Why Your Team Doesn’t Care About Your Firm As Much As You Do (And How To Fix It)

This post was submitted by Molly McGrath, a coach and consultant who has directed presidents and founders of national organizations and over 4,000 law firms in executive-level leadership, continuous improvement, and team empowerment initiatives to infiltrate new markets, leveraging partner ecosystems and producing profitability. Molly has 25 years of specific skillset experience serving as a Fractional CEO, CMO marketing, factional CEO, conversation intelligence coaching, team development & leadership, employee empowerment, intrapreneur talent acquisition, Kaizen leadership, root cause analysis, revenue mapping, and action-based project management.

“I wish my team cared as much about my firm as I do” is a frequent comment I get from my law firm clients when we first start working together. 

Inspiring your employees to care about your law firm as much as you do – especially since the employment landscape shift of 2021- isn’t easy, yet it can be done when you understand what to focus on.

Many law firms want to see the entrepreneurial spirit in their team members. The problem with that line of thinking is that what your team needs in order to care about your firm as much as you do is intrapreneurship, not entrepreneurship.

French economist Jean-Baptiste Say coined the term entrepreneurship, which is best expressed as a desire to undertake or cut your own path. It’s about going out and getting.

You, as the firm owner, most likely possess a spirit of entrepreneurship. You went out and took the risk of starting a law firm.

What your firm needs in its employees isn’t more “go out and get.” Instead, you need the mindset of “we’re in this together.”

Intrapreneurship is about capturing your team’s desire to cut their own path and directing it inward. When you’re able to do that, your employees will start caring about your firm as much as you do, and your firm will reach heights you may not currently believe are possible.

You’re probably wondering why that is, and what it takes to nurture intrapreneurship in your firm. It’s actually simpler than you think.

Intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs both thrive on growth and challenge. Both enjoy seeing their creative impulses come to fruition.

Nurturing intrapreneurship in your employees means renovating your firm culture to something that both empowers your team to explore their own ideas and demonstrates that, succeed or fail, you’ll support them every step of the way.

When addressing firm culture with my clients, we implement the following strategies to foster an intrapreneurial spirit in their team:

  • Building and bringing outside-the-box thinking to every client engagement.
  • Daily snapshot reporting.
  • Weekly key productivity indicators (KPI) reporting, tracking, and measurement from every team member.
  • Nine specific strategies to support and protect attorney time, energy, confidence, and family.
  • Rolling out a firm culture of adult responses (instead of knee-jerk reactions), conveyed in an honest, yet respectful, manner that’s free of drama and meltdowns.

Putting these strategies in place often seems like a lot of work to my clients, especially if they’re already overwhelmed with what’s on their plate.

What’s important to remember is that a productive workplace can’t come from drama and micromanaging employee productivity.

Instead, it comes from building the trust your team needs to step forward and take responsibility for their role in your company, and in so doing, fully express their own talent and leadership capabilities.

Once the intrapreneurial spirit (along with strategies to support it) is alive and well in your team, you as the firm owner will enjoy more time freedom, because fostering intrapreneurship allows you to stop accepting tasks you, as the firm owner, shouldn’t need to do.

Inspiring your team to care about your firm as much as you do means giving them positive reasons to care, and the opportunities and support to act on those reasons. Put the reasons and support in place, and watch as they step up and start caring!

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