Is your law firm led or managed? What is the difference and does it make a difference?

Seth Godin posted a blog The difference between management and leadership. He said that companies need both and that is true of law firms also. But, I wonder if law firms are getting both.

In his book Principle Centered LeadershipStephen Covey writes:

Leadership focuses on the top line. Management focuses on the bottom line. Leadership derives its power from values and correct principles. Management organizes resources to serve selected objectives to produce the bottom line.

If your firm led (focus on values, principles, vision, keeping the mission in sight, or is your law firm managed (focus on efficiency, hourly rates, logistics, methods, procedures, short term profitability)?

To lead, law firm leaders must have a vision and get firm partners behind it. Without a clearly articulated vision, leaders will have a very difficult time choosing how to allocate firm resources., including:

  • Where should the firm invest in clients and what are the services to be provided?
  • When, where and how should the firm grow?
  • Where should the firm invest the human and dollar capital of the firm?
  • Where should the firm invest the talent of the firm?
  • How should the firm identify the lawyers who are and are not making a contribution?

I love another Stephen Covey quote:

Almost every significant breakthrough is a result of a courageous break with traditional ways of thinking.

What courageous break with traditional ways of thinking would produce the most significant breakthrough for your firm?