HedsUP! From Hedley Consulting

Welcome to the Autumn
issue of HedsUP!

The Loneliest Job in the World?

“Being prime minister is a lonely job... you cannot lead from the crowd.”
Margaret Thatcher
Autumn 2012

The Loneliest Job in the World?
Leading a firm in a turbulent and threatening market requires a certain type of person - someone who is comfortable in their own skin and prepared to make fair, objective and sometimes very difficult decisions. It is also a role that is characterised in many firms by loneliness. Not in the sense of an absence of friends or the manifestation of a social inadequacy but rather a necessary detachment from the body of the partnership in order to discharge one's duties.

In working with this group of hardy souls, I find myself as much a mentor as an advisor. Indeed for some this is my primary role as they seek to bring an external perspective into the increasingly introspective set of challenges with which they deal every day. Whilst it is easy to talk about the need to “stand in the shoes of the client” and to “look to the horizon rather than the next set of performance results”, the reality is not so easy.
The great leader is distinguished by an ability to flip-flop between apparently contradictory demands and to make today the decisions that will define the future of the firm whilst ensuring that it remains in business in order to realise this potential.

I hope that you enjoy this issue of HedsUP! If you have any questions or would like further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes,
Andrew Hedley
Andrew Hedley

On your desktop

Hed2Head, Hedley Consulting’s blog, is live!

Hed2Head, the blog of Hedley Consulting, is now live and be accessed either via www.hedleyconsulting.com or directly at www.hed2head.com. Complementing our longer articles, master classes and knowledge pieces, Hed2Head will provide regular snapshots and opinion on the latest market developments and emerging trends.

Are You Clear About Why Your Firm Is Seeking A Merger?

A fundamental question is why it might make sense for your firm to merge. Put most simply, a merger makes sense if the result is a better opportunity to compete together than alone. Becoming more competitive can mean a number of things – creating an ability to grow revenues faster than costs, to reduce costs and so utilise assets better, to open up new markets, to improve financial strength or to reduce risks. Creating competitive advantage also means improving profitability and shareholder returns in ways that are sustainable. It is through these lenses that any opportunity should be viewed.

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How to identify the ideal merger candidate that fits into your firm’s strategic jigsaw

Absolute clarity is crucial at the outset of any search for a merger partner. Do you know what you are looking for? How you will know when you find it? While the firm’s overall strategy will have identified merger as the best means of achieving its vision, creating a clear picture of the sort of firm that will deliver these objectives requires more work and a detailed appreciation of the dynamics at play.

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Horizon Plan

It is self-evident that, without a clear and robust approach to implementation, even the most well-crafted of strategic plans will founder. A continuous longer term planning cycle is required. This article considers how such an approach may be developed in law firms. When thinking about strategy, there are some ‘big issue’ questions that should be considered. These are all forward looking and implicit in each is the notion of change, adaptation and dynamism. These big issues are not fixed in time; they are moving continuously, dynamically and unpredictably.

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Where did all the fun go?

In the brave new world of Six Sigma, LPO and BPR it is all too easy to forget that, for the vast majority, this approach to legal service delivery isn’t what was signed-up to when entering the profession. However, with pricing under pressure and a fixed-fee basis increasingly the norm, better management is needed. But modern business practices, information technology, knowledge management and the rise of artificial intelligence are widely viewed as the enemies. They are seen as disruptive forces altering a comfortable status quo forever.

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Taking the Inside-Out Perspective

In devising their marketing and business development strategies, firms tend to focus on being 'client-led' and 'competitor-aware'. I term this an outside-in approach, founded in the belief that the organisation should configure itself to present the best possible fit with current and emerging opportunities whilst simultaneously nullifying competitive threats. Whilst not incorrect, a competition-based approach only addresses part of the strategic challenge.

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News Bytes

Cambridge Marketing College Fellowship

Andrew Hedley has been elected a Fellow of Cambridge Marketing College at which he is the Course Director of the CIM Professional Diploma in Professional Services Marketing, the only CIM accredited qualification focused on the needs of the professional services sector. For more information about the programme click here.

Law Management Section Merger Toolkit

The Law Management Section Mergers Toolkit, with two chapters contributed by Andrew Hedley, is now available to pre-order. Edited by past chair of the LMS Nigel Haddon, the toolkit is designed to help firms gain a better understanding of the merger process and provides practical guidance throughout. Andrew Hedley chapters consider the strategic drivers for merger and how to unlock the merger dividend. For more information or to order a copy click here.

The Cambridge Chartered Programme

Andrew Hedley has been appointed as a specialist tutor on Cambridge Marketing College's new Chartered Programme. This is a unique initiative aimed at helping delegates gain and maintain their Chartered Marketer status through a structured range of activities from networking events, through courses to self-study materials. For more information about the college click here or to download a copy of the Chartered Programme prospectus click here.

Client Strategy in a Changing Legal Market Report

Andrew Hedley’s Client Strategy in a Changing Legal Market report has now been published and is available to purchase online. Client strategy sits at the heart of all strategy. Without the ability to attract and retain clients, at a price which delivers an acceptable level of profitability, no business can be viable in the longer term. To read more or to order the publication click here.

Developing Strategic Client Relationships Report

Andrew Hedley’s comprehensive report, Developing Strategic Client Relationships, published by ARK Group, continues to attract purchasers from around the world. Running to over 150 pages, with case studies of leading firms and ground breaking initiatives in this area, the report brings a much needed strategic perspective to client development and relationship management. For more information about the report email enquiries@hedleyconsulting.com.

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