Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Taking Off the Blinkers--with Scenario Planning

A loud conversation is going on via legal periodicals, the blogosphere, Web 2.0 sites and at legal conferences about whether BigLaw is dying—and, if so, what other delivery models will fill clients’ needs and thrive. Although I’m enjoying the larger conversation—and enjoying watching the bets and side bets being made and taken—I’m also dismayed at the blinkeredness of some debaters.

Many, perhaps understandably, consider this topic solely from the position where they’re heavily invested and from which they see no possibility to reposition, even if they wanted to do so.

Too few on either side of this debate seem unable to suspend their lobbying efforts long enough to intellectually consider the possibility that their “put it all on red” bets may not be the winning ones.

And too few demonstrate the capacity to consider a variety of possible futures, none of which have come to pass yet and on none of which any of us should bet the farm without first exploring what other futures would look like and how our beloved strategies would fare there.

Worst of all, too many smart people—people who ought to know better—are not only behaving as though what’s happening today will continue forever, but also like none of our competitors (those stupider than us, right?) will change anything they’re doing in response to today’s and tomorrow’s events. To me, this behavior sounds like the kind of shortsightedness that helped get us into this current mess.

However … for those legal marketers, practice group chairs, and firm leaders who would to take time out to explore some alternate futures and consider how firms of various kinds might best position themselves to thrive in those possible futures—I invite you to consider scenario planning.

In fact, I invite you to attend this year’s Senior Marketers Program prior to the upcoming 2009 annual conference of the Legal Marketing Association, when the entire morning will be devoted to an interactive scenario planning workshop. The program will be held on Wednesday, April 1, at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center. Only ten seats are left. The price is wonderfully recession-priced at $395 for LMA members who will attend the LMA conference and at $595 for those who wish to attend only the Senior Marketers Program. Registration and program details can be found here.

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