Future of your Work: 10 Steps to Your Digital Business Education Plan for Lawyers and Knowledge Pros

Future of Business EducationMany professionals are wondering about future skills needed to stay ahead of the game for the next 5 years. In my view, acquiring new skills are wasted on the professional unless they offer the promise of a better work lifestyle. The future of professional work is being transformed today and it’s a good thing (see James Altucher’s article on How to Become a [modern] Slave).

Think of it. In a March 2013 survey conducted by Forbes, one of the happiest jobs in North America is the senior sales professional. I gasped. The benefits of this happy profession includes “decent” freedom and compensation. The least happiest is the lawyer. Gasped and gasped. Somehow I knew that. Apparently, we all hate the corporate culture and the counterproductive billable hours. We also hate the dress code.

So, will digital business transform the way we feel about work? According to the recent McKinsey & Company study, the digital transformation will impact the service industry in a major and profound way. This study shows that digital channels to deliver advice, information and similar type services reduce costs by a whopping 35%. It is not hard to anticipate that major law firms will be facing a show down with niche players occupying digital office space and a nimble workforce. Yes, things in the firm are about to face a game changing reset by the likes of solo experts.Continue Reading

The Psychology of Motivation behind my New Year’s Resolution

I found this image “The Rules of a Creator’s Life” via Pinterest, a virtual pinboard for visual learners. It is my source of motivation for my 2012 New Year’s resolution.

Have you heard of Heidi Grant Halvorson? She just might help you and I succeed with our New Year’s Resolution. Dr Halvorson wrote an article this year for Harvard Business Review entitled “Use Motivational Fit to Market Product and Ideas“. Her analysis show that there are two general categories of people when it comes to motivation.

The first group tend to view goals as “gain or advancement”. In other words, if my New Year’s resolution is about losing weight, chances are this goal will not work for me. If I make a resolution about running a half marathon, then I have framed my resolution as a “gain”. I will gain bragging rights. I will gain a fit mind and body. This type of motivation is called “promotion motivation“. According to Dr. Halvorson, this group of people “are more energized by optimism and praise, more likely to embrace risk, seize opportunities and excel at creativity and innovation”.

The other group would make a better New Year’s resolution if they framed their quest to lose weight as a “prevention motivation“. They want to protect what they already have. For example, they could frame their resolution to lose weight as “lower my bad cholesterol because I do not want to be at risk”. This group, according to Dr. Halvorson “are more driven by criticism and the looming possiility of failure than they are by applause and a sunny outlook”. They are risk averse, accurate and great planners.

My objective this year is to run a half marathon and learn how to podcast. Guess what motivational group I am in? Enjoy your New Year’s Resolution planning process. It’s cathartic.

Send this Lawyer back to (Modern Business) School

Last week, my friend, also a lawyer, called and insisted that I sponsor a wonderful humanitarian cause. Oddly, the more he demanded, the more I objected. At the end of the conversation, I gave him 5 reasons for saying no, which is exactly what I did. After the call, I was bewildered at my behaviour because his call to action (getting me to sponsor) should have been an easy toss. Instead, I was doggedly against giving him one penny. I wondered why because a) I like my lawyer friend, b) I like the cause he is championing and c) he was not asking large sums of money.

I was obstinate because I did not like “sold at”. However, how do I know am I not “selling at” when I argue, when I want something? An easy selling proposition is a very dangerous thing for lawyers. We don’t really know how to sell our information, our expertise. A whole generation of younger entrepreneurs have nailed the art of not selling and I have been buying ever since.Continue Reading

Why my permanent address is my website

When I decided to launch my advisory firm last March, the first thing my accountant asked was “where”. Tough question. My prospective clients are in Northern Canada, New York, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and soon, Asia. I told him I have a MacBook with no fixed address.

Reactions to the office of the Future

When you wire your office for the future, you quickly discover that there are two types of business reactions to the question “where can I find you”, (my answer is always my business url). For most accountants and lawyers, this is a contrarian answer. They insist: “But where are you physically located”. I rime off the name of all the cities where I do work. Accountants and lawyers go crazy with this answer. The “Doubters” believe the social proof of a business is its real estate.

The second type of reaction is thankfully, the most common. They are the “No Briefcase Type”. They react with, “I’m going to check you out”. When I give out my url, I basically give out the right to investigate me. They have the right to find out how I think, what I do, where I have been. Obviously, I am looking for that same reciprocity.  Oddly, most don’t understand that yet.

Most professionals do not own their own online identity

The majority of professionals do not own their own url. At best, they have an unfinished LinkedIn profile. I recently met a fascinating lawyer. I discovered during lunch he was doing innovating aboriginal finance work.  This never came up on my pre-meeting Google search on him (everyone Googles their lunch date, right?). The only thing Google revealed was his firm’s website identifying him as a partner, his expertise in commercial real estate and his old deals. That’s it. That is how he is marketed.

Be like Sidney Cosby

There are no contractual reasons as to why a franchised professional could not have his/her own blog, own url, and own stories. Take for example, Sidney Crosby. This Penguins’ franchise player has his own url, his own Wikipedia entry, completely separate from the Penguins.   If Crosby is ever traded or leaves the Penguins, his online identity will remain with him, will follow him to where he is going. Hence, if you are a franchised professional, you need to shape and own your online real estate. One day, when you leave the firm, it won’t matter one bit that the Penguins have traded you.