What Does A Real-World Firm Of The Future Look Like?

I’ve been thinking about what would be an appropriate subject for an article from a newly minted Practicing Fellow.  And then it hit me…an article about what a firm looks like that practices Value Pricing!

Let’s make the assumption that you and your firm have committed 100% to throwing out time sheets and eliminating billable time.  What else changes in the firm besides everyone’s mindsets?  I’d like to share some specifics of what changed for us.

One of the most interesting and refreshing benefits of freeing your mind from the captivity of time tracking is the greatly enhanced ability to quickly and effectively embrace all types of new ideas.  It’s like a new world opens up.  For example, a few weeks ago my wife and I had the opportunity to attend a Duckhorn sponsored wine dinner at Bistro By The Tracks here in Knoxville, TN.  We were seated with a couple who both work for the University of Tennessee.  She works in their HR department and he is an economics professor.  Of course, the conversation eventually turned to pricing and economics.  We had a fascinating evening.  I mentioned this conversation to Ron Baker and he made the point that we were seated with strangers, drinking Napa wine and talking about Austrian economics, pricing and self-esteem.  Without Value Pricing, we would not have been open to new ideas and would probably not have made two new friends that evening.  Once you open your mind, the possibilities are endless.

Back to the specifics.  These can be divided into three categories:  work environment, the cloud and social media.

Work Environment:

I don’t think there is any way to truly implement value pricing in a Professional Knowledge Firm (PKF) without also implementing a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) in your firm.  Ron Baker wrote a book review about Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson’s book which explains why ROWE is a core philosophy for a Firm Of The Future (FOF).

Making the move to being an FOF means that everyone in the firm is now focused on results.  The act of changing to a ROWE becomes natural and inevitable.

The Cloud:

We have literally moved all of our firm’s infrastructure into the cloud.  No more physical servers or phone systems.  They’re all gone.

Some resources (e-mail, documents and project management) are in a true virtual cloud environment (we use Google Apps For Business) and others are in a hosted cloud (we use Amazon Web Services). 

Our PBX phone system moved to Grasshopper and we use Skype for all of our incoming and outgoing phone calls.

Social Media:

A surprising number of our customers enjoy and look forward to receiving both personal and business information via social media.  One of the most important parts of using social media to interact with your customers is to do that interacting wherever they prefer to do it.  One customer may love Twitter and another one may feel more comfortable with LinkedIn.

We are active contributors across many of the social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Foursquare).  We use our blog as the hub for everything social.  It links to all of our other social outlets.

What does your Firm Of The Future look like?


  1. Great post, John. This is the kind of post we need from you as a practicing fellow. This is the real life version of what many of us only talk about.


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