I recently wrote about Mark Chinn, a family law attorney from Jackson, Mississippi whom I had the pleasure of meeting last month in Orlando, Florida. Mark’s firm, Chinn and Associates, is one of our Trailblazer firms. He does 100% Value Pricing and is in the process of trashing his timesheets.
Mark has practiced for thirty years and is listed in Best Lawyers in America in Family Law and has written two books published by the ABA on running a family law practice and contributed to two other ABA books. He has also published an ebook, “Dumping the Billable Hour, One Lawyer’s Experience.” All of this, and more, can be found at the firm’s incredible Web site.
Mark picked up my two latest books in Orlando, Measure What Matters to Customers: Using Key Predictive Indicators, and Mind Over Matter. The other day Mark sent me this email, creating another HSD!
I have just completed reading Measuring What Matters to Customers. I couldn’t put it down and finished it off in three days. As I was finishing it I had the mixed emotion of being pleased to finish your message, but sad the story was coming to an end.
You know I have kidded you about how academic Professional’s Guide to Value Pricing was. Well, Measuring ranks right up there as an academic masterpiece, which is important in this day and age when it seems that everybody is just writing what they think. You should have been a college professor and your book would be worthy of text at Harvard Business School.
I have been using business coaches for my family law practice for 20 years and I have read at least a hundred success and management books and I have lectured all over the U.S. and Canada and there are many previously unearthed gems in your book.
First, traditional numbers usually don’t help. I have been telling my advisors and support staff for years, “These numbers don’t seem to help. I can be enjoying an unbelievable trend and then…boom, no business” Or, “No, there are no seasonal trends, sure some people put off divorce during the holidays but sometimes the holidays prompt other problems.” Being told by you in no uncertain terms that there is no certainty is a blessing. Thank you. Other points of import:
- Each customer is different. (That’s what the last one insisted in his recent exit interview…that he was different). So, focus your efforts on each one, not solely on a system for pleasing all.
- We need to pick three leading indicators, and the team needs to do it.
- Team workers are “knowledge workers” and “volunteers” and it is important to call them that and treat them like that.
- With good team members management needs to get out of the way and not demoralize them with negative feedback or scoring; and we further need to eliminate systems and procedures which interfere with what they are doing. We need to release our grip on our systems and ask the team members what systems help and what gets in their way.
- Measuring the wrong thing accurately can throw you completely off. Take time to carefully analyze situations outside of the facts. Your example about the World War II Bombers was unbelievable. The first thought was that the returning planes needed more armor where the bullet holes were. But Abraham Wald came to the opposite conclusion: that the armor needed to be placed where the bullet holes were not because the planes that made it back had survived even though being hit where they were.
- Being efficient at something irrelevant is a sign of impending disaster.
- The real things of value in life cannot be measured, something my more introspective teammates have been trying to tell me for years.
It takes courage to go against the grain and that is what you have done. Keep up the good work.
Wow, thanks Mark. Don’t read Mind Over Matter, I’ll quit while I’m ahead.
You haven’t seen the last of Mark Chinn around VeraSage.
Thanks Mark. You are too kind.