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Lawyers: Get Ready for the End of Year Sprint

September 10, 2014

Filed under: Lawyer Coaching,Money,Practice Growth — admin @ 5:22 pm

How are you approaching the end of the year? Yes, we haven’t even reached Halloween, but it’s not too early to decide how you will maximize your time and efforts during the last few months of 2014.

If you’ve been following me for very long, you’ve likely heard me talk about a strategy I call the End of the Year Sprint™. I addressed it last year in my blog, and I’m revisiting the topic because it’s a yearly habit you should be doing to grow your practice. You’ll have to forgive me if some of this advice seems like a rehash; frankly, it is. But I believe this is an important annual process lawyers should complete, and so I am hoping you’ll forgive the repetition.

There is an actual worksheet I’ve created using that title, but this exercise— once you understand it — can actually be done quite easily on a large sheet of blank paper that you’ve divided into four quadrants.

Before I explain the exercise, let’s dig a little deeper into how lawyers typically approach the end of the year. In my experience, there are the two ways they handle it:

The Worst Way

  • The end of year sneaks up on you like a mugger and clobbers you.
  • You are and your team are distracted by the holidays.
  • Cash flow is inconsistent.
  • Suddenly January is here, and you are surprised to see it.

The Best Way

  • You see the end of the year like a finish line and sprint to it with intensity.
  • You sprint with focus and clarity to drive great results.
  • You create a contest or game with your team.
  • You maximize your cash flow.
  • You start setting up 2015 to be the best year ever.

If the “best” way makes sense to you, then here is how I suggest you approach the sprint:

Budget one full hour on this week’s calendar for you to do this exercise. At that time, take out a large sheet of blank paper. (An 11×17 sheet works best, but you can improvise by taping together two standard letter-sized sheets.) Position it horizontally and draw a large cross dividing the sheet into four quadrants.

Label your four quadrants with these headings and follow the instructions:

  1. Cash Flow – To maximize your cash flow, list your best financial opportunities for the rest of the year and put together a quick written plan on how to get them accomplished. Rank your highest dollar cases first.
  2. Marketing – Identify your top five marketing opportunities that will happen before the end of the year and draft a plan on how to get the most out of your marketing efforts.
  3. Projects – Identify your three most important projects you want to complete before year end. If possible, assign a project manager to help you complete them by year end.
  4. Next Year – Answer these questions to set up strategic planning for 2015.
    1. What would it take for 2015 to be the best year ever?
    2. What would you have to do now to start the ground work for 2015?
    3. What support would you need for 2015 to be the best ever? (Do you need to plan a firm retreat? Hire a coach? Join a quarterly group program?)

Filling out these four steps, while not replacing the power of a live workshop, can at least give you the sense of how to set up and do an End of Year Sprint in your own practice.



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