"Cultivate a deep understanding of yourself ― not only what your strengths and weaknesses are but also how you learn, how you work with others, what your values are, and where you can make the greatest contribution. Because only when you operate from strengths can you achieve true excellence." ― Peter Drucker." data-share-imageurl="" style="position:fixed;top:0px;left:0px;">
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Big Ideas

Increase Your Leadership Acumen by Continuously Developing New Skills

"Cultivate a deep understanding of yourself ― not only what your strengths and weaknesses are but also how you learn, how you work with others, what your values are, and where you can make the greatest contribution. Because only when you operate from strengths can you achieve true excellence." ― Peter Drucker

Hey ALA! I hope your summer is going great and you’ve found some time to rest, relax and perhaps reflect on the first half of the year and the impact you have made on those you lead and manage in your organization. Management innovator Peter Drucker believed that “knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” As legal management professionals, we have the greatest impact when we lead and manage effectively, but leadership is not a skill that grows or improves without exercising it by trying new approaches, perhaps failing, learning from those shortcomings and trying again.

That’s where ALA can assist you and add value to your role by helping you further develop your skills, regardless of whether you’re new to the industry or to a role in management or you’re an experienced leader focused on implementing change through innovation. This month’s Legal Management includes a continuing education course on leadership. Read the article, apply the knowledge concepts and then take an exam to receive credit toward a number of professional designations, including CLM, CLE, SHRM and HCI. If continuing education credit isn’t your motivation, the article alone can enhance your leadership toolkit.

Our cover story focuses on the trend of organizations moving toward a data-driven approach when it comes to everything from time allotments and budgeting to business development and analyzing competition. It’s just another example of how firms are aiming to be more innovative when it comes to managing business. This trend follows a broader shift we are seeing with how employees learn and grow their professional skills. For example, there is now a focus on developing our workforce instead of simply training them to do the jobs they were hired for. This approach targets nurturing the growth of people over time instead of training them to follow a standard way of doing things.

Organizations are finding that this approach results in better outcomes, more engaged employees and greater satisfaction with the work they accomplish. This trend follows a broader shift we are seeing with how employees learn and grow their professional skills. For example, there is now a focus on developing our workforce instead of simply training them to do the jobs they were hired for. This approach targets nurturing the growth of people over time instead of training them to follow a standard way of doing things.

Because our focus is on empowering our members to lead and manage the business of law, ALA is the perfect place to learn, develop and try out leadership.

Training creates compliance to a set of standards and can increase production, which in some industries is the measure of success. However, in today’s evolving professional services environment, success is becoming more reliant on creativity, process improvement and innovation. Learning is also favored over educating, as the process of learning is something that people choose to do instead of something that is directed at them. Empathy, trust-building, creativity and leadership are skills that can be taught to people who are willing to learn, but these are not skills that can be developed, practiced and mastered in an onboarding or training session. These soft skills must be tried out, modified and adopted over time.

Because our focus is on empowering our members to lead and manage the business of law, ALA is the perfect place to learn, develop and try out leadership. Come be a part of this community, or get more involved by learning a new skill, attending a conference, contributing your knowledge and good practices to our Online Community, or simply sharing resources like Legal Management with those you work with. Our greatest strength is our members; when we help one another be our best, we are able to achieve true excellence as an association.

I hope to see many of you this fall at one of our new conferences or hear from you if you have a thought, idea or perspective you would like to share, so please stay in touch. Until next time!

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