If you want to grow your practice into something that makes you happy, then you need to spend some time figuring out how to work more effectively.

That is, start by optimizing for effectiveness over efficiency.

Many lawyers are obsessed with efficiency, especially the ones who heavily embrace technology. But, focusing too much on efficiency  can be a trap.

Remember: if you make a low-value task more efficient, what are you actually accomplishing? Here’s what the well-regarded business consultant Peter Drucker said…

“There is nothing so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.”

Automation can deliver exponential efficiency. But applied to an ineffective workflow, how does it help?

Mostly, it just scales the uselessness. 

And this is not how you grow a practice into something that’s enjoyable. Trust me.

Too many people obsess over efficiency (and not effectiveness). Why is that?

Probably because when you make something efficient you can see a tangible result right away (and we like to see tangible, immediate results when we take action).

But, seeing the results from doing things effectively takes longer.

The payoff is greater from effectiveness.

Yet, because it takes longer to see the payoff, it’s harder for people to grasp the power of effectiveness.

For example, it’s more effective to create a marketing system that’s built on communicating to one type of person. This is so-called niche-marketing.

Niche marketing works, and it’s powerful. But it takes time to take root, and to develop. 

It’s like planting seeds in good soil, and watering the soil. This is an effective way to grow plants or trees.

But it takes time. So most people would rather just to go buy a plant. 

It’s easier, right?

And, likewise, it’s easier to build a website and then pay Google or Facebook to drive traffic to it.

Paying for digital ads is efficient and costs less than billboards, but is it effective? The answer is probably not.

Running ads, without considering how that fits in with a more important top level marketing system, is almost always ineffective (or not as effective as it could be).

But most people have trouble seeing this.

People don’t generally stop to consider that, when you ask, “is it effective to run ads?” what does the word “effective” refer to?

If you say it’s an effective way of getting new leads then, yes it’s effective. 

But the better question to ask (in trying to make your marketing system work more effectively) is, “how can I get more high quality clients?”

And, what can I do to convert them from strangers (who know nothing about me) to trusting clients who value my advice, follow it, and happily pay to receive it?

Subtle but Powerful Truth

If you want better clients (and want to weed out or not attract the low-value high-maintenance ones), then you need to work on effectiveness before you start with efficiency.

You don’t want to optimize the wrong thing, right?. 

So you need to be thoughtful, strategic and patient.

If you chase the quick fixes and delude yourself into thinking it’s only about efficiency (and not effectiveness), then you’ll keep struggling.

As Peter Drucker also famously observed,

“Efficiency is about doing things right and effectiveness is about doing the right things.”

Often, it’s not obvious what the “right things” are.

So let’s stop and consider this… 

What might happen if you created a marketing strategy of  (1) being super picky about the clients you work with, and then (2) making those clients as happy as possible?

The answer is: nothing amazing would happen right away.

But, if you’re patient and willing to keep following this effective marketing strategy, then eventually you’d get really amazing results.

Over time, you’d be attracting and working with much better clients.

And you’d start to feel a lot happier with your law practice.

But this takes time, so if you’re impatient or desperate…

You could just run some ads and get a lot of new low-quality leads right away.