Is your “winning streak” about to become a “losing streak”?  I believe it is likely unless you prepare for the test you didn’t ask for but are about to take.  Let’s be honest, most law firms have had a pretty good run and your partners are well accustomed to it.  Will your partners understand what a decrease is? Will your firm maintain the winning attitude that brought you this far?  If you don’t think the next few miles of road are bumpier than you’re used to then the following may be of little interest (except perhaps for the reference to “denying the facts”).

I Irecommend that you visit (or revisit) Confidence – How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End by Harvard’s Rosabeth Moss Kanter. 

Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s biography for those interested

Confidence is a road map that helps you react more constructively than you might otherwise have to the challenges you will face (like this deteriorating economy).  The losing streak is fraught with a disease whose symptoms will infect your people – they include::

  • Stop communicating
  • Criticize and blame
  • Disrespect others
  • Become isolated
  • Focus inward
  • Let inequalities develop and persist
  • Lose initiative
  • Forget goals and aspirations
  • Spread negativity
  • Deny Facts

Your job as a Managing Partner (or as a member of the senior management team) is to understand and live Kanter’s three cornerstones  of confidence:

  • Accountability
  • Collaboration
  • Initiative

Most Managing Partners don’t read business books (don’t be insulted – you don’t have time and our studies so indicate).  So may I suggest you subscribe to one of the two excellent services that I subscibe tothat  summarize or abstract many good books for you in a short 10 to 20 minute read. Often they also provide an audible version for your iPod also from 10 to 20 minutes in length.

Check out Soundview Summaries and getAbstract.  If there are others, let me know.

PUNCHLINE:  Put Rosabeth Moss Kanter on your informal advisory team by buying the book or subscribing to one of the summary services above.  You cannot prevent the legal profession from having a losing streak here – but you can prevent your firm from having one.