Have you ever felt or known that something needed to change in order for a process to become better in your law firm, but you didn’t know what? Many firms that reach out to Vista know there needs to be some kind of change, but they are unsure exactly what needs to be done or how to make it happen. Sometimes they think that we, as consultants, can bring a magic wand with pixie dust, wave it around, and “BAM,” all problems are fixed. No work required. This is simply untrue! While we know best practices, have visited and helped hundreds of firms, and feel confident in our work to assess, guide, and measure, we still haven’t found the pixie dust to sprinkle on a firm and magically solve issues without work required.
Let’s face a harsh reality: Magic wands and pixie dust don’t exist!
Hiring a consultant for your firm doesn’t mean there will be no more work for you or that your input will be less in the initial stages of the consultation. The decision to ask for help is simply the first step in the improvement process. What we have experienced many times is that some firms hire a consultant, and they think that’s it. The consultant will come up with all the answers, implement all the improvements, “fix” years of bad process and culture in a finger-snap and the owner’s work is done, with no participation required. WRONG! Believing in pixie dust means you believe it’s possible to make substantial positive changes without work, process, consultation, or practice. It’s a figment of our imagination, and the sooner we let go of this myth, the sooner we can roll up our sleeves together and get to work.
Eyes wide open
At Vista, we do our best to set the stage during the sales process so that we work “with” you to initiate and develop best practices. We like to think of our engagement with firms as a partnership much more than a dictatorship. We are partnering with a firm in hopes of bringing a new and different perspective, one honed after years of working in and with hundreds of contingency fee law firms. We’re unique in the industry because everything we do is custom. Therefore, our recommendations and fixes don’t translate word for word from firm to firm. We take the time to really get to know each of our client partners, understanding their firm on a cellular level and using that insight to guide and elevate them. We don’t do “cookie-cutter” approaches. We strongly believe that every firm is different, and every solution to a problem requires a unique approach that usually requires hard work. That’s not to say we don’t suggest best practices; we certainly do. But even best practices require implementation and often tweaking to fit your firm’s unique fingerprint.
In order to make changes inside the firm, we must work with the firm and its team. We need their buy-in, hard work, and perseverance during a time that we like to call “The Dip.” In Seth Godin’s words, “The dip is the long slow time between starting something new and mastering it. It is a dip in productivity that is actually a shortcut because it gets you where you want to go faster than any other path. This time is when most people are likely to quit, but those that push harder and manage to overcome the dip usually can accomplish their goals.”
We cannot implement changes without the firm’s help and commitment to staying on course during the dip. Staying power is succeeding power! Changes and improvements within a law firm require work and commitment on almost all occasions.
How Vista does it
Unlike some consultants who have a “one size fits all” approach to firm operations and processes, our work is 100% custom to your firm. We are fully aware that no two firms are alike, just like no two owners are alike. We focus on getting to know the firm, its unique mission and goals, and its processes intimately so that we can help them customize their approaches, integrate new technology, and determine how they want things done internally.
We always start with a deep, onsite firm assessment. This helps us to be able to better understand where the issues really are and where the areas for improvement lie. We think of this step in the journey as the information collection piece (discovery, if you will). We want to understand as much about your firm as possible. We survey the owner(s) and the team. We meet with team members onsite. We check out your building, get a feel for your culture, and ingrain ourselves into your current processes and stumbling blocks.
After that initial assessment, we are then able to provide very cogent steps to improve processes within the functional areas of the business. Firm processes like intake, case management, training, marketing, and accounting are some of the key areas on which we focus. Vista also works in the strategic area of the business, helping partners become aligned and working with their teams to understand what the goals of the firm are. The assessment ends with a candid report that includes a roadmap to success based on each firm’s unique circumstances. We put the roadmap in priority order so that the firm can gain early yardage and address the biggest, most pressing issues first. We give you the custom map and hope to be able to join you on the quest to complete it.
From there, we provide advice and guidance on how to best implement changes so they stick. Our aim is to share as much knowledge and insight as possible with each firm so they are empowered to create and implement lasting change on their own. We’re there to help you execute so that your new systems become a part of your culture. We work alongside you, providing tools, templates, and sometimes, what feels like therapy! And though this process may be difficult and require hard work, that’s ok — because at the end of the day, it will be worth it!
At Vista, we focus on providing long-term solutions that help firms succeed in the future. We understand and acknowledge that change requires work to make it happen, but hard work is worth it when it leads to success! We are here to provide guidance, knowledge, and expertise in order for you to bring out the best version of your firm possible.
We won’t sugarcoat it: our approach takes dedication, on our part and yours. You’ll always get that from Vista, and we expect it from each client with whom we work. I like the way Thomas Edison put it, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” In my opinion, you can replace the word opportunity with many other words in the business world, but I like success the best. Success is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
The letting go
How do you overcome the belief that pixie dust magically brings improvements? Simple: It’s a mindset you must fully embrace. As humans, we are almost always resistant to change. However, once embraced, we must put our heads down and do the work it takes to get the results we want.
I always love sports examples, so let’s talk about Michael Jordan for a minute. There is no doubt that Michael Jordan had talent and was an excellent athlete. But Michael Jordan did not just rely on his talent and some pixie dust to become one of the greatest of all time. He put in the work. Thousands of hours of training, practice, and focus to become the GOAT.
When it comes to making changes within your firm, you have to realize that there is no pixie dust that will make it all better. You must be willing to do the work and commit to the process!
Vista Consulting is here as a partner with you, and we are happy to provide the tools needed for success. We just need your commitment and dedication in order for us both to experience success together! No pixie dust required!