Six Questions: A Leadership Chat Between Lori Williams and Preston True

Recently I was asked by my good friend, Preston True, to appear on his internet radio show known as “Everyday Leader”. Preston is a business coach for IT professionals and he helps them get paid what they are really worth by improving their leadership, management, and communication skills.  IT Professionals, much like attorneys, have a very specialized skill set which makes them great at the service they provide, but not naturally successful business owners or sales professionals. 

You can listen to the interview live here, which is slightly different from the Six Questions posed to me by Preston below.   

 

 

 

Q: What’s the most prominent worldview in your business?

A: In the past, my personal view has always been much more local than global, when it came to business.  My market and contacts have always been concentrated in Metro Detroit.  However, for the last year and a half I’ve been connecting with attorneys around the Country on Twitter and having conversations with them, and learning from them and others around the Country about legal issues, challenges practitioners face, etc. This has helped me in my understanding and perspective when working with lawyers and clients in Metro Detroit.

Q: What’s the greatest leadership challenge your organization faces?

A:  I guess the good news and the bad news is that the biggest challenge is ME!  There’s only so many hours in the day and I can only do so much by myself.  Yet while I run my business as solopreneur, I work with a team of legal advisors who handle the cases I bring in, and I have a team of professionals in other industries outside law who refer business to me.  My role is as the connector and relationship manager for the clients in need of legal services, the referral partners who send me those clients, and to the legal profession itself who I work with both as a referral partner and a consultant.  I have to make sure that relationships are strengthened and preserved, legal needs are being met, that I’m providing value, and that I’m marketing enough to keep the phone ringing.  I don’t have anyone to report to but me, in terms of growing the business,  and am always wondering, “am I doing enough?”  when it comes to marketing.

Q: What’s been put in place to overcome that challenge?

A: I network and build relationships online and offline, to keep the phone ringing and keep myself top of mind.  I also blog weekly and write 2 newsletters monthly: 1 to my general professional network and 1 to the legal community itself.  I write a monthly article about Legal News for Examiner.com, featuring Oakland County attorneys and their unique practices. Additionally, I conduct monthly lunch and learns and bring in speakers to talk about strategies for the professional service provider to grow their business.   I also speak for groups and appear on podcasts or radio shows like this.  I serve on the board of the Women’s Bar Association as Membership chair and I’m an Ambassador for the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber.  I feel that these activities are meaningful, keep me top of mind, and utilize my gifts and talents.

I think leadership comes into play when you listen to yourself and know that it is time to take a break, whether it’s for an hour, a day, or a week.  Giving yourself permission to leave the business alone and have a life, is important for a solopreneur.  Because the work I do today doesn’t guarantee income tomorrow, I have to have faith and discipline and do what is necessary on a regular basis, because I do see the fruit of my labors.  I just can’t predict when they will materialize.  Keeping the pipeline filled is the key.

Q: What’s the hidden gem of leadership in your organization?

A: I’d say it is listening with care and concern to whomever I’m talking to, without regard to what’s in it for me, and being fully present in that moment.  People have come to know that if they express a need and I know someone who can fulfill that need, I will provide a resource or referral.  I do this without regard to whether or not I’ll get paid for that connection.  I do it because it’s what I’m created to do.  Once I learned my purpose in life was to connect and be a resource to others, I made that a priority in every area of my life.

Q: What’s the greatest challenge in reaching the audience you can most help?

A:  Since I can help clients throughout Metro Detroit in all areas of law, the challenge is getting the word out to those who actually need legal advice or representation so they’ll know to call me.  I work with experienced attorneys in all the different areas of law, so I can guide the client to the right person for their situation.  Because lawyers can’t directly solicit clients, my focus has always been on building referral relationships so someone I know can refer the client in need of legal services.

On the consulting side of my business, the challenge would be for solo and small firm attorneys in Metro Detroit to know of my services so I can help them grow their practice.  We focus on one or more of the following areas, depending on what their need is:  branding/marketing; effective networking; developing referral partners and strategic partnerships.

Q: If you were hired to consult with other Metro Detroit Lawyers, what would you advise?

A:  I think today more than ever it is important for attorneys to develop a niche and a brand.  It’s the only way they can differentiate themselves.  We have 35,000 lawyers in Michigan, so it serves both the client and the lawyer if the lawyers target market so they attract the right client.  In tougher economic times, the tendency is for lawyers to want to help anyone who walks in the door.  Ultimately, neither the lawyer nor the client are well served by this approach.  Providing a service that you are passionate about and which resonates with the needs of the client is more fulfilling to both the client and the attorney.  A shotgun approach to law will eventually frustrate both the lawyer and the client.  No one can be all things to all people, and this is true in law especially.

POINTS TO POINDER AND SHARE:

As you look at your own industry and business, pick one or two of the Six Questions above and tell me your answer?

Have you ever thought of yourself as an “everyday leader” in your business or community?  Why or why not?

What is one thing you would commit to doing to improve your leadership in your business or community?

  • Share

Lori T. Williams is a 25 year attorney based in Birmingham, MI.  As owner of a legal referral business called Your Legal Resource, PLLC, Lori personally assists individuals and small businesses in need of legal advice or representation in Metro Detroit by connecting them with the right legal specialist to meet their needs. Click here for a pdf of legal referral services. 

Through group training and events, Lori also focuses on referral marketing strategies for attorneys and other professionals. For more information about Lori or Your Legal Resource, visit www.bestlegalresource.com.  For networking events, training programs, and workshop information, visit: www.bestlegalresource.com/events.

 

Leave a Reply