When Firm Culture Gets In the Way of Firm Success: How to Overcome the Stumbling Blocks

Denise NixThank you to guest blogger Denise Nix, Marketing and Business Development Manager at Glaser Weil, for providing her insights into “When Firm Culture Gets In the Way of Firm Success: How to Overcome the Stumbling Blocks” from the recent Legal Marketing Association annual conference.”


Realizing that no marketing or business development strategy will work in a culture that isn’t ready for it, moderator David Ackert led the panelists and audience in an interactive discussion on firm cultures. David defined organizational culture as the behavior of humans in the organization and the meanings they attach to their actions.

A poll of the audience showed that most marketing/BD professionals in attendance rate their firms’ cultures as somewhere between “meh” and “toxic.” The panelists agreed there are ways these professionals can improve their firms’ cultures.

LMA Culture Panel

l to r: Maureen Flanagan, Joe Calve, Jay Wager, Liz Cerasuolo, David Ackert. Photo courtesy of Denise Nix.

Liz Cerasuolo, director of communications at Fish & Richardson, said culture will change organically with new people, clients and practices. But real change starts with the firm’s leadership. She advised to be a “catalyst” to start change . Start small, develop strategic alliances and share ownership of successes, she added.

Joe Calve, the chief marketing officer at Morrison & Foerster, said storytelling and language are powerful tools for change. As an example, he noted how changing the word from firm “management” to “leadership” creates a different feeling – and, thus, a different culture. He said he also evoked change by sharing the firm’s stories internally to create a culture of pride in, and knowledge about, the firm.

Maureen Flanagan, senior business development manager at Day Pitney, said to attach yourself to the young and current leaders of the firm. Make sure their initiatives are executed and followed up on. By aligning yourself with the leaders, she explained, you’re in position to create change.

Jay T. Wager, director of business development at Edwards Wildman Palmer, said culture change can begin with the firm’s mission statement. To change it, he shopped options around to small groups within the firm. He received honest feedback and buy-in with this strategy. But before you begin to make change, he said you should take stock of what the current culture is – only going forward after knowing what it is – and what it’s not.

Heading to Orlando for LMA? How’s the SWAG?

Well, it’s that time of year. The legal marketing community is headed off to the Legal Marketing Association’s annual conference. The conferences keep getting bigger and better. Pretty soon we’ll be saying goodbye to conference hotels, and hello convention centers.

A few things to note:

  1. Whether or not you are attending the conference, or have a Twitter account, the hashtag to follow is #LMA14.
  2. I am still looking for anyone who would like to help blog on sessions. Just send me a message on Twitter @heather_morse.
  3. I know EVERYONE reading this will be in my session on Generational Marketing with Jonathan Fitzgarrald on Thursday. It’s a competitive time slot, so I will forgive you if you attend any of the other sessions. Especially if you write a recap for this blog. LMA Session
  4. Don’t just bring your business cards. Immediately connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Half the conference is about networking and building relationships. Don’t miss out on that.
  5. Start making your connections now. The conversation and connections have already begun on Twitter.
  6. The LMA Technology Committee will have a couple tables set up at the Friday Networking Lunch. I’ll be there, along with my co-chair, Laura Toledo. Stop by and say hi. We’ll even buy you lunch :D.
  7. Wear comfortable shoes.
  8. Oh, and rumor has it that a group of us are staying over on Friday to get our social time in with friends. You’re welcome to join us.

I’ll see you at the kick-off reception Wednesday night. Looking forward to the #Swag and Passport to Prizes.

 

Session Recap: Generational Marketing (video)

Thanks to the folks at Spark Media Solutions for doing a great round of post-session interviews after our presentation, Generational Marketing: Strategies and tactics for engagement with Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials.They really picked up on the main themes of our session, and provides a great recap of our session.

Jonathan Fitzgarrald and I appreciate the feedback we received, and look forward to presenting next week in Orlando at the Legal Marketing Association’s annual conference.

Harvard’s Disruptive Innovation Conference Videos

I love disrupting things. From a recent assessment I did for a leadership program (I’ll blog on that soon), my natural traits include having a very high tolerance to conflict, which they defined as challenging the status quo.

So I was incredibly excited to hear about Harvard Law School’s Disruptive Innovation in the Market for Legal Services conference.

Sadly, I could not attend live, in person or as it streamed.

I can, however, watch the four videos at my leisure, and you can as well.

Panel 1: The Nature of Disruptive Innovation in Professional Services

Panel 2: The Role of Regulation

Continue reading

Is live-Tweeting overrated?

Is live-Tweeting overrated?

That’s the question my friend Ben Greenzweig, Momentum Event Group, asked the LME group this morning. And, with multiple people live-tweeting the same sessions at a conference, I can understand why he’s raised the question.

Not too shockingly, many of us have an opinion, and a conversation has begun so head over to the Facebook group to participate fully.

I think many people look at Twitter as a disruptor or distracting from the speaker, as opposed to a tool. They find it rude that someone is tap, tap, tapping away and not listening.

I’ll argue that those people 1) have never tried it, and 2) are not following the conversations on Twitter.

So what are those of us who live-tweet getting out of it?

LMA president Tim Corcoran‘s reasons began as personal, and then evolved:

When I began tweeting from events. It wasn’t to serve the masses or generate a following, it was a convenient way to take permanent notes. The short tweets mirrored what I had been capturing, with my head down, on my notepad for years. I tend now to tweet things others may also find interesting and in return I hope others do the same for events I cannot attend live.*

My answer, obviously, is no. I don’t find it to be overrated.

In addition to being how I take my notes, I find I am more engaged when I am tweeting. Meeting new people. And usually end up meeting the speakers (if they check the twitter feed) and having deeper conversations on the topic.

As a conference organizer, live-tweeting, to me, is not just about today’s event, but it is a marketing opportunity for the next event.

With an active and engaged Twitterverse the energy carries on for days, and not just about the sessions, but about the networking. From your computer you are seeing people connect and engage, as well as highlighting the educational opportunities. From your desktop or mobile device, you can’t help but realize that you are missing out on something.

As a speaker I find it to be an immediate feedback tool:

It’s also an honest/live evaluation. No tweets. They found you boring and with nothing to say. If you suck they will say so. Lots of tweets = good information to pass along.

As a moderator I am able to engage the audience, both live and online, during the Q&A, and also to help me pose a question to the panel during the session:

As a moderator, or panelist, I watch the Twitter feed. Great way to manage questions from the audience. And I always try and pull one from the Twitterverse.

But a conversation is no fun without a debate. John Byrne, co-chair of the 2014 LMA Annual Conference, challenges us as conference attendees:

… whatever happened to an audience member simply raising his/her hand to ask a question? If you’re “virtually” attending, then Twitter is a great way to engage speakers (and maybe the only way). But if you’re in the room, then participate the old-fashioned way. It’s just better and, I daresay, more respectful. And even potentially more disruptive than any other way.

As a moderator, you need to do both.

But when 8 hands go up, the moderator has no control over what those people might ask. This way, your question rises up out of the crowd.

And, let’s face it, how many times has a “question” turned into someone wanting to be the fourth panelist?

Ann Lee Gibson, a leading consultant to law firms and legal marketers, also touches on human nature, and how Twitter is a great buffer:

… adult education research addresses that and related questions. Webinars used in distance-learning have been found to elicit more questions from adults (young or old ones) than classroom IRL does. For various reasons, e.g., feeling intimidated, shy, or “stupid,” or fear of group politics and peer or teacher reprisals, personality typing, etc. many simply won’t ask their questions or volunteer much IRL. Fact of life.

Personally, I have found my conference experience so much more rewarding since the advent of Twitter. Who can forget my brilliant post recapping the 2010 LMA Annual Conference, Me, Twitter, LMA and Laura (Gutierrez) Toledo? It’s still true today.

Social media made my conference. I was part of a community within a community via Twitter. In 140 characters or less, I was connecting with people I really didn’t know too well. We were having a “conference within a conference” and we were growing as the hours went by. The absolutely incredible part is that the Twitter community wasn’t limited to those in Denver, people were joining in from their desktops across cyberspace.

I think the best thing a conference organizer can do is use social media to capture and engage attendees. By doing so, you introduce people, and provide them a platform to engage. They in turn engage their followers, creating more opportunities – via the conference CONTENT – for conversations.

So a few tips for those live-tweeting:

  1. Let the speaker know that you are live-tweeting prior to the program beginning.
  2. Use the conference hashtag on every tweet.
  3. Sit at the blogger/social media table (if provided). Or to the side as to not distract the speakers.
  4. Follow the conference hashtag while tweeting, retweeting or commenting on other perspectives.
  5. Take the time to follow everyone who is using and engaging with the conference hashtag. You are networking, here.
  6. Don’t use this time to battle with trolls, or bash speakers.
  7. Use this time to provide thanks and praise.
  8. If the stream is full, bow out and let others lead. Retweet their content, or take the opportunity to write a short blog post instead.

So, we’ll see you at #LMA14 in a few weeks, live and local in Orlando or on Twitter. And please join us over on the conference LinkedIn group as well.

* All quotes with permission from the Legal Marketers Extraordinaire Group on Facebook.

Justin Bieber. Really?? Think before you link bait.

Swiping through my reader this morning on the train, and I was just shaking my head over the legal blog after legal blog after legal blog going on and on about Justin Bieber’s deposition.

It’s just link bait.

link·bait
ˈliNGkˌbāt/
noun
noun: link bait
  1. (on a website) content designed to attract attention and encourage those viewing it to create hyperlinks to the site, with the aim of improving the site’s position on the list of results returned by a search engine.
    “at first, he tried creating linkbait to get his site noticed”

 

Sure, I expect to see it on TMZ or Above the Law. But some of the bloggers blogging on JB are legitimate legal bloggers, not a legal gossip site (which I read, along with TMZ, every day, so not a slam at the ATL folks at all).

Other than link bait, I cannot see the connection.

I’m not bashing link baiting. I do it all the time. I have one post that many years later still gets hits because of the link bait.

I also have no regrets about link baiting to a story to gain the attention of the author or publication.

However, when I do link bait, I do so with a purpose, but hopefully with some integrity. I am usually linking to a:

  • legitimate story of the day.
  • story that fits within the theme of my blog.
  • topic that my readers will actually want to read.

I will admit, that when I am link baiting, I try to be honest about it with my readers (unlike Ellen’s product placement selfie during the Oscars). I figure I owe all of you reading this just that.

And, there are times, that I want to link to a popular story of the day, but I have to find the perfect story angle so that I can do so with integrity. I need to make the story part of my voice and the voice of this blog, my brand, so to speak. And, thereby, not insult my readers.

So, yeah. This post is a prime example of how I use link bait so that I can bring myself and my blog into a story of the day, without compromising myself, or you.

Photo courtesy of Flickr | Anita Pratanti

Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe – The Indictment

20140306-120932.jpg Well, the fall out from the Dewey implosion and bankruptcy has take a new turn with a 62-page indictment of senior partners and staff members, including a conspiracy charge worthy of John Grisham (ht Kathleen Pearson for that line).

Attached is the indictment. Will take more than just a cup of coffee to read through this.

ETA: sorry. Blogging from iPad and posted too fast. Trying to load. Stay tuned.

Here’s the link to the indictment:

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/20140306deweyindictment.pdf

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