in touch positivelylegal.co.uk and they can buy my strategic tool at better at business okay better-at-business.com okay thanks very much Murray nice to see you and yep thanks for your time good to see you Stephen hope it’s been helpful for the listeners thanks thank you so thanks very much for listening to today’s episode I hope you enjoyed it I hope you’re enjoying our content we be delighted to hear any feedback that you have you can find out more about the your Law Firm success podcast at MLTdigital.co.uk/podcast please subscribe please 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