The mindset of a leader can affect an entire team and how they perform. This is especially true in law firms. In this episode of The Un-Billable Hour, host Christopher Anderson talks to Michael Mogill about the seven mindset habits that lawyers can use to run a more successful and cohesive law firm:
- Openness to change
- Openness to learn
- Set clear expectations
They go into detail about the strategies and benefits of each habit while also discussing the difference between a growth or fixed mindset.
Michael Mogill is the president and CEO of Crisp Video Group, a national legal video marketing company that produces high-quality and engaging legal videos for attorneys all over the country.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Answer1, Solo Practice University, and Scorpion.
The Un-Billable Hour
The Seven Mindset Habits for Law Firm Growth
Intro: Managing your law practice can be challenging. Marketing, time management, attracting clients, and all the things besides the cases that you need to do that aren’t billable. Welcome to this edition of The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast. This is where you will get the information you need from expert guests and host Christopher Anderson, here on Legal Talk Network.
Christopher Anderson: Welcome to The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast helping attorneys achieve more success. We are glad you can listen today on the Legal Talk Network.
And today’s episode is about you. Our title today is ‘The Seven Mindset Habits that lead to Law Firm Growth’, and my guest is Michael Mogill from Crisp Video Group.
I am your host Christopher Anderson and I am an attorney with a singular passion for helping other lawyers be more successful with their law firm businesses. My team at How to MANAGE a Small Law Firm and I work directly with lawyers across the country to help them achieve success as they define it.
In The Un-Billable Hour each month we explore an area important to growing revenues, giving you back more of your time and/or improving your professional satisfaction in one of the key areas of your business.
I start with the fundamental premise that a law firm business exists primarily to provide for the financial, personal and professional needs of you, its owner.
And in this program I have a chance and opportunity and a privilege to speak to you, as I do in presentations across the country, about what it takes to build and operate your law firm like the business that it is. I have a chance to introduce you to a new guest each month to talk about how to make that business work for you instead of the other way around.
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Today’s episode of The Un-Billable Hour is Seven Mindset Habits that lead to Law Firm Growth. You are the source of the creativity that will grow your business. You are also the source of the solutions to your business problems and the source of the power to find and convert the opportunities you see into benefits for your clients, your stakeholders and yourself.
But let’s be honest, here also the source of many of the problems in your business and how you approach all of this is largely defined by what is often summed up in the term Mindset.
My guest today is Michael Mogill. Michael is the Founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group. In his business where he helps lawyers around the countries showcase what they do to help their clients, Michael sees mindset at work, and has developed a list of traits that he sees associated with law firm growth.
So let’s get started with Seven Mindset Habits that lead to Law Firm Growth, and let’s introduce Michael.
Michael, welcome to The Un-Billable Hour.
Michael Mogill: Thank you for having me.
Christopher Anderson: It’s absolutely my pleasure. First of all, my introduction of you was really brief, because I’m really bad at introductions. You are the CEO of Crisp Video Group, could you just explain briefly what does your business do for law firm owners?
Michael Mogill: Absolutely, so Crisp Video, we work with law firms all over the country and essentially we help them with everything from their content strategy to actually producing video content and even implementing and marketing it.
But I think what’s unique about us is we really help attorneys differentiate themselves and really set themselves apart, really to articulate why someone should choose to hire them over another firm and really clearly articulate what their unique value proposition is, because we’ve realized that in very, very, very saturated markets the legal industry is super-competitive, there is no shortage of legal options being able to stand out and being able to be seen and seen as a human being ultimately in that fact that consumers do business with human beings and not as a commodity is very important when it comes to attracting better clients and cases.
Christopher Anderson: Right, because as we’ve learned it, I don’t want to get too much into marketing, but as we’ve learned in other ones, people do business generally speaking all things being equal with people they know, like and trust and this personifying the lawyer would really help.
Michael Mogill: Absolutely, and I think it’s realizing that people aren’t always just investing in legal services, they are ultimately investing in you.
So being able to clearly communicate your story, your why, why you do what you do, because if you could put yourself in a consumer’s position, when they are searching online, they are visiting multiple legal websites, everybody is saying that they provide aggressive representation and they are super lawyer and they have got a 05:08 rating.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Michael Mogill: It’s very difficult for consumers to discern who is good and who is bad, right?
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. They are very limited in their ability to do that. So it is about yourself and communicating and making yourself approachable, which leads us to the topic for today, which is all about you, and you have recently read, as I have, the fantastic book by Carol Dweck, called ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.’ And you then turned around and wrote a, what, I thought it was a really great blog post about the growth mindset that you entitled, ‘The Seven Mindset Habits of the Attorney Behind Today’s Fastest-Growing Law Firms.’
I want to go through that list of seven for our listeners, but before we do that I want to cover with you just like the two overarching mindset types that both of us learned from the book, that I think really speak volumes to the way lawyers can think about their business and think about their lives, and that is the Growth Mindset and the Fixed Mindset. And I certainly recommend by the way that our listeners read this book like nothing bad can come from reading this book, it is fantastically insightful for business, for raising kids, et cetera.
So let’s get into it, there is two mindsets in the book, Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset. Can you explain like what’s your understanding, first of all, what is the Fixed Mindset?
Michael Mogill: Yes. So, I mean, I guess to really cover this from the top, mindset is ultimately the belief that people have about the nature of talent and ability and when someone has a fixed mindset they see that things like intelligence, abilities, talent, that is unchangeable, that is something with you, you are born in a certain way and this is it, right? Whereas somebody with a growth mindset believes that those types of skills and talents can be developed, intelligence can be grown, and this is where actually you can extrapolate this and they did.
They have actually done multiple studies where they have not just on young children but also Fortune 500 companies and so on and found that even you have a fixed mindset you — like the way that you approach challenges and problems and even aspects of your business can be very resistant. It’s kind of the whole unfairness reactivity, blame, that kind of stuff, whereas when you have got a growth mindset you have got accountability and abundance and so on.
And I also want to say because I am sure every time I talk about mindset this comes up, and I promise this is not some like Kumbaya, the secret like if you think it, it will materialize itself to your life, but the reality is and what I found, and it was the reason why I wrote the blog post, we also did a webinar on it, was just that there is all of the things that you are approaching your business, the marketing strategies, the tactics, the business development, the operations, and those things are certainly very important, but it always comes back to mindset. I mean, you can learn all the different tactics that you can, but the mindset is like — and the mindset that you carry into that it ultimately will determine whether you are successful or not. And we find that the firms that are absolutely most successful carry a growth mindset.
Christopher Anderson: And do you find also that the mindset of the leader, of the owner of the business, whether it be fixed or whether it be growth and how they use that mindset to manage other people in the business, you find that that makes its way into the culture of the business and affects other people’s mindsets.
Michael Mogill: Absolutely, it’s top down. I think the mindset of the leader or the leadership team that percolates throughout the entire organization, I mean, I remember reading in the study did on Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies that employees with fixed mindset companies that were at an organization where the leadership had a fixed mindset, their employees took on fewer projects, they cut corners, they kept secrets from co-workers and employees, they just tended to not handle setbacks well.
And all of those companies where the leadership have carried a growth mindset, those guys they felt empowered and committed and those businesses significantly outperformed the ones with fixed mindsets.
Christopher Anderson: Sure, because I think especially in today’s world, I mean, I think there was a time when fixed mindsets were more common and therefore didn’t give a competitive disadvantage, but like in today’s — like one of the things that jumped out at me was the fear of failure that comes out of a fixed mindset.
If you believe I am who I am and I am what I am, then any failure means that I’m a failure, therefore I can’t ever exhibit failure. Therefore the best thing for me to do in this business is keep my head down which stalls businesses out.
Michael Mogill: Yeah.
Christopher Anderson: What’s the opposite of that, like how can the growth mindset really help people inside a business?
Michael Mogill: Well, it’s just realizing that, that the mind is malleable. If you look at it — I remember Carol Dweck when she talked about that five-year study they performed on school children, when they were just identifying various thought patterns that were indicative of success, and when children had this belief that they were either just born if they were born smart or if they were born dumb, right, and that’s just the way it was and this is the hand that they were dealt and this is the way their life is going to be, but when those children were taught that the mind is malleable, the students looked up. I remember there’s a quote where one said like, you mean I don’t have to be dumb and a fire was lit under him, right? I mean, imagine what a difference that can be across their entire lives, and it’s very much the same as a business owner.
If you believe that things just happen to you and it’s — that won’t work in my market and I just — I’m up against these huge law firms.
I’ll never be able to compete against because I can’t invest in marketing what they can. You just believe you’re screwed from the very beginning, then more than likely, you probably will be but I have seen, Chris, just as you have, in every single market, across every single practice area, even guys in South Dakota that are succeeding in spite of any barrier you would hear.
Christopher Anderson: Oh my gosh. Yeah, I mean, we’ve seen lawyers build million-plus, $2 million, $5 million practices in criminal law in rural Wyoming. Family law firms of multi-million dollar, single owner multi-million dollar law firms in Kennewick, Washington. I mean, yeah, the market like all the excuses about the markets not big enough, it’s too competitive, et cetera, et cetera, they are all just excuses because if the vast majority of the competition is no competition at all, if you just commit yourself to doing the things that you need to do.
One of the things I think that’s dangerous though like we’ve talked about fixed mindset, I can just see our listeners right now, they’re like sitting, they’re going like, am I fixed mindset or am I growth mindset, which one am I and of course I wanted that sounds like they’re saying growth is better. So am I growth and if I’m not, and here’s the great irony.
If I’m fixed mindset now I’m thinking that I’m fixed mindset and I’m a loser and I can’t get anything done. So one of the things that really jumped out of me is that we’re all both, right, we all of us walk around with growth and fixed mindset issues.
Michael Mogill: Absolutely and I’ll just tell you even through my experience, I think as you’re growing and scaling a business, you kind of I think the growth of a business is directly proportional to the mindset of the CEO. And as you’re going to that next level in terms of getting to the business to a certain point, 250,000 to 500,000 to a million, two million and beyond that like that mindset shifts, and the mindset that you have towards things has to grow, but it really starts with adjusting your mindset.
So things like, there was a time where I struggled with are we going to invest $100 a month in marketing like, wow, like I had to get over that and then I get over a thousand a month, I get over a hundred thousand a month. I mean, those were all mindset shifts. So it wasn’t something we were just born a certain way, I mean, I guess inherently it’s basically what we’re saying, is that you have to overcome those things, but if you really are thinking about that kind of stuff in that, I really need to develop and grow my mindset before I can really impact all these other aspects within my business, you’ll see what’s holding you back.
Christopher Anderson: Indeed. So, I mean, I see you — I’m on the road less than I used to be but anytime I’m out, I see you almost everywhere I go. So I know that you’re speaking with hundred probably thousands of lawyers a year from both sets of mindsets and in this blog post, you’ve basically written about how you’ve seen a pattern of what you’ve called mindset habits, that correlate well with that success.
What we’re going to do here is we’re going to take a break and we’re going to come back and I’m going to ask you about first of all the patterns that you’ve seen and what are these mindset habits? And then we’ll go through and figure out the seven mindset habits that you’ve observed for our listeners to begin to work on their mindsets because I think you described it really well as a mindset habit.
So we’ll come back from break and we’ll be talking about that. This is Christopher Anderson, I’m with Michael Mogill on The Un-Billable Hour.
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And we’re back on The Un-Billable Hour with Michael Mogill and we’re talking about mindset habits. In fact, we’re good about to talk about The Seven Mindset Habits That Lead to Law Firm Growth.
Before we went on the break, I’d observed that Michael meets thousands of lawyers out on the road every year and has observed these patterns of mindset habits that he’s correlated well with success. But so before we get into the list, Michael, can we just talk a little bit about what do you mean by mindset habits, because we were just talking about mindset as something about your beliefs. So what’s a mindset habit?
Michael Mogill: Yeah, I mean, this one is actually interesting because I looked and I really kind of stepped back and I took a look at all the firms at which we work with and I asked myself, well, why is it that a certain percentage of these guys are significantly outperforming the large majority. And it’s not because of the size of their firm, I mean, they are all solos in small firms, it’s not the market that they are in.
So I wanted to dig a little bit deeper and find out like what were the things that these guys were doing that was different from everybody else, because I mean, tactics and strategies and all those things considered, weren’t all that different and these were the ultimate mindset habits that developed. But I also took a look at even within our own business as we’ve grown and we’ve doubled year-over-year and Inc. 5000 all that stuff and really considered what are the things to be very intentional, what are the mindset habits are the things that we’re doing day in and day out and that leaders are doing day in and day out, that are contributing this kind of success.
So as we looked, I mean, across our clients to a several hundred law firms and looked at, okay, the top 20% what are they doing, it really built this list and together we also attributed what are the things that can be good indicators of whether this stuff is actually being done and what are some actionable ways to actually have these mindset habits and to actually start building upon them and so on.
Because it’s one thing for us to talk about them and say you either got it or you don’t, but it’s another thing to say, well, how can I develop that and how can I actually improve and so on, and there’s always a way.
Christopher Anderson: Right absolutely. So let’s learn about that so you listed in your blog post seven mindset habits that you found do correlate well with success. The first one that you listed was ambition. Can you talk to us about that?
Michael Mogill: Yeah, I mean with ambition this is one of those things where it’s a way of thinking and it’s also it’s interesting because there’s two ways to approach this, right? At its worst, you’re someone who sees your biggest growth and achievements as being in the past and you’re saying, we were a great firm ten years ago, it used to be so much better, things were phenomenal. We were crushing it.
But that’s always, it was always better before; whereas, when you’re at your best, you see that everything you’ve done in the past is preparation for much greater growth and achievement in the future. So everything that you’ve learned to this point now you’re ready to really take all that to the next level.
But another thing is just, it’s being able to take calculated risks and focus on execution. So I know that this is especially when we were talking with law firms and attorneys and when you hear the word “risk”, I mean, I think everyone gets nervous right off the bat, but it’s being able to learn from implementation and failure. And also it’s the belief that by not taking risks and not making those investments within your business that that’s an even greater impediment to growth.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, and I mean, I think this is a really key point that you bring up about risk and about failure and then this is right where the fixed mindset gets us into trouble because failures, we don’t learn by success, nobody learns by succeeding. You learn by failing, you didn’t learn how to ride a bike by jumping on it and successfully riding it. You learned how to ride a bike by jumping on it and falling.
But in particularly lawyers, I mean, lawyers you’re right, are risk-averse, we’re trained to be risk-averse, and I think what’s important here is that they separate the risk aversion that they have in how they manage their clients’ problems because they’re supposed to give the best possible advice you can. You don’t give risky advice, you give the best advice you can versus how they manage their business and the risks that are appropriate to take there.
Is that basically what you meant by the mindset habit of ambition?
Michael Mogill: Absolutely. It’s just believing that you have the ability just when you’re seeing another successful business owner and they’ve achieved some level of success, it’s believing that if they can do it, I can do it. If there is another firm in your market that is tremendously successful, if they have been able to pull that off, so can you. And it’s interesting because I was reading another book so ‘Principles’ by Ray Dalio; phenomenal book if anyone has not read that yet.
He talks about the shift that he had in terms of his mindset towards failure and that he wasn’t — he was no longer approaching it as a bug but more importantly as a feature in that like failures were very, very helpful to him in terms of learning experiences and in terms of him being able to master any sort of subject. And this is somebody who’s the founder of Bridgewater, but it’s probably one the world’s largest hedge funds, so very, very successful.
Christopher Anderson: Fantastic. Then the last thing you talked about, which I definitely don’t want to miss in talking about ambition, because you talked about belief, belief that you can succeed, willingness to fail on the way to succeeding. You’ve talked about if anybody else can do it, that means I definitely can do it. And quite honestly even if other people haven’t been able to do it, I can probably do it.
But the one thing I want to make sure because you talked about this in your article, I want to make sure people hear clearly is the other component is the desire to succeed, not just sort of it would be really nice if it happened but the desire to succeed being a key part of the mindset for ambition.
Michael Mogill: Absolutely, absolutely. And it’s also knowing that, okay, you can have this ambition. It doesn’t mean you’ve got this full confidence that everything is going to go perfectly, if that’s not the case at all. In fact, I mean, I think true courage is not just storming in with confidence. It’s being terrified but doing it anyway, right. I mean, that’s generally how it’s gone and I look back on my life experiences, as my family and I immigrating here, not speaking the language, not having — like I mean it was two parents, my brother and I and our grandparents with 500 bucks, starting over to be able to grow and build a business after all these years, I mean it’s just phenomenal.
So it really just does start with ambition and it’s the belief that you can do it and if you don’t have this belief or you’re still listening to this and you’re getting — there’s a lot of skepticism there, I think a lot of that really comes down to the people you surround yourself with because if you’re around a lot of guys that are also sharing that kind of mindset and that belief system of, well, this won’t work and like Uber and all this stuff, it’s just destroying our market and LegalZoom is totally messing everything up and that’s — those are the types of people you surround yourself with.
Well, that’s the minds that you’ll carry towards ambition as well, but if you’re around guys that do believe that they can disrupt the market, and they can ultimately grow, and improve their businesses, and they’re ultimately scaling, then you’re going to have much more ambition because you’re going to be surrounding yourself with people that share that.
Christopher Anderson: Excellent. Excellent. So I want to turn now to the next mindset habit that you talked about in your article and that was engagement. First of all, what do you mean by engagement.
Michael Mogill: So engagement I would define as the emotional and functional commitment that an individual has in their organization. So it’s basically and to put it simply, do you know what’s going on in your business like how in-tune are you with what’s going on in your business and not just like your numbers and metrics, because those are absolutely important but also what about the sentiment of your team members? And what about the sentiment of your clients, knowing what types of experiences they are having and so on, like can you keep the pulse of your business.
Christopher Anderson: Exactly. So that’s yeah, that’s what it means to be engaged, really do you know what’s going on? So why is this mindset habit really important to the success of the business?
Michael Mogill: Oh, well, I mean it’s just for so many components because if you’re a disconnected leader and you’re essentially – you are away somewhere, you don’t know what’s going on, I mean the inmates are running the asylum essentially, right. Your team is working with a lack of clarity, there’s uncertainty amongst employees and they don’t feel engaged and there’s no connection.
I mean, the prevailing theme I think across all these mindset habits is it’s always from the top down and that the engagement level of a leader or a CEO directly impacts the engagement level of his or her team. So when you are engaged in your business, you know your business, you know your numbers, you know what’s going on, you’ve got a great pulse on this and Dale Carnegie, I mean, they did a study I think on 1,500 employees dig in what creates this type of employee engagement, and they actually found that 71%, I believe 70-71% of all employees were not fully engaged.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, yeah and I guess just like with the ambition and just like with the growth mindset, we were talking about, it’s got to be a top-down thing, right, if the owner is disengaged, I don’t think you would probably end up with a very engaged staff and that can cause real problems.
Michael Mogill: Oh absolutely. I mean, it’s — and what does that mean because all these things, all these mindset habits I think you will find as we go through all of them, there’s the impact that it makes on you, but then there’s the impact that it makes on your team and then ultimately you bring all these things full circle, that makes an impact across the board on your business, and your financial health, and just your stress levels, your energy, all of those different factors, I mean, it all comes full circle.
Christopher Anderson: And you don’t mean to suggest it to be engaged in your business that you need to be in the trenches, working in the business side by side with everybody everyday, do you?
Michael Mogill: Absolutely not. So it doesn’t mean — and I will talk about one of the other later mindset that I don’t want to give that one away but it does not mean that you are in every meeting, answering every phone call, answering every email, it just simply means that you have set up the right systems and structures and processes, where you can keep the pulse on the metrics and data within your business like the five dials.
Like within our business, for example, I call them the five dials. It’s kind of at the analogy to like pilots, for example, like within a pilot’s cockpit, you’ve got a hundred dials, you can’t possibly keep track of every single one of those, but there are like five key dials and five key business indicators and metrics where if something’s off with one of those, then you know where to dig further.
So it’s one of those things where you don’t need to be in all the details by any means but you should have a way to be able to measure, are we succeeding, are we failing and if there is a problem that there’s a good process in place to ensure that there’s clear accountability.
Christopher Anderson: Perfect word for the segue to the next mindset habit, the next mindset habit that you wrote about in fact was in fact “accountability”. So just like I asked with engagement first of all before we launch into why accountability is important for the business and who we’re holding accountable, let’s just first of all talk about what do you mean by the word “accountability”?
Michael Mogill: So there’s a lot of definitions for “accountability”, and I love this word, I mean my team will hear me say this on a daily basis, probably it’s my most used word in my vocabulary, but essentially it’s clear commitments that in the eyes of others have been kept. So some people define it as doing the things you say you are going to do, but I think it’s important to really distinguish it in terms of when you’re talking about accountability and somebody is making a commitment, the way in which those commitments are made and executed upon.
Just as an example, if someone says, they are going to execute on a marketing strategy, right, and let’s say they do an email campaign, an email campaign goes off but it’s not — it’s not successful. In their mind they can say, well, I did send the e-mails technically right and I was accountable for sending the emails, but if were you were holding accountable was for our actual online marketing and the actual accountability, they’re tied to a metric that probably is tied to leads for example, then that’s not a clear commitment that in your mind would be kept.
So it’s very important that there’s full clarity over like how you’re measuring that accountability, what that means, it’s not just simply saying, well, here’s what you’re responsible for, it’s ultimately meaning here’s what you own.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, yeah, definitely exactly here’s what you own, and in fact, I’ve found it fantastic to push that a little bit farther in — I attended the Lean Startup conference, the past, a couple weeks ago and one of the accountabilities that they have is like, listen, okay, you weren’t responsible for sending out the emails, that’s nothing.
The fact that you sent out a thousand emails does nothing for this business. Leads are a good measure or at least learning, right, so leads as a measure might lead to sort of a fixed mindset because you got the same problem, okay, I got leads, they all sucked but I got leads. But what did you get and what did you learn would be a great accountability in that circumstance.
Michael Mogill: Right, absolutely. I was just going to say, I mean, it’s always, whatever you’re measuring somebody on should be some sort of indicator; ultimately that they control but ultimately something that’s not always tied to the final number. So we don’t say, okay, well what was – you are accountable for the revenue or you are accountable for this and many clients, whatever it is, but what are those leading indicators that lead to that ultimate result.
Christopher Anderson: And just like an ambition and engagement, how can a leader in a business use of mindset habit of accountability to demonstrate to their staff that accountability, how can they make sure that they are being held accountable to something as well?
Michael Mogill: Oh yeah, so this is a great one in the sense that for one you’ve got to have full clarity, only one person can really be accountable per item. So like if two people are accountable then really no one is accountable but accountability starts from the top and you really, again, if you want to hold other people accountable, you too have to be willing to be held accountable, and in my mind you get what you allow.
So if somebody is not following through on a commitment that they’ve made, you really do have to hold those types of people accountable. I mentioned sometimes like Randy Pausch in the last lecture he says that when you’re screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore that means they’ve given up on you. So one of the best ways to instill accountability is really just hold people accountable too.
Christopher Anderson: Excellent. All right, well, when we come back from break, we’re going to talk about the last four of the seven mindset habits that you talk about in your article. I’m on with Michael Mogill, talking about the seven mindset habits that lead to law firm growth. This is Christopher Anderson on The Un-Billable Hour and we’ll be right back.
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Christopher Anderson: And we are back with The Un-Billable Hour. I’ve got Michael Mogill of Crisp Video Group. We’re talking about seven mindset habits that lead to law firm growth and we’ve gone through the first three. We talked about ambition, engagement, and accountability. And now I’d like to ask you, Michael, you listed, I was sort of surprised by this one this, the next habit, I guess the fourth habit in our list here was respectfulness.
Respectfulness is a mindset habit, what do you mean by that?
Michael Mogill: Oh man, this one is so, so, so important, and at the Harvard Business Review they did a study on 20,000 employees around the world and they found that no other leader behavior actually had a bigger impact on employee engagement, and this really comes down to not just how you’re treating your employees but also how you’re treating your clients and vendors and really everybody around you and what a difference that can make in terms of the results that you get out of them. And actually the output that you get out of the people that you work with.
So this is such a huge, huge factor and I see people that just aren’t very mindful of this one. In the sense, it’s amazing the results you could get. I mean, I think and they were talking there is a lack of respect, there’s a lower focus and prioritization amongst employees, like 92% lower, lower job satisfaction, lower engagement and all that stuff. I mean all those types of things and there’s a lack of engagement and job satisfaction and there’s turnover, that’s expensive.
I mean, you invest all this money in hiring somebody and training somebody and they turn over, hiring somebody new is not just expensive from a financial standpoint but also the time cost and how that can prevent your business from growing. So this is such an important factor because building a great culture and building a great team, I mean, we have a huge focus in our business, and our culture, and core values. I define culture as this is how, I don’t know if I can bleep the word out, but like things get done around here.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, there is no FCC on podcast, you can say it.
Michael Mogill: Yeah, that’s how we define it. I mean, it’s basically how things get done. It doesn’t mean like necessarily scooters and ping pong tables and all that stuff, but Jack Welch, I mean, he is famous for saying like no company, large or small can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it, and if you are really looking to grow in scale, you have got to get full buy-in from your team.
Christopher Anderson: Absolutely. And part of respectfulness, I mean, you said it helps to drive their engagement, it keeps them together, keeps them focused on the mission, can you give like an example of a failure to show respect your team, like how would we see the negative of this?
Michael Mogill: Yeah. I mean absolutely. I think it’s when team members aren’t treated like they are contributors to the team, but I pay you X amount, you need to do this, this and this. When I see leaders this is, it still amazes me to this day, when I see leaders like yelling at team numbers, or just emotionally going off on team members, or just completely knocking them down and like all those types of factors. You have to really ask yourself like would you give your all for an employer who doesn’t respect you? I mean, think about like the level of effort that you would put in when you are treated like shit all day essentially and when you are treated as disposable like saying, oh yeah, everyone is replaceable, right, you are replaceable and when someone feels that way, I can promise you they are not going to be as engaged, and that’s going to also trickle down to how do you think those employees then speak with clients, and how do you think they handle phone calls. All of those things, I mean those are huge factors too.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, that’s got to show up. I mean the — how you treat your people, and I will just throw in there also just from my perspective, one of the greatest ways to show respect to your people that I have learned is about really understanding and taking the time to understand why they come to work for you. Actually taking the time I think, I was just reading ‘The Virgin Way’ by Branford. And it is really clear from how he writes and how important it is to just take the time to have a 10, 15, 20-minute actual real conversation about their job and about what brings them to work is a way of showing them respect.
Michael Mogill: Absolutely. I mean, it’s really getting down and really understanding what do they care about, what’s important to them, I mean, even if things outside of your business really getting to understand whether the challenge is, I mean I have met with many law team members where we just kind of break down their finances and I personally enjoy this stuff in terms of being able to help them, be able to pay down debts and student loans and things like that and really come up with a good game plan and that shows that you are really invested in them, and as a result they will be investing in you and the business. You can connect with them and they are going to not just perform better, but you’re also going to have a much better pulse on what’s going on in your business.
So I find that when you have got respect between the team and it’s not just between the leadership and the team members it’s also amongst the team members themselves that in itself really does increase the value of a company.
Christopher Anderson: Absolutely. All right, let’s move on to the next one so we get them all in during the podcast. Openness to change, you said that the next mindset habit that’s really important in the success of a business is that the leadership that the owner be open to change and not succumb to the — we have always done it this way fallacy. So talk a little bit about that, why is that a mindset habit?
Michael Mogill: Well, because I mean, if you look at the downside of this, on the other side, I mean there is a couple companies like Blockbuster and BlackBerry and where are they today?
Christopher Anderson: Who?
Michael Mogill: I mean, yeah right. I mean it’s funny like the CEO of Blockbuster, I remember he down the opportunity to buy Netflix in 2000, because he thought that it was an irrelevant niche market. I mean, isn’t that just unbelievable here listening that?
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Michael Mogill: The same thing with BlackBerry. I mean they once represented I think 50% of smartphone sales, now they have got less than 0.03%, simply because they failed to adapt to like touch-screen design and like the whole app revolution.
So change is always happening, I mean that the marketplace is always evolving, and as a result I think your mind needs too as well. When you have got a fixed mindset and you are not open to this stuff, and you are saying, oh, we’ve always done it this way so we’re not going to do X so we’re not going to try this, not only does that just limit opportunity but it’s a great way to go out of business, I mean, it’s a phenomenal way actually to go out of business.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Michael Mogill: The other thing that’s probably less obvious is that I’ve seen in leaders of successful companies they can fall victim to the fact that when they have experienced a certain level of success they continue repeating those same actions that kind of brought about the initial success long after it stopped working.
So like they will continue to do the billboards and radio ads, and so on, and because it worked 10 years ago, while everybody else is shifting towards something else and again, it’s just — it’s believing you can continue to do the same things and the same old thinking that that ultimately is going to lead to the same old results.
Christopher Anderson: That’s right, yeah.
Michael Mogill: That’s what built this firm.
Christopher Anderson: I said to you, you hear that, you just hear that. And I said Branford before, Rich, it was Richard Branson, I am going to cite “The Virgin Way” again, because there was a quote from there that really stuck with me that hits this one, which was, “If it ain’t broke, break it”, and that’s how he has built his empire of brands, and I think that’s a really great way to think about it, which I think leads us right into openness to change means openness to learn, and you have listed learning as another mindset habit, A Habit of Learning. What do you mean by that and what is it to have a habit of learning and why is that an important mindset?
Michael Mogill: Yeah, I think it’s just — it’s always it’s having a thirst for knowledge, I mean it’s one, it’s surrounding yourself with other great thinkers, other people that execute on their own advice. I mean reading and researching and asking questions, it’s staying on top of emerging trends and technology.
And look, I get it, if you went to school for law school to be a lawyer, but you’re thinking, well, why should I learn marketing or why should I learn business management and finance and all that kind of stuff, and the reality is, so you can think more strategically and also so you can avoid potential blind spots.
I can tell you, I speak with countless firms that they are not as successful as they once used to be and they tell me like every year their revenue is going down and they are losing cases and they can’t even tell you why, and that to me is just terrifying.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Michael Mogill: So when we talk about blind spots like you don’t know what you don’t know, and if you’re not open to change and if you’re not a lifelong learner you can put your business in this so-called I guess prison of mediocrity, and ways to potential.
So really encouraging a culture of learning and not just for yourself but also amongst your team. It is very, very important. I mean, you and I we have cited countless books throughout this podcast that we are reading. I mean it’s always staying on top of that and it’s amazing, it’s believing that wow, I have this thirst for learning more and really considering how other people think and other successful thinkers and other successful business owners and CEOs, I mean they have got something to figure out that perhaps I do not, so I do want to learn from them.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, it’s fun, right? When you are learning you are alive and if you’re not learning, you know what somebody else and they are going to eat a lunch. I mean I think it’s plainly that clear. So let me just move on to the last one of the seven mindset habits that you listed, and that is to set clear expectations.
And I think we have alluded to this one throughout, but I think this is one that you really want to seize on. What does it mean for you to set clear expectations?
Michael Mogill: So setting clear expectations, this is so important because if you don’t have clear communication and full clarity I think the research has shown that more than 50% of managers they don’t set clear employee goals and expectations and what happens if you don’t define your goals, I mean, how can you expect for your team members to achieve them, your vendors to achieve them, partners and so on, and it’s interesting as we kind of head into the end of the year as people are kind of just saying that 2018 is going to be a great year, we are going to grow by x amount, and all these things.
And I have asked a couple CEOs and I will say, well, okay, that’s amazing. Like what’s — do you have a plan to get there, and like, well, no, not yet. And then I’ll say, okay, well, it sounds like the odds of that happening are actually outstanding. I mean, no plan and you’re just going to grow by 50%. So you got it, clarity is just crucial, I mean it’s crucial for consistent positive results.
Christopher Anderson: And I think it’s a great one to end on because in a sense to me setting clear expectations circles all the way back to the beginning, back to the beginning of understanding and believing that you can, that if they can do it I can do it, and about having that ambition, that hard work and the desire to succeed — you can’t succeed if you don’t know what success means. If you don’t have the desire to reach a certain goal, how can you know if you’ve gotten there, and setting clear expectations kind of closes that circle from my perspective. Is that how you see it?
Michael Mogill: Absolutely, and it’s got to be — when we talk about clarity it’s got to be very specific and measurable. I mean, just as you wouldn’t say, I am going to lose weight next year, I mean, you say, okay, well, how many pounds, and in what timeframe and then what are you going to do to achieve it, and it’s the same thing with business goals. Whenever I go into any new initiative and I’m outlining this for our team, there is always the purpose of it, the importance of it, what is the actual ideal outcome, what does the completed project look like, what are the success criteria like what has to be true when this is finished, like what are the deadlines, who’s accountable for what.
And when I write all this stuff out before we go into it, it’s much easier for me to evaluate, are we on track or not and when I’m meeting with one of my team members I can actually check off and say, okay, let’s check off all that success criteria to ensure that that’s done, not to mention they have got a blueprint for exactly what I’m looking for before they even go into it.
Christopher Anderson: Right, so they knew how to succeed as well and they can meet their own ambitions. Fantastic. Michael, thank you so very much. That wraps up this edition of The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Business Advisory Podcast.
Our guest today has been Michael Mogill, and you can learn more about him and about Crisp Video at HYPERLINK “http://www.crispvideo.com” www.crispvideo.com. His Twitter account is @mmogill and he is also on LinkedIn @Mogill, and Twitter was @mmogill.
And this of course is Christopher Anderson and I look forward to seeing you next month with another great guest as we learn more about topics that help us build the law firm business that works for you.
Remember, you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com or on iTunes. Thanks for joining us and we will see you again soon.
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