Like an officer on the battlefield, a strong law firm leader knows to keep fortifying their fighting position, seize opportunities to go on the offensive, and rely on the team around them to step up in the face of challenges.
Attorney John Berry of Berry Law Firm recently joined Crisp Founder & CEO Michael Mogill to talk about how he has been leading his firm through the COVID-19 crisis — and turning the challenge into a positive.
Check out their full conversation to learn exactly what John and his firm have been up to.
0:28 — Never adjust goals. “Most of my staff are former military, and we don’t panic. As we saw things developing, we were able to go 100% remote. It cost us more than we wanted — we had some systems we didn’t have in place — but we never adjusted our goals. The goal stayed the same. The scorecard stayed the same. In fact, yesterday we did our State of the Organization at the end of the quarter and we blew it out of the water on five of our metrics.”
1:19 — Military mindset. “Our job is to represent our clients and to get the best possible results for them, and one of the ways you do that is you use these things to your advantage. COVID brought us back into that military mindset. When you’re out on a patrol and you go into a patrol base, your first priority of work is to set security — and then you start digging in your fighting positions, set up your sectors of fire, and wait for the enemy.”
3:59 — Look for the good. “Anytime there’s adversity, it’s going to reveal character. As a growing organization, we need to develop those mid-level leaders. We need people who are going to step up. COVID is horrible, illnesses are horrible, pandemics are horrible, but you have to dig and look for the good. You’ve got to show some gratitude no matter what the situation is. In the military, it’s the same thing. People who have been in combat and horrible situations, even people with severe PTSD can dig the good out of those times that they had, and the best moments were with their team.”
5:00 — Let leaders lead. “As a leader, fear goes away because you know that people are counting on you. You can’t be worried about yourself. You’ve got to be worried about taking care of your clients and your team. We’ve got to protect everybody, keep everybody healthy. For lawyers, we go into overdrive and we’re there too much. We’ve got to back off and let leaders lead. When something like this happens, we have to step up and make tough decisions.”
11:09 — Control what you can control. “The main thing is you set a goal and then you keep pushing. You’re going to hit adversity at some point, and I’ve seen firms deal with tough situations — but they’ve overcome them. Whatever the problem is, it’s not going to last. There’s going to be another problem. It may not be COVID. It may be an internal problem in your organization. As a leader, you’re a problem solver. Doesn’t matter the size of the problem. You only can control what you can control. Fear is a good thing and it motivates us.”
16:14 — Fear of loss. “The other thing is the fear of loss. If everything goes away tomorrow, how would you feel if you didn’t go down swinging and do everything you could? If everything crumbles and falls apart, did you do everything that you could have done? Things fall apart, but you as a leader have to look yourself in the mirror every morning and say, ‘Did I do absolutely everything to help my team succeed?’”