So declares Steve Toy, innovation leader at EY in an article about how the Big Four accounting firms are embracing artificial intelligence. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve been exposed to the growing body of writing about innovation. First, do you read such things? Do you try to connect the dots and speculate about how breakthrough developments might impact your clients’ fortunes?

Or do you see an article about autonomous vehicles (AVs) and ignore it, deeming it irrelevant to your banking clients or practice, or the the exclusive province of large corporations, not of law firms?

You may be wondering, “Um, Mike, aren’t you a sales coach for lawyers? What does all this innovation stuff have to do with that?” In a word, everything.

Innovation defined

According to Wikipedia, innovation is “the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs.” Do you still market and sell largely the same way you did before 2008? Has your time- and financial budget for business development remained the same?

If so, it’s probably you that’s irrelevant, not the announcements you see. Almost everything imaginable has changed since 2008. All those changes affect you to some degree, no matter how indirectly. We’re not talking indirect in the abstract, extended sense of a butterfly flapping its wings ultimately triggering a storm in Asia. Let’s return to our autonomous-vehicles-and-banks example.

Let’s say your practice has been helping banks deal with data security risks. What do cars -- autonomous or otherwise -- have to do with that? Along the path to full autonomy, cars have been getting smarter in every way, and this trend is accelerating (pun intended).

“The most disruptive technology of our time"

You’ve probably seen lots of articles like Driverless cars: the most disruptive technology of our time. If you ignored it because AVs, while interesting, aren’t relevant to your practice or clients, you’d probably be surprised to learn that it was published in International Banker.

Would you be equally surprised to see Four ways the connected car will change banking published in The American Banker, telling you that “The revolution in automotive technology and mobility services will be a financial revolution as well. From frictionless payments to improved underwriting models, connected cars will rewrite the rules for how and where banks interact with their customers and change the way people manage and spend their money”?

When the conservative voice of conservative bankers describes an emerging form of innovation a “financial revolution,” can you really afford to ignore it?

Closer to your practice is the wave of change in legal practice itself. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve seen the flood of articles and conference agendas about how corporate clients are finally flexing their purchasing muscle to bring about the transparency, efficiency, and cost improvement that they’ve been bleating about for years. You’re forgiven if you’ve been skeptical, since clients have behaved much like parents who demand and threaten, but never follow through with any consequences.

The CLOC is ticking

You’re probably know about the American Corporate Counsel Association’s Value Challenge, but are you familiar with the mission of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC)? Neota Logic’s summary of takeaways from CLOC’s most recent conference offers:

“Richard Susskind, author of The Future of the Professions and Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future, as eloquently as ever conveyed that the most unlikely future is one without change. This is evidenced by fact that the most significant characteristic of technology is that it is becoming increasingly capable, and that for technological change to occur, there is no finishing line. Lawyers should consider that clients don’t want professionals, they want the outcomes they provide. So it is inevitable that technology will provide more and more of those outcomes in the future.

Susskind’s call to arms is simple: The future of law is in the hands of clients, and CLOC is exactly the type of organisation that can foster and harness that change.”

A panel moderated by Merry Neitlich provides this nugget: “It’s too late for your firm to be an ‘early adopter’ of legal operations ... but your firm doesn’t have to be a ‘late adopter’ or a ‘laggard’ either. The legal-buying “parents” have reached the end of their patience and are starting to visit penalties on the laggards.

All this should motivate you to:

  • Review the CLOC agenda to understand what clients want now
  • Examine your practice and compare what you’re selling and delivering against what they’re buying and valuing
  • Decide what changes you have to make to align with clients’ agenda
  • Commit to making a single significant change today, one that will be apparent to your clients and demonstrate that you’ve embarked on the same journey they’re already on

Next week: How to change what and how you market and sell in response to the new service delivery reality.

Mike O’Horo

Acquiring and mastering business development skill is a three-part mission: Education, Training, and Coaching. Each produces a different outcome, and should be accomplished using different tools at appropriate cost.

  1. Education produces understanding, awareness, context, but no skills. Like law school. The Dezurve content library lets you accomplish this easily, conveniently, and at trivial cost.

  2. Training is the actual doing. It produces practical skills available to you when you need them in the real world. RainmakerVT online simulations and video courses let you learn and make your mistakes privately in our virtual world, at modest cost.

  3. Coaching produces tangible success by guiding you to apply successfully the skills you learned.

Click on the links to learn more about each component. Contact me to discuss your situation and options.