Several potential client consultations over the last few weeks have put me in mind of the old story about the tortoise and the hare. We all know the lesson, that slow and steady wins the race, and the same is true in business development — though consistent is a more accurate word here than slow. Jumping into rainmaking activity without a solid, strategic plan is like jumping into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim: you may do a few uncoordinated strokes, generating lots of splashing, but you won’t get much of anywhere. In fact, you may get so tired you drown.
The caveat to the slow and steady approach is that waiting until the plan is perfect is just as fatal as not planning at all — and maybe more so. If you refine and rework your plan to the point that it covers all contingencies, sets up a flawless strategy that takes account of every possibility and leaves no opportunities unexplored, you’ll never move from planning to action. The fear of making mistakes or overlooking some favorable condition creates inaction or the disjointed, uncoordinated action that tends to accompany having no plan at all.
The answer? Make a plan. Don’t wait for it to be perfect. Start implementing, and then refine your plan. That’s the process you’ll follow for the rest of your rainmaking career, and it’s the only way to start and finish strong. Want more information? See Chapter Three of The Reluctant Rainmaker: A Guide for Lawyers Who Hate Selling. In the meantime, consider this month’s quotes about hurry, fear, and action.
Quotes of the Month:
Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.
For a nation which has an almost evil reputation for bustle, bustle, bustle, and rush, rush, rush, we spend an enormous amount of time standing around in line in front of windows, just waiting.
Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry.
We have time, there’s no big rush.
Action expresses priorities.
Never confuse motion with action.
There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.
~John F. Kennedy
When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.
You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.
Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.
The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery