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One of the biggest challenges for growing a collaborative practice is finding the time to learn new skills, attend meetings and trainings, and implement strategies for building a collaborative practice.
How can professionals with busy lives, demanding clients, and the need for maintaining a certain number of billable hours transform their practice?
In my work collaborative professionals, I have discovered that the key to accelerated growth comes from the choices professionals make about how they are going to spend their time and money, and with whom they will spend it. Successful collaborative practitioners have made a deliberate choice about their commitment to growing their collaborative practice and it is this commitment that has provided the foundation for their accelerated growth.
When my clients tell me they “don’t have the time” to attend forums, go to trainings, or implement practice growth strategies such as meeting with referral sources to educate them about collaborative practice, what they are really saying is, “I have made a choice that something else is more important.”
It may seem like there are no choices and the thought of transforming a practice is beyond your control. However, you have more control than you realize. In the book The Power of Living Your Values, by Hyrum Smith, he crystallizes this thought: “We can be in control of our lives, and that control comes partly from realizing that we are constantly making choices.”
I just returned from the 11th annual IACP forum in Washington D.C. where 650 people, attended a three-day conference. At the conference, new relationships were formed, newcomers learned from experienced practitioners, and the majority of attendees left with a renewed sense of confidence, excitement, and a clearer sense of direction on how to transform their practice.
The professionals who attended the meeting made a choice to spend money and time on something that was important to them. The choices we make, including those about time, are a matter of confirming what really matters to us.
Ask yourself, “What matters most to me? What would I really like to accomplish? The answer to these questions will act as a guide for making choices that are in alignment with your values, passion, and goals.
Jennifer Tull from Austin Texas is one of the collaborative professionals I have had the privilege to work during the last four years. I have watched her practice grow from a handful of cases to more than 145 collaborative cases. I asked what formed the foundation for her success in growing her practice. Her answer: “I was passionate about Collaborative Law and the benefits to clients, to children, to me, and to society as a whole. I bought the concept 100 percent, and saw this as a way that I could continue to practice family law and do other things that I wanted to do. I made the decision that I was going to say, ‘yes’ to everything that supported me in doing this practice, and ‘no’ to everything else.”
My goal in writing this article is to remind you that you have the control to create a practice that brings you joy and improves the lives of your clients. This control comes from making choices about how you spend your time and resources.
One strategy I have found helpful is to start each day asking the question, “What am I going to do today to close the gap between what I am doing and what matters to me?”
At the end of the day, I ask yourself, “What have I done today that is consistent with this value? What do I need to do more of? Is there anything I have done that does not reflect this value?”
You will begin to see results by simply increasing your awareness of what is important to you and how you spend your time.
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
Elizabeth Ferris has served organizations as a marketing consultant for more than 20 years. She started Ferris Consulting in April, 2000. The company was created to help organizations and individuals achieve accelerated growth.
Liz specializes in assisting attorneys, mental health professionals and financial specialists to grow their practice through result-oriented marketing and practice development strategies. She has developed strategic marketing plans for collaborative practice groups, financial groups and law firms across North America including, Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, California, Ontario, Southern Arizona, Minnesota, New York, Colorado Springs, Atlanta and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
Liz and her team of marketing specialists created the first international collaborative practice logo, tagline, brochure and direct mail campaign. This campaign resulted in printing over 350,000 brochures and direct mail pieces promoting collaborative practice throughout North America.
Liz previously held senior management positions in business development. At IRG, a wholly owned subsidiary or Cobalt corporation (Blue Cross Blue Shield United of Wisconsin), Liz was vice president of business development and responsible for increasing revenues from $6 million to $40 million over a seven year period.
Liz is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is on the board of directors of the Grand Avenue Club, an organization that helps people with mental illness lead productive lives.
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