Michael Mogill is the president and CEO of Crisp Video Group, a national legal video marketing company that produces...
Christopher T. Anderson has authored numerous articles and speaks on a wide range of topics, including law firm management,...
Christopher Anderson’s guest Michael Mogill distinguishes between two types of business leaders: those who believe they’re stuck with the hand they’re dealt and those who think they can learn and develop talent and skills.
This fixed vs. growth mindset is especially critical for leaders to understand now. Fears and uncertainty paralyze competitors with a fixed mindset. And those with growth mindsets are doubling down on training, investment, and talent development. This shift in thinking will better position growth-mindset leaders to weather this crisis and come out ahead.
Mogill says that while some law firm leaders are slashing budgets and laying off staff, others are focusing energy on improving relationships with clients and investing in their businesses in strategic ways. Those with the growth mindset have accepted the reality of the situation and current business climate and have shifted their focus on what they can control.
Michael Mogill is founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group.
The Un-Billable Hour
Fixed vs. Growth Mindset and the Effect of Leading Your Team to 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’ll 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’re glad you can listen today on Legal Talk Network. Today’s episode is about you. As you know we sometimes talk about marketing or sales or physical plan or hiring and firing or financials, but once in a while we come back around and talk about you. Really quite honestly, this is a really good time to be talking about you. It’s been a theme of the show that since its inception for the past seven plus years that the legal landscape is changing and it has been and it will continue to. But now with the national economic shutdown in response to COVID and the changes that are occurring in
the legal industry and then the coming recovery and what that’s going to look like, the
change is accelerating really to light speed and then it’s changing again, and I think it’s just a really important time to come back and focus on you because you have the power to
direct your law firm through these turbulent waters, or be swept away with the current.
So our title today is “Fixed versus growth mindset and the effect of leading your team to growth” and my guest perfect for this topic is Michael Mogill. Michael is founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group. He’s helped attorneys from solo and small firms to even large practices
differentiate themselves from competitors and earn millions in new revenue. His company has been named to the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest growing companies and been awarded the best places to work. Michael is everywhere. He’s a sought-after speaker. I see him on stages all over the country at national conferences, et cetera and he’s always talking about innovative ways to really create exponential growth for law firm businesses. He’s been featured in Forbes, on Avvo, in ABA Journal, in The Trial Lawyer, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal and many, many more places. So really excited to have Michael on the program.
Of course I am your host, Christopher Anderson and I’m an attorney with a singular passion, for helping other lawyers achieve success with their law firm businesses. In The-Unbillable Hour, each month we explore an area important to help you be a more profitable lawyer by growing your revenues, getting back more of your time and getting more professional satisfaction from your business. This show is dedicated to bring you guests each month to help you learn more about how to make your law firm business work for you instead of the other way around.
And before we get started I do want to say a thank you to our sponsors, Alert Communications Scorpion and Lawclerk. Thank you to each for giving us the opportunity to spend this time together.
Alert Communications, if any law firm is looking for call intake or retainer services available 24/7/365, just call (866) 827-5568.
Scorpion is a leading provider of marketing solutions for the legal industry. With nearly 20 years of experience serving attorneys, Scorpion can help grow your practice. Learn more at
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All right today’s episode again is, “Fixed versus growth mindset and the effect of leading your
team to growth” and my guest is Michael Mogill. He’s the founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group. Michael welcome to The Un-Billable Hour.
Michael Mogill: Thank you for having me.
Christopher Anderson: It’s absolutely my pleasure. So and in our tradition, my introduction was relatively brief. So I’d like to just before we get started with the topic which I’m excited to get into, just to ask you a little bit about your company and really what brought you because you’re the CEO of Crisp Video Group, that doesn’t necessarily say, “Oh, this guy is a guy who should be talking about growth and mindset.” So what leads you to like to talk about this topic and how does your business inform this topic for you?
Michael Mogill: Yeah, so this is one of those things where it’s almost like a personal evolution that I even experience at our business. I mean when we started the company I’m someone who started with $500 to my name, bootstrap company, no loans, no investors. This was back
in 2012 and during that time, kind of going through that journey of everything that was necessary to build the business to grow the team from hiring our first team member, now to
over 70, from our first client to — as that expanded year-over-year, all those different challenges I used to believe that (1) if you had a good product that would be enough, that was the first thought. And then we did very early on, but yet I saw several other organizations out there that also had good products and consumers who really weren’t even able to either differentiate or if you weren’t visible or you’re the best kept secret, it’s very difficult to hire you.
So it went from the content side to the marketing aspect to include that because at the time also, a lot of this came out of — we were working with law firms and we produced these great videos, but then when it came to actually getting them up on their website, making sure that those videos got in front of their ideal clients, many firms just didn’t really know how to implement them and how to leverage them. So we figured, “Okay, well this is a
huge pain point, why don’t we just become really good at this and then start offering this as a service?” And then the next natural kind of expansion of that was that you get really great at marketing and placing content, but you find that marketing is something that clearly we believe is very important, but great marketing doesn’t make up for bad business and
meaning that if the business isn’t efficient, if the intake isn’t being done properly, if the people within the organization aren’t aligned, there’s cultural issues, there aren’t processes and
systems — all these different things are going to impact the ROI, the return on investment of any marketing that you do. So I think through that evolution, I saw it with our own business and as we were growing, so we doubled year-over-year like 200% growth year-over-year, eight years in a row.
Over the last three, I think we grew by a little over 1000% and people say that — I guess sometimes from the outside looking into like, “Wow, that’s amazing” but I can tell you firsthand as someone who was inside during that whole time, that’s a crazy period of time.
Like that is 1000% growth in three years as an example, when you look at that in the inside, that you grow 10 times. So everything from expanding as a team to having to leverage new technology and putting new systems and processes, and also expanding clients, like all these things happening at the exact same time is pretty chaotic at times. If you don’t have a good plan for approaching this and at the time, we’re learning as this was happening, that I realize, “Okay, one, I love this.” I have this deep-seated passion for just obviously growing a business, but then I also saw through this experience looking back, I wish that I had known a lot of things that I had to learn very slowly, very painfully. I wish I had some guidance on that very early on.
Christopher Anderson: Right.
Michael Mogill: Because I learned the slowest way possible which is just through sheer experience and failure. The interesting thing isn’t in speaking with a number of just business owners, law firm owners. It’s amazing where if you don’t really understand the cause and effect behind things as a business leader in terms of — if you don’t really know how to hire great people and how to vet them, if you don’t really understand the dynamics between what leads to accountability versus what does not, how to basically do things efficiently, how to have great systems and process, if you don’t know those things, you’re going to have a very stressful and quite miserable existence. It’s just not enjoyable, but once you see the matrix in a way, so like once you’ve learned these things, it’s quite fun to be honest.
Christopher Anderson: What’s wrong with all these law firm owners? Like why didn’t they take this law firm growth in law school like they should have?
Michael Mogill: Yeah, no kidding, right? Well you know perhaps, I wrote kind of a whole book about this in the sense that, the view of the noble profession versus the business and sometimes the business aspect is demonized. But I’ve always believed that there’s nothing wrong with providing a great service, taking care of your team, your family, your clients, your community, all those different things, and quite frankly they’re also good
business decisions. Like providing a great client experience is a good business decision.
Christopher Anderson: Absolutely.
Michael Mogill: So I guess looking at all these, all these probably stems to an extent of wanting to help others avoid suffering, just because when you’ve gone through it, you see, “Oh wow.” Like I’ll give you an example. In 2013 or ‘14, so I was gritting it out for a really long period of time and I think grit will take you to a certain point.
Christopher Anderson: Right.
Michael Mogill: Like you’ll grow, but at the same time it’s very difficult to scale it well beyond that because you can only work so hard.
Christopher Anderson: That’s right. Yeah you can’t 10X your business on grit, right? Because most entrepreneurs, even at the early stages are working 50, 60, 80-hour weeks. You can’t 10X that.
Michael Mogill: Yes, but I didn’t know any of this. So at the time you look at let’s say 2013, 2014 or so, so I didn’t realize. I didn’t really know why I was so frustrated and then this amazing human came along into my life was my wife and she herself, she had a consulting background. I asked her to step into the business for 30 days just to put in some systems and processes — in 30 days is now stretched to over seven years. So obviously we’re still together, but she was for those that follow, EOS or Traction or read the book Rocket Fuel, she was the integrator that I never knew that I needed. And that person, essentially having her freed me up to do the things that I was very good at and it also — I mean we revamped
everything. She was the person that laid the foundation for the systems and processes, everything from a cultural shift, all those different things, that with her help, that’s what I believe was really the catalyst to a lot of that growth, but I didn’t know at the time what I didn’t know. So now knowing it and when you when you work with so many law firms — I mean at this point, we work nearly a thousand of them and you see the ones that are like the fastest growing, the most successful, the most like engaged and the happiest versus the ones that are just miserable and plateauing and you can very clearly see certain trends and
identify those things.
And if they’re making different decisions, there’s nothing really that’s preventing one law from seeing the same success as another law firm regardless of market area, practice area, all those different things, they’re just making different choices.
Christopher Anderson: And those choices come from somewhere and that is where I wanted to go with this next. I mean we call sort of the source of these choices an individual’s mindset, right? Because the mindset enables or empowers certain decision making and diminishes or reduces the capability for other decision-making either good decisions, bad decisions or at least decisions that are aligned. One of the things I wanted to ask you about that you talk about — because you’re talking about growth, right? You’re talking about 1000% growth. You also talk about fixed versus growth mindset and I’m sure that you would agree that probably
the growth mindset is the mindset from which decision-making that enables that growth comes from. But can you just for the listeners, let’s start with like what is the difference? What is it like to have fixed mindset or growth mindset? How does one know which mindset they tend to occupy?
Michael Mogill: Yeah, so this is interesting. So the idea fixed mindset or growth mindset, this originally originated from a researcher at Stanford University by the name of Carol Dweck. So she actually wrote a book by the name of Mindset and essentially the idea is that if you’ve got a fixed mindset, you believe that essentially you are the way you are, your intelligence,
talents, capabilities, all those things are fixed and you have to play the hand that you’re dealt versus somebody with a growth mindset that believes that those skills and talents can be developed, that you can develop new capabilities, that intelligence is not fixed. And what’s interesting about this and they did studies of both like school children and then also like Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 CEOs and they found that with the school children, if they were of the belief that they had a fixed mindset versus let’s say you compared it to another set of children that were then actually taught that the mind was malleable, that you can develop
intelligence, that you can develop capabilities — the schoolchildren with the growth mindset performed better in school. They received better grades and then they followed them throughout their life and they actually became more successful as a result. And these were kids that were all from the same school district, like they have similar backgrounds, similar upbringing, all these different things. They viewed the world two different ways, that was it.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. And you see it, right? In talking with children or the way that some business leaders, law firm owners talk about themselves or talk with children is, “You are smart or you did something smart, right?” And it’s just that very subtle, but hugely important difference. You are successful or you did something that led to your success. One is something you can change, the other one you either are you aren’t, right?
So what I want to do here Michael, we’re going to take a moment to hear from our sponsors because they like to be heard from. And when we come back, I’m going to ask you to then talk about — because I think we’ve made it pretty clear which mindset we think will lead better to law firm growth, so there’s no subtlety there. But I want to talk about like really the time that we’re facing right now. When we’re recording this, we’re still in the early stages of lockdown and COVID-19 and all law firms or most law firm owners have gone home and taken their teams remote. And some law firms are failing and some law firms are succeeding. So I want to talk about how each mindset can play into this new world when we get back.
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Christopher Anderson: And welcome back. I’m speaking today with Michael Mogill. He’s the founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group. We’ve been talking about growth versus fixed mindset and the difference between that and I told Michael that we would now kind of apply that to these — times they are changing and they’re changing fast. So Michael, I don’t think it’s a surprise that you think that the growth mindset would be best suited to this time for law firm
owners, but how? Like what does a growth mindset do to enable law firm owners to see opportunity and seize this time as an opportunity rather than a reason to die?
Michael Mogill: Yeah. So this is one of those things where it’s interesting to see how
business owners are responding quite differently to very similar circumstances. So meaning, you see people in exact same industry, in the same exact situation and one has one perspective, another has another perspective, both being dealt the same hand.
And what I can tell you is like, for one, I think the paralysis, fear, victim, that type of mindset — again, if nothing else, it’s not very productive. So the important aspect of anything — I think if you’re going through any period of adversity, any period of change, it does start with
accepting reality. So you have to accept what you can’t control. But at that point once you’ve accepted those things, you can really start to focus on what you can control. So the person with the growth mindset, it is not necessarily the delusional person, but in many cases is oftentimes the optimistic one. And they’ve actually even done studies between growth and fixed mindset — your growth mindset people, those are the ones that tend to be more resilient
and adaptable in the face of change. So I think adaptable is really the key word here because
change is really an integral part of life, and in periods like this and this is particularly for business owners — if you take a step back from this, I believe that the reason why someone chooses to become an entrepreneur, if that even is a choice, but it is essentially because they want to place a bet upon themselves.
You look up entrepreneur in the dictionary, there’s always the word risk that comes up. The role of entrepreneur is moving resources from a point of lower output to that of higher output. The reality is that entrepreneurs should be no strangers to barriers, adversities, to challenges, all these different things and this is just another one. But it also represents opportunities for
growth-minded entrepreneurs that see the fact that, “Okay the playing field is very much been leveled and if you’re able to be creative and innovative and focus on what you can do,
as this passes which as all things do pass, you can come out stronger on the other side.” It also has to do with how you spend your time now.
So instead of looking at, “Okay.” Like it’s almost I wouldn’t say funny because that would be an insensitive thing to say right now, but it’s interesting the amount of times I hear on a daily basis and we’re doing this during the time where COVID-19 is quite prevalent that I’m hearing from another business owner, “Man, we’re dealing with COVID-19.” And I hear that and I think, “Well, so is every business in America.” I mean even Zoom, Zoom that does the conferencing, they are experiencing severe period of stress because they made — if you look at the CEO, who has made not the right decision with this, but they opened up their platform, what was usually a business platform, they opened it up for non-business users, educational institutions, all those things for free.
Christopher Anderson: Right.
Michael Mogill: So Zoom has, they basically went from 10 million paid users to 200 million users, but 190 million of those are not paid, they’re free users and they may not ever convert to paying users. But because of the load that that’s placed on their server infrastructure, it has been frantic for them. So even Zoom who — like people are like, “Okay, if there’s one
company is doing well right now; they are even stressed out during this period of time.” So
I think that this is an opportunity for not only true leaders to step up, but also those that have a growth mindset. You can look at this and say, “Wow, okay now that we’re in this type of situation” — this is where you see a lot of shifts in the marketplace. This is where like challengers rise up and this is where — if you look back, because I’m a bit of a student of history, you look back on like previous recessions and depressions and things like that
and you see, “Okay, the ones that basically bury their head in the sand, they may survive but they basically come out very fragmented. They laid off 75% of their team. They cut all their
marketing. They just basically cut ties everywhere out of sheer preservation.”
But then there’s the other type of entrepreneur that doubles down during this time, uses an opportunity to improve the relationship they have with their clients to make an impact on their community, to double down on their investment in marketing. All the great leaps that you really see during periods like this, happen for the businesses that doubled down as opposed to really kind of hiding out in an underground bunker. So I think for the ones with a growth mindset, this is actually a very exciting time because you can make much better leaps. It’s just like the stock market if you look at it. I mean it is a much better time to buy stocks
when stocks are on sale.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Michael Mogill: So meaning when the market is down, that’s probably a much better time
to invest in stocks than when you’re not experiencing a period like this, and it’s the same thing when you’re looking at it from a business and strategic standpoint.
Christopher Anderson: Invest in your business, invest in your client base — like you said, get improve your relationships with your clients while a good percentage of your colleagues or competition, however you want to call it are sticking their heads in the sand. It’s like buying stocks on sale. It’s actually growing the goodwill and the dedication to your business in a time when others aren’t and you’re able to stand out easier.
Michael Mogill: Absolutely and I think also growth mindset often times aligns with the — I never thought about it quite like this, but perhaps this is it. There’s also the confidence that you have in your own ability. So believing that, “Yes, I’m going to figure this out.” I may not know how to now. I mean this is new, but I’m going to figure it out because we got big plans for the future. You’ve got a clear vision of where you want to go and hopefully that vision doesn’t change in the face of adversity. So if you remain committed to that, then you’re going to continue to do the things that are necessary to improve your organization, your team
to support your family.
And again like when you look at it from the standpoint of, “Well okay, if I’m going to pull back on everything” I just don’t know how you ever become a great organization and a great business if you’re doing the types of things that are really fear-based decisions, panic-based decisions that don’t really have long-term growth potential — you may come out of it you
know you’ll survive — if you look at it from the standpoint of, “What do I do to
just not go out of business?” I think you could do a lot of things to not go out of business, but then I question, “Are you in business for the right reasons?”
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Michael Mogill: I mean they’re just not go out of business, but I would almost argue like, “Well, I think businesses were built to grow” and true entrepreneurs are always looking at, “Well, where can we innovate? Where can we add value? How do we move things forward, all those different things.” So this is a time where we see a lot of businesses, a lot of business leaders, teams, team members exposed. You see people for really who they are based upon how they respond in periods of adversity. The prosperity is easy, right?
Christopher Anderson: Right.
Michael Mogill: I mean, who doesn’t love prosperity? But when times get tough, now you can see, “Okay, what does somebody really think about their team? What do they really think about their clients? Where their motivations lie.” So from that standpoint, I think it’s a very, very good thing because it also highlights the great leaders.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, and so like one of the things you said is that probably some listeners here got kind of fixed mindset might be rolling their eyes. But let’s face it, some people who are owners of law firms — like you said, people who decided to be an entrepreneur. But you know what? In law school when they say you can you could hang a shingle, they don’t say that makes you an entrepreneur. Like that it’s just not part of the discussion. So some people may be listening in hearing these description of fixed mindset versus growth mindset and realizing that they operate more or less of the time from a fixed mindset. In reading what you’ve read and understanding this topic, what can they do? How can someone who’s had the instincts right now to hunker down, to ride this out, to survive, how can they tap into their growth mindset even though they feel like they may be more of a
Michael Mogill: Yeah, so I think, especially in times like this where you have a lot of uncertainty about the future, obviously it’s very unpredictable how things will be tomorrow or next week or next month and beyond that. Yeah, it’s always important to look backwards and need to reinforce confidence. I think that the root of everything — one of the things, it’s always needs to be protected is — as an entrepreneur, are leader’s confidence and if you look back at the progress that you have made, the things that you have achieved, the things you have done, you likely accomplished a lot — you’ve been through a number of different types of adversities. So using that as strength to weather future adversities, I think that’s really where it starts.
The other thing is really looking at, “Okay, what can we do?” Because you can use this time very productively, so whatever the situation. Let’s say signing up new clients isn’t even an option. Like if for some reason that’s not an option, what can you do? Well, I mean this is a great opportunity to improve your business. All the things that we would hear from entrepreneurs like there’s really two main things you hear all the time. One is they don’t have time to make basically audit process, audit intake, improve workflows all these different
things. And then the other thing that you’d hear is that it’s so difficult to find good people out there, right?
Christopher Anderson: Right.
Michael Mogill: The job market.
Christopher Anderson: That’s been the story for the past five years, right?
Michael Mogill: But ironically, like those are the two things right now. I think not having enough time is no longer an excuse. If you’re saying that, then I think it’s more of a question of discipline. And then the other thing is you’re looking at right now with the highest unemployment rate in decades — you’re about to see the most bountiful job market. So
from a standpoint of growth, you really couldn’t ask for a better situation and more opportunity. But again, like this is one of those things where if you’re hearing this and you’re rolling your eyes, I do want to provide some context in the sense that even my background. Like I was not always this way. So my family and I, we immigrated here to the US. I came here with $500 to our name and ironically, I started the business with the same amount. But
you look back like 10 plus years and I look at what my life was and at the time, I was nervous. My friend wouldn’t even invite me out to dinner because I didn’t have enough money. If we went to an expensive restaurant, man I’d be in trouble, right?
Christopher Anderson: Right.
Michael Mogill: Like all these different things and you’re struggling financially. You’re going through this stuff. You don’t have clarity. You don’t really know what you’re doing, that I’ve been there and I know that. But if you see the success as possible and you’ve seen that success is possible for others, why not have the outlook of, “Well okay, somebody else can do it, why can’t I do it?” And it really just starts by looking at what are their decisions? What are the processes that they’re employing? What are the daily habits there that they’re utilizing? Because it is very, very true and when you can make that transformation — well I think you have to build that confidence first. The idea is that if you’ve never experienced something before and your goal is to achieve let’s say something that — you’re trying to go somewhere you’ve never been, which is kind of the nature of leadership. But if you’ve never done that before, well how on earth would you ever have the confidence to get there? And a lot of this really starts with first having courage, so you’ve got to just take that leap at some point and then by doing so you’ll gain those capabilities.
So the growth mindset, you now look at from the standpoint, “Well, okay I don’t know how to dot this yet, but here’s where I want to go. So we have to learn these skills.” Or let’s say you hire somebody that has these skills or capabilities, whatever is necessary to bridge that gap. And then once you’ve achieved whatever that goal is, now you’ve gained the confidence to set up a bigger goal.
So one of the big things that helps especially during periods of adversity is simply taking action, it’s simply doing something because if you can stay busy and if you can make your business a little bit better, even 1% better every day, those things add up. Like you don’t have to become the multi-million-dollar business tomorrow because it takes time and I think anyone who says it, it doesn’t. I mean it’s just not being very honest, but you can make progress. And once you get out of that fear paralysis mode and say, “Okay, well you know what? I’ve always wanted to write a book. I have a lot of free time to do it. Maybe now is the time to write a book and become the credible expert in your area of practice.” Or maybe it’s the time to start a podcast interviewing experts in your industry on what they’re doing to survive right now, all these different things.
So there are a lot of opportunities. I think you just have to seek them out. And then the other thing I would add to this that I also feel is very important is where you’re getting your information and who you’re surrounding yourself with. Because I find that the leaders that are the most paralyzed, the most the most freaked out, they’re spending a lot of time watching the news.
Christopher Anderson: Yes.
Michael Mogill: They’re surrounding themselves with other leaders who are also like basically
of a fixed mindset that are also telling them all the things that they can’t do, what’s not possible. And if you just change that circle, if you surround yourself with people that are talking about, “Well, here are the things that we are doing. Here’s how we’ve been improving our business” the conversation changes and oftentimes the mindset changes too.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, I think that’s a super important point. All right, we’re going to take a break here and when we come back, Michael, what I want to pivot a little bit — because you’ve touched on this a couple of times, I want to kind of go deeper into this
area is you talked about that it’s going to be a great job market and that investing in your team to get them into a growth mindset is really important. So when we come back, I want to talk about training and developing your team as an important aspect of growth of your business, but first we’ll hear a word from our sponsors.
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Christopher Anderson: Back with Michael Mogill, he’s the founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group here on The Un-Billable Hour. We’re talking about mindset. We’re talking about growth.
We’re talking about taking action during times when it seems like the future is very unclear as it is at this moment. So Michael, I said when we came back, I wanted to kind of pivot this talk into how to relate that to how you acquire and develop the people — you also were talking to people around you, but I’m talking about your team, how does this play into how you work
with the people that work in your law firm, for your law firm and around your law firm? How do we train and develop them to be part of this growth mindset for the business?
Michael Mogill: One of the things that I’ve always felt that is among the best things that you can do for a team is to be the type of leader that is an inspirational example for them, so
that model, the types of behaviors that you want to have in your organization. So I think this really starts with leading by example. You know at times where you’re dealing with a lot of adversity, know that calm is contagious. There’s a quote I think by Andy Stanley, he said something in the lines of, “Faith often deteriorates as circumstances deteriorate” and you’ve got to be the one that’s like — you want to be transparent, I think especially during times like this because people can detect if it’s inauthentic, you’re saying, “Everything’s fine” and then the next day you’re laying off half the team.
Christopher Anderson: Don’t’ pay attention to that fire behind me.
Michael Mogill: But at the same time, you’ve got to put on your own oxygen mask first.
So again it comes back to calm. you have to think whatever you’re going through during periods of adversity and uncertainty; your team is also going through it as well. So they’re looking for clarity. They’re looking for someone to be a source of confidence for them and
to be able to provide direction. And even if you don’t have all the answers — because I’ve gotten in meetings with the team and they’re like they’ll ask me a question about COVID-19 and I’m literally the least qualified person to answer a question like that. I don’t work at the CDC, so if anything I would say, probably not be very scientific or backed by science. But the fact that they’re asking those questions implies that they’re looking to you as a leader for clarity and direction.
So from that standpoint, this is a great time to invest in your team, it’s one of the highest returns we’ve seen just year-over-year has been in team training and development. Meaning that we all invest in — I don’t know if we all invest, but we know as leaders, when you go to various seminars, when you’re reading various books, when you’re a part of various coaching programs, things like that that you become a better leader for your organization.
But imagine that you could also empower your team in the same way that you’ve empowered yourself. So if you can make everything — your team members better, think about the amount of scale and leverage that there is there and that’s where you see such a high return. Team members of course also appreciate any investment that you make in them, particularly in developing their capabilities and their skill sets and so on. So with us, it starts by — I mean we went the distance and we actually have a full-time, like dedicated trainer, like a team trainer in-house. So her sole responsibility is team training and development. So we have like
full curriculum in the same way you see in the legal system where you have CLEs. At Crisp we call them CCEs, Crisp Continuing Education and team members have like basically requirements of how many they have to pick up each quarter and these are things where we’ve assigned certain online courses, book clubs specific to whatever department that they’re in.
Also previously when we were actually leaving the house and going to conferences, those can be approved for basically CCEs. So finding things where — if nothing else, if you give your team a certain budget, or team member certain budget to invest in training and development, but just ways to encourage a culture of learning and growth and this only works well from my experience if you’re also doing it yourself.
Christopher Anderson: For yourself, right?
Michael Mogill: If you’re providing an example. Correct. So if you’re the one who’s sharing the articles, if you’re the one who’s let’s say maybe even leading the book club, if you’re coming to them and you’re speaking from a point of innovation — because if you don’t care and you somehow expect other people around you to be vested in care, I have yet to see that ever in any business. So the engagement is always going to stem from the leadership. So just know that during this time and really during any period of adversity, ironically teams can grow closer together because you’re unified by common adversity. Yeah, everyone is dealing with it. So use that as an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of your team and your culture and especially if you’re in a situation where you weren’t a remote business prior, but now everybody’s working from home — you get into accountability trust issues, those types of things and I promise you that if you have an aligned team and you have a strong culture, the trust of that, that isn’t as much of a barrier. But if the team previously was not aligned, then of course you’re going to have many challenges with accountability.
Christopher Anderson: Sure. I think it’s like awesome of how you’ve described it. You have a dedicated trainer and this whole CCE concept which I think is fantastic. Do you like have a minimum number of hours? People have to get 12 hours like a lawyer or per year?
Michael Mogill: Yes. Well we do have a minimum. We require at least 20 a quarter.
Christopher Anderson: Twenty a quarter? Wow that’s awesome.
Michael Mogill: So this was such an integral part of our business. We believe in so much in terms — so one of our core values is better than yesterday and the idea is that you should always be learning and growing. You should always be a student. And the fact that it’s a core value means that we also made this training and development mandatory. It’s not an optional thing like if you want to exist at our company and let’s say you don’t want to do the courses which again are specific to each department — anyone’s welcome to take any course of course, but if they are let’s say a project manager, there’s trainings on project management. If they’re on the marketing team, there’s marketing trainings. If they’re on the creative team, there’s things around cinematography and editing, all those different things. But if that’s not something that you’re into and which would mean by nature that you’re not interested in learning and growing and developing, then that just doesn’t align with our culture.
So the team has actually taken up to it quite well and we’ve seen a very positive response also from the fact that — I mean they’re getting better. This is actually empowering them. It’s allowing them to be more successful in their roles and by nature, they’re more fulfilled and they also financially are doing better.
Christopher Anderson: Absolutely, and so let me take this just one step for the listeners who might not have — would you say 70 employees?
Michael Mogill: Yes.
Christopher Anderson: Who might not have a dedicated trainer, what would you recommend like for a smaller law firm who doesn’t really feel like they’ve been investing yet that much into their team and their growth of their team. What’s a great way for them to get started?
Michael Mogill: The simplest way is really — I mean as simple as it sounds, is with like team book club. If you find a great book that you can all read together. I mean there’s numerous out there. I believe when we first started our first book club, we read Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. Even throughout we actually read Grit by Angela Duckworth, Mindset by Carol Dweck. It’s like if you want to foster growth mindset, consider reading the book Mindset doing that as a book club. So book clubs work well when there’s also accountability. So one of the things that we always did was that — whatever chapters we would be reading for the upcoming week, we’d also submit in advance almost like the takeaways from the various chapters. We had almost like thought-provoking discussion questions, and then each week we’d meet up for an hour and just discuss it and the things that we’d learned. As simple as it is, I think yes, you could really start with a book club.
Now there’s also a lot of online resources and a lot of online trainings. I think MasterClass has a lot of like online curriculum on just various topics. So there’s a lot of great content out there that you can utilize, but I would also encourage you to invite your team members to find courses that they are interested in and then provide a certain budget that you’ll say, “Okay, I’ll reimburse up to this amount.”
Christopher Anderson: Yeah I think that’s a fantastic idea. I’ve even seen people say and bring it back like, “So go. We’ll reimburse you but one of the things you need to do is
then come back and share your learnings with the rest of the team.”
Michael Mogill: Absolutely. Yeah because I think if you have — training and development without accountability is really entertainment.
Christopher Anderson: Yes.
Michael Mogill: So from that standpoint, yes. I mean with anything like that that we do, we got to have like clear action items, not only what are the things that you learned, but how you’re going to be able to now utilize that in the role that you’re in. So things like that are, I mean again, they’re invaluable. The only I think hesitation that sometimes comes up with business leaders is that, “If I invest all this money in my team and then I’m basically training my competition, what if they leave?” all that type of stuff. My answer to this is always quite simple in the sense that, “Well, if you don’t invest in the training and developing your team,
what happens if they stay, right?”
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. That’s one of my favorite juxtapositions. We’re coming up towards the end of the show here, Michael. What I wanted to ask you is — we’ve talked about so much in so many great books. We talked about Rocket Fuel by Wickman and Winters, Mindset by Dweck and a couple others. Before we close, do you have any resources that our listeners can get more information about what we’ve been talking about from you or that you
recommend they go to?
Michael Mogill: Yeah, absolutely. So there’s a book that I wrote it’s called The Game Changing Attorney. Ironically it was about you had to compete in very saturated competitive
markets during difficult times. So you can go to gamechangingattorney.com. The book is also on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and Audible. And then ironically — I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but we launched a podcast by the same name.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah of course you can.
Michael Mogill: And it’s also called The Game Changing Attorney, but same website. So
we basically are interviewing market leaders in the legal industry and even outside of it. So again, I think listening to podcasts like this one, consuming information where people are talking about what is possible, what you can do — when you put yourself in that type of environment, the whole conversation changes. And the final thing that I would add to all this — and this was a big thing for me and how I started making decisions during this time because it’s not easy. I mean we made a commitment to our team that when COVID-19 hit, we weren’t
going to lay anybody off and I didn’t do that out of nobility. I didn’t do that out of PR or so someone would love me or thank me, I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do, but it all stem from the question of, “How do I want to be remembered when this is over?” and that’s something that I think if you haven’t asked yourself, I certainly encourage you to because you know this will pass and don’t forget the world that you want to come back to when this is over — so if some of that can actually dictate the decision making that you’re making now.
Christopher Anderson: I think that’s a wonderful point. Thank you, Michael. That wraps up this edition of The Un-Billable Hour, the law business advisory podcast. My guest today again has been Michael Mogill. He’s the founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group. Michael, this show is always too short and this one in particular just I feel like you and I could have done this for another three hours. But if people do want to learn more — you gave some excellent resources. But if they want to contact you, just learn more about you or ask you specific questions, what’s a great way for them to reach you?
Michael Mogill: Yeah. So interesting enough, I don’t know if this is a good idea or a bad idea, but I’ve started giving out my phone number. So you can always text me. You shoot me a text, (404) 531-7691 and the team was like, “Hey, we got to make you more accessible” and I was like, “All right, we’ll just give out the number” and it’s worked well so far. So that might be the best way to do it right now.
Christopher Anderson: Fantastic. Well thank you, that’s a great suggestion and of course you also gave the gamechangingattorney.com website so people can go there. Michael, thank you so much for being on the show.
Michael Mogill: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Christopher Anderson: You bet, and of course, this is Christopher Anderson and I look forward to seeing you all 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 legaltalknetwork.com or on iTunes. Thanks for joining us and we’ll see you or at least listen to you again soon.
Outro: The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always consult a lawyer. Thanks for listening to The Un-Billable Hour, the law practice advisory podcast. Join us again for the next edition right here with Legal Talk Network.
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