Interesting US/UK Legal Business Comparison

What comes of reading your emails over the holiday! The ABA compares approaches on both sides of the Atlantic to legal business reform, and highlights two US players (Legalzoom and Jacoby & Meyers) planning to hit the UK. Is the ABS ahead of the game, and will the USA follow?

Link here.


Is Being a Perfectionist Perfect?

Some people really are perfectionists. It is not necessarily an easy life. For one thing it can be very stressful, both in the amount of work involved and in the reaction to not achieving perfection. They can feel overwhelmed.

Should I ever have brain surgery, I am rather keen on a surgeon who is a perfectionist. The result is of the greatest importance. Perfection though is not always necessary, nor even desirable.

Take the chef who insists on the finest and most exotic ingredients for every dish, and for each dish to be unique. That may take the food outside the price range of the restaurant, and the time involved in preparation may limit the number of customers served. More importantly, it may not be what customers want. Steak and chips can be a valid preference, and quality then consists of delivering that well.

If you are a perfectionist, it is worth working out when “good enough” is good enough, particularly in relation to what your audience requires. Finding out what your boss and/or your clients require is a good start. Tailor your actions accordingly. None of this of course justifies sloppiness, but instead a commitment to delivering the quality that is appropriate.



Persons from Porlock

When you are concentrating, interruptions break the flow. Think of Samuel Taylor Coleridge who woke one morning with the poem Kubla Khan complete in his mind. Part way through writing it out a Person from Porlock knocked on the door and broke his concentration. As a result, the work was never finished, and it remains the most famous half-a-poem in the English language.

The problem has become worse over recent years, with open plan offices, direct dialling,  email, and the disappearance of the secretary-as-gatekeeper.

Most of us grudgingly accept interruptions by clients, not always with good grace, but are irritated by our colleagues. We forget that it may be part of our job to be available to colleagues, for instance providing guidance to more junior staff.

Here are some ways of creating blocks of time to enable you to get things done.

Signal that you are engaged. If you cannot shut the office door find another way. At Asda’s open plan head office, that used involve¬†wearing a red baseball cap.

Divert you phone to someone who can take a message (and interrupt if really necessary) or failing that to voicemail. Return calls as soon as you are free. Do not check your emails during the block of time you are creating.

Manage expectations and set boundaries. If you are at your most productive in the morning, let your staff know that you are available after lunch. And if someone is collecting for Doris’s leaving present, send them away until your “availability period”. Client expectations can also be managed: tell them the best time to get hold of you, or tell them who else in the team can give them an update. Better still, get in first with an update, which leaves you with a happy client as well as allowing you to choose your own time.

Get this right, and you will be more in control, more productive and less stressed. The sense of overwhelm will be reduced, and there should be a knock on effect of happier clients and staff. And who knows, you may get to spend more quality time with the children.

As ever, if we can help you work through these issues, get in touch.