How different is what you are doing right now - the strategies that you are employing - from the key competitors in your marketplace? If your answer is "not much" then how are you ever expecting to surpass their performance?
"Not much" is usually attributable to some boilerplate strategic plan created by some brand name consultants. It comes packaged as a fairly weighty tome (at a fairly hefty fee). It contains mystic thoughts unsullied by any methodology for achieving meaningful differentiation or insights on creating new revenue streams; has no means of implementation; and is ultimately destined to find it's resting place on some managing partner or CEO's bookcase.
There is an old story about how some consultants behave like sea gulls. They fly in from afar, circle your head a few times and drop something white into your hands. You think that it is your new strategic plan. Only after they have departed do you truly understand what that white stuff in your hands really is.
Competitive advantage means getting out in front, by focusing on those areas in which you can be unbeatable. By definition, if you are doing what everyone else is, you don't have an advantage.
Do you have the courage and the foresight to see beyond what everyone else is doing?
If you're ready for someone to take charge; to ask the really hard questions - the questions that lead to marketplace distinction; and someone who will not compromise in ensuring that implementation is an integral part of each step in the formulating of a truly competitive strategy . . . you may be ready to confer with Patrick.
Alternatively, if your just interested in some white stuff, these boilerplate strategic plans are all pretty much the same. If you would like one for your bookcase, Patrick will happily tear off the cover of one he has, duplicate the contents, and forward it to you at no charge, complete with your firm's name inscribed on the front . . .
then you too can report that you have a strategic plan.
"When Baker Donelson's Strategic Planning Committee determined that we should examine, in-depth, the impact of the current economic environment on the future of law firms in general and Baker Donelson in particular, we knew we wanted a facilitator who would bring to the table both a knowledge of our culture and a fresh perspective on the changes globally impacting knowledge-based organizations. Patrick McKenna was the clear choice for this task. Patrick not only kept us focused on the critical issues, he enabled us to consider these issues in the context of our Firm's history and culture. Rather than trying to impose a cookie-cutter solution to the very complex goal of re-engineering the law firm to meet the demands of a changing market place, he facilitated a process that allowed us to develop a list of mission critical issues that built on our strengths and targeted our weaknesses. We would recommend Patrick to any law firm that wants to take a hard look at the future of the legal profession and what it will take to be competitive in that environment."
• William S. Painter, Office Managing Shareholder and Co-Chairman, Strategic Planning Committee - BAKER DONELSON
"Good morning Patrick. Thank you for helping us advance our strategy sessions in Santiago. All the people I spoke with indicated that your presentation was exceptional. It more than met our expectations and the members are still talking about some of the thought leadership items you suggested."
• John E. Wolfgang, Chairman UHY INTERNATIONAL UHY is one of the world’s leading business advisory, consulting and accounting firms, with over 7000 professionals operating across 211 offices in 72 countries.
“LawDragon is thrilled to have included you among those published in the first guide to the nation's most exclusive consultants, which was selected through a combination of online balloting and old fashioned reporting. We asked law firm leaders who they turn to and they responded with a list of strategic, recruiting and public relations professionals that is truly the crème of the crop.”
• Katrina Dewey, CEO - LAWDRAGON INC.
"I served as the leader my firm, Baker & Daniels LLP, for 15 years. During my tenure, I became acquainted with many, many consultants to the legal profession. Without question, Patrick is among the best informed, most effective consultants I have encountered. His advice is practical, candid, and clearly delivered. Patrick engenders trust, an essential ingredient in any professional relationship. I would recommend Patrick to any law firm leader, especially for high-level, difficult assignments requiring well-developed analytical and communications skills and seasoned experience. In short, Patrick is a "pro" in every sense of the word."
• Brian K. Burke, Chair Emeritus – BAKER & DANIELS LLP
"My former law firm often brought in various consultants over the course of the 10 years I was there -- and Patrick McKenna was by far, the best and most practical of anyone I ever heard. While there was a healthy (and sometimes deserved) level of cynicism when it came to consultants, Patrick was one of the very few who earned real respect in the planning sessions, and who gave the firm some very practical methods of moving forward."
• Internal Memo to Executive Committee from Tom Metzger, Partner
"We invited a number of selected firms to propose on assisting us with our strategic planning. Initially we received 4 proposal, from Hildebrandt, McKinsey, Edge International (Patrick McKenna), and The Zeughauser Group. We had a late entrant, from the Gallup Organization. At the end of the day, Edge presented the most compelling case for our selection. We think they are the hands down best choice because they have the insight, experience, and process to best support our efforts. Their clients have all confirmed that they bring considerable skill and experience to the event, think differently than other consultants, are very intuitive and adaptable, run good process, are very proactive, don't tell you what they think you want to hear, and deliver on their promises."
• Hank Lewis, Chief Operating Officer - LITTLER MENDELSON
"Instead of a
retreat or a planning summit, we worked a process that lasted several
months. We learned from Patrick to "trust the process," essential to
creating a credible plan. We needed this guidance, Patrick gave it and
we have a plan that reflects the depth of our work. Implementation is
started and Patrick is again guiding. It’s good to have a plan. It’s
good to have a guide. We will work with Patrick again."• Alan T. Rogers, Managing Partner - BALCH & BINGHAM
"I probably think of you every couple of days. Your process has given us the tools we need to become better managers of our business. Because you involved so many of us ,so deeply, in learning about the issues facing law firms and businesses in general, we feel that we are aware of the issues, able to make decisions and prioritize our resources, and ready to meet the challenges ahead. It has been a terrific process."
• Karen Reynolds, Chief Operating Officer – GRAY PLANT MOOTY
Patrick is a leader in the field on whom I rely for strategic advice.
• Michael B. Ray, Managing Director - STERNE, KESSLER, GOLDSTEIN & FOX
"Thank you for your work on the program on Strategic Planning at the USLFG Annual Meeting last week. The program was just what we wanted, was very well-prepared and presented, and will be of real value to the Trustees and Managing Partners."
• John McClatchey, Administrative Director - U.S. LAW FIRM GROUP
"Some consultants do one or the other, but Patrick is superb at bringing together both the strategic essence and the detailed evidence necessary to support his findings; and translates it all into actionable steps designed to get results."
• Ronald F. Pol, immediate Past President of the New Zealand Corporate Lawyers Association and Director of Team Factors Limited.
"Patrick is currently engaged by our firm to assist us with our Strategic Planning Process. I've been aware of Patrick, his reputation and his accomplishments since the beginning of my career and I can only say that the experience far outweighs even my greatest expectations. Patrick's immense knowledge of lawyers, law firms and the legal industry combined with his willingness to call a spade a spade, ensures that meetings are productive and creates a high degree of buy-in for the process."
• Tammy Wiebe, CMO - FIELD LAW (Canada)