By Josh Beser, in-house counsel
This is the third of a series of posts on law firm business development from the perspective of in-house counsel. Josh is an associate general counsel and serves as an adviser to Law Leaders Lab, leading our 5 Coffee Challenge initiative.
[I]ncremental changes, taken together, can be extraordinary…
Relationships are good for their own sake, and any opportunities that might come out of relationships can take years. It’s important to truly embrace this upfront. Expectations of immediate gain are not compatible with lasting relationships.
Meeting Scott Heiferman, co-founder of Meetup.com in 2001, did not itself put Jason Fried on the Groupon board in 2009. In fact, his timeline omits one very important, overarching activity that made most of the events post-1999 possible: he co-founded 37Signals, which has become a very successful company, and he leveraged that success into writing several books and for other publications. Clearly, the relationships he formed played a part in building that success. As the co-founder of a successful company with this meaningful relationship built over many years, Fried was both capable of handling the Groupon opportunity and he was actually presented with it, instead of another, highly qualified person. Breakout opportunities are available to highly qualified people with the relationships that make them available.
Most relationships will not lead to breakout opportunities. If they did, the opportunities wouldn’t be so extraordinary. However, relationships often do lead to incremental changes over time, whether it’s more information, a better perspective, or additional relationships you build through the first one. Those incremental changes, taken together, can be extraordinary too. And let’s not forget that meeting interesting people is fun – you get to spend time with and learn from people you admire and, especially if you’re meeting people in jobs different from yours, you can learn more about how other people see business issues from different perspectives. Just remember that it has nothing to do with looking for a client, a job or a side project now. Instead, you’re learning, meeting excellent people, and laying the groundwork to find extraordinary, interesting opportunities along the way.
This concept of building relationships with people over time is at the foundation of the 5 Coffee Challenge, an online business development training program that focuses on the basics – how to meet and create meaningful relationships with interesting people. We like to think of it as basic training for relationship development. Learn more here.