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What’s Your Legal Team’s Brand - Introduction

Written by Laura J. Greenberg on . About #optimizing in-house legal.

The Importance of Purpose

Lawyers are problem solvers. Generally, we focus on what needs to be solved and how to solve it. The why is often an afterthought. But it shouldn’t be.

Simon Sinek explained great leaders inspire teams by starting with why and codified the Golden Circle (what, how, why)[1]:

  • WHAT is what you do (the value you add)
  • HOW is how you do it (the strategy) and
  • WHY is your purpose (the unifying concept of why your team exists).[2]

Hopefully, you know what you do and how you do it. But do you know why you do it?

I prefer developing a team’s purpose - their why and reason for being - in lieu of drafting mission and vision statements for the legal team.

Often this exercise is pushed to the bottom of the to do list. But it shouldn’t be. Discovering your purpose has the ability to transform your legal team’s performance, increase engagement, cut costs, and add value to the company.

Still not convinced? Data from reputable sources highlights how having a clear purpose positively impacts an individual, team, and company’s performance:

  • Gallup research shows that just a 10% improvement in employees' connection with the purpose of their organization leads to an 8.1% decrease in turnover and a 4.4% increase in profitability. [3]
  • Companies that operate with a clear and driving sense of purpose, beyond the goal of just making money, outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of 10 between 1996 and 2011.[4]
  • Consumers are 4 to 6 times more likely to buy from, trust, champion, and defend companies with a strong purpose.[5]

Contrary to popular advice, I’ve found it’s easier to start with “what” and “how” to get to “why”. The “what” and “how” is what is being done right now. Moving from the tangible (“what” and “how”) and to the intangible (“why”) is generally easier than jumping right into an existential conversation about why we exist.[6]

First, we’ll examine the value of your legal services, move on to how your team provides those services, take a look at your users, then dive into the importance of clarifying your team’s purpose before ending with suggestions for building your team’s brand. It will look a little something like this:

1. What + Value: What is the Value of Your Legal Team?

2. How + Strategy: Is Your Legal Team Like Ikea, Apple, or McDonalds?

3. Users + Legal Design: Does Legal Your Team Work With User Personas?

4. Purpose + Emotion: How Does Legal Make You Feel?

5. Brand + Branding: What’s Your Legal Team Marketing Plan?


[1] See Sinek’s Tedx Talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

[2] See Rob Booth from The Crown Estate explain his interpretation of What, How, and Why for legal teams - See more from The Lawyer On-demand video: Finding your purpose and understanding what a legal team strategy and mission should look like

[3] Gallup’s To Get Your People's Best Performance, Start With Purpose

[4] Ernst and Young Global: Can a purpose, beyond profit, really drive results and long-term value? And thanks to Rob Booth from the Crown Estate for highlighting this study in the below video.

[5] Forbe's Global Study Reveals Consumers Are Four To Six Times More Likely To Purchase, Protect And Champion Purpose-Driven Companies

[6] See more from The Lawyer On-demand video:Finding your purpose and understanding what a legal team strategy and mission should look like

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