3 Mistakes Leaders Make that Harm Law Firm Growth

by Brianna Leung /

Today’s firm leaders are under enormous pressure to drive consistent growth and realize ever-greater profits, and sales plays a key role in generating the business development necessary to achieve those goals. Yet many sales teams underperform and even fall into dysfunction when leaders do not plan for growth in intentional ways. Here are three big mistakes we see leaders make again and again that harm law firm growth:


1 – Imposing a one-size-fits-all definition of sales. When you hold up the rainmaker profile as the only acceptable avenue to business development and career success, you leave behind a lot of valuable talent. Not everyone is capable of hyper-extroverted networking efforts, endless hours spent schmoozing outside of work, and the magical deal-making touch often attributed to these firm superstars. But the good news is that’s just fine. GrowthPlay’s research on talent development has uncovered five roles, not just one, that correlate with success at business development. You may have professionals who fill the role of the Educator, whose strength is in using insight and wisdom. Or the Architect, whose strength is adapting existing solutions to solve problems in different ways. The point is there are many paths to sales success that make use of a diverse array of talents present in your talent pool.


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2 – Not creating collaborative teams. The success of a sales team depends on the competencies the various players bring to the table. It also depends on whether those competencies complement each other so that the team is well rounded and can collaborate effectively. The good news is that leaders don’t have to guess about professionals’ strengths. They can use talent analytics tools such as the GrowthPlay Chally Assessment, a 45-year-old talent-profiling tool that has been used on more than 750,000? people to measure skills and motivations attributed to success in high-performing organizations. GrowthPlay has identified 140? competencies related to sales success and narrowed that field down to the five roles that correlate with success at business development for doer-sellers in particular. Teams need people in all five of the roles to optimize sales success.



3 – Accepting less-than-complete buy-in. We’ve all experienced companies with a carefully crafted mission statement on the wall and day-to-day operations that operate completely separately from the company’s stated values. If leaders want to commit to creating the conditions for sales success, they must get buy-in from all corners of the firm and adjust operations to align with the newly articulated vision and purpose. Don’t let a reliance on the status quo undermine your plans for growth at the firm level.



Most sales teams contain a great deal of untapped potential and do not perform as well as they could. By harnessing the power of research-based talent analytics and strategies for creating effective teams, leaders can make the most of their talent pool and drive greater sales success than ever before.