Proven Strategies Measurable Results


July 21, 2017

Leaders are readers. The best leaders we know are readers. They are always looking for new concepts, ideas, and practices to bring to their team. Create your reading list and get started. Take 15 minutes a day and dive in!

Micki...I don’t have the time to read! If you are like many owners, you are probably thinking you don’t have time each week, let alone each day, to read a book. I get it. I remember the days when I was running a multi-state law firm with 150+ employees and trying to juggle all of the demands being put on me, personally and professionally. Life can be crazy. However, if you have a passion for something or a desire to be better at something, you will commit the time it takes to ensure you are the best. Also, technology is advancing every day and we are able to connect with our favorite books and authors in so many more ways than in the past. I’m still a fan of having the actual book and reading it (I like to make notes in the book, dogear pages to refer to later and create a list of the best parts of the book for future reference, but my friend loves audio books and listens to them while working out. My point is, you can find the time if you are committed to the process. We tend to make time for what is most important, so I encourage you to make time for this.

Here are a few of my favorite reads…I refer to these books routinely when looking for answers on how to solve operational inefficiencies or to gain momentum in different areas.

  • Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What you Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Fast-Growth Firm – Verne Harnish. This is the book I referred to the most when a firm I worked for was experiencing tremendous growth. I still refer to this book several times per year to help me find direction for clients or help me think outside of the box. I also refer to it to evaluate the growth model of the firm and make informed decisions. Hands down, this is one of the books I refer to most often.

  • Rocket Fuel – Gino Wickman & Mark C. Winters. Again, one of my favorites (I’m passionate about law firms and a little competitive, so I always want my firms to be the BEST in their market!). Wickman & Winters do a great job of outlining the roles necessary for a company to succeed and the difference between the Integrator and the Visionary Roles. This book provides owners with answers to many of the nightmare issues they deal with day in and day out of running a business. Wickman & Winters have another great book you should check out called Traction.

  • Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less – Cameron Herold. Double Your Revenue, yes please! Double Your Profit….HECK YEAH!!!! I mean, who wouldn’t want to double their profits, right! Many years ago, a firm I worked with took two days to plan out how we were going to double revenue. We brainstormed and created a roadmap for how we believed we were going to get there. We implemented that plan and it was a turning point for that firm. At Vista, we now walk other firms through this process and have seen some great results! If you are looking to create an action plan, to double your revenue and profit, this is a must read. Cameron’s books are a must on your entrepreneurial quest to have the best, most profitable business. This book has practical and actionable items you can put in place now to make a difference in your practice.

  • Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t – Verne Harnish. This book is also known as Rockefeller Habits 2.0. This book has earned many distinguished awards for business publications. Use this book as a workbook (Harnish provides you the worksheets) to accomplish your vision. You may need to think outside of the box when putting these worksheets into action for your law firm – but if you do and you execute the exercises and then revisit them each six months, you will continually see growth and improvement at your firm.

  • The E Myth Revisited – Michael Gerber. This book can be a little verbose and is likely why it isn’t higher on my reading list, but I do believe this is a must for your business building library.

  • Good to Great – Jim Collins. Excellent read! I’m certain most every entrepreneur has been instructed to read this book at least once in their careers. I would definitely suggest putting this on your reading list. This is one to take on a long airplane ride as it’s very long, but definitely worth the read. You should also add Collins' book, Great By Choice, to your reading list.

  • Death by Meeting – Patrick Lencioni. This is a must read for owners who follow the Good to Great adage of working “on the business, not in the business.” What often happens is an owner will start to feel as though he or she is not in the “know” when they start to put people in the right seats to handle the tasks they have previously handled. So, to eliminate their fear they will create meetings so people can inform the owner about different things they are doing and provide feedback. What happens, unfortunately, is that the feedback turns into directives and instead of continuing to work “on the business” the owners will slide back into working “in the business” because they believe they can do the job better than anyone else. This fable, along with Lencioni’s other book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, are must haves in your reading inventory.

  • How to be a Great Boss - Gino Wickman & Rene Bower. People are the key to your success. They will have the power to make your company great or keep your company mediocre. Your ability to connect with them and help them be the best version of themselves directly relates to your ability to relate to them and encourage them. Wickman provides practical advice and tools that worked for more many different industries. His advice in this book will help you relate to your team and more importantly teach you the difference between leadership and management and how to apply both to your business.

  • The Power Paradox – Dacher Keltner. Okay, this one makes it onto my list because I believe in the theory as he describes it in his book. To be honest, this book is a little boring to read and I don’t refer to it often, but if you are building a great business you need great people on board. Keltner has an interesting theory that I do refer to often when trying to help law firms build great teams for future success.

  • Who – Geoff Smart & Randy Street. Smart & Street offer practical advice on what is commonly known as the “biggest problem in business,” as they put it: hiring. This book will help you find the right people to put in the right seats on your bus.

  • Crucial Conversations – Kerry Patterson. Want to get better at tough conversations? Great read for owners, management team, or anyone that is charged with leading difficult conversations. We believe that tough conversations are critical to high performance and this book walks you through how to have them.

  • Built to Sell – John Warrillow

  • Simplify – Richard Koch

  • Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got – Jay Abraham

  • Guerilla Marketing In 30 Days – Conrad, Levinson & Lautenslager

  • Purple Cow – Seth Godin

If you have a favorite book, please look me up on Facebook or Linkedin and share it with me! I love law firm operations, making firms more profitable and I want to learn, too!

Paul B. Harding
"As our firm grew, it became difficult to track the progress of cases through the various units, along with the customer service provided to our clients. VISTA developed dashboards for all this and more! When viewing our dashboard, I now have all the important data at my fingertips: client contact, file review, the number of demands filed, files placed in suit, and so much more! Our unit managers also use these tools to ensure that attorneys and staff are staying on-track. As Managing Partner, I am pulled in many directions at once and am often out of the office — the dashboard allows me to zero in on issues as they develop, regardless of my location or the time of day. Great solution for us!"
- Paul B. Harding / Managing Partner
Jim Reed
"I have to confess, I was initially skeptical that Vista could significantly improve my firm. Heck, we are a small firm (4 lawyers) in a small city and have been in business for 60+ years. Frankly, we were already doing well and had managed to carve out a successful business handling personal injury and malpractice cases. But I met (and liked) Tim McKey and we were having a good year, so I thought, let’s give them a try to see if they can offer any meaningful improvement. I am happily surprised to say that hiring Vista is one of the best business decisions I ever made. Vista analyzed and made recommendations in a few key areas and helped us implement changes in those areas. In less that one year, we are already reaping substantial dividends from those simple changes. As lawyers, we think we are pretty smart and know our business pretty well, but I can tell you that inviting an outside set of experienced eyes to take a close look at the way your firm operates WILL reveal many things you never saw and many areas for improvement. If you want to REALLY learn about your firm and how to improve it, I HIGHLY recommend a consultation with Vista."
- Jim Reed / Owner
Kenny Harrell
“The Joye Law Firm would whole-heartedly recommend Vista Consulting’s services. It’s been nearly two years since Vista did the initial needs assessment at our firm, followed by several weeks of ‘boots on the ground’ work. With the benefit of hindsight, I can easily say that improvements we’ve made as the result of their services have easily more than paid for the costs of the same (and that was probably true a few months in.) This is true based on improvements in our case management efficiency and especially in regard to better intake procedures. Our average new cases per month have increased 50%, and this is due in large part on our doing a better job of following up on potential new clients.”
- Kenny Harrell / Managing Partner