Case Studies

#12 Company Reference
Madrid, Spain, 2016-2018
Law firm; banking & finance division
4 Team members
Starting Point
The bank has the power in the banking law business, specializing in financing. It is the one who presents to the final client (the debtor) a list of possible law firms to hire. Finally, it is the recipient of the financing who chooses the law firm that will handle the operation. Although price is a determining factor in the client's decision, it is also true that trust is critical. This confidence is perceived in two specific aspects. First, the price offered is not subject to subsequent modifications. Secondly, the service provided by the firm has a robust quality and efficiency, not conditioned by the amount of remuneration.

The conclusions that can be reached, after careful reflection, are as follows:
  1. It is necessary to improve the management of the group, so that it can become a true high-performance team.
  2. It is essential to resolve the conflict of expectations, which occurs between the prescriber (bank) and the end customer.
  3. The process for resolving this conflict consists of the following steps:
    1. Reach the level of executability necessary to develop a complete listening process.
    2. Model the perception map with the expectations that become known through the listening process.
    3. Synthesize the expectations, in principle contradictory, of prescriber and client.

First Phase—Foundations
The implementation of the Listen to Sell program in the firm’s banking division has to start with the expectations of its director, Abraham Nájera, which at the end of February 2016 are:

  1. Changing the law market (at least in my area), doing things differently than they are now.
  2. Also, learn to compete with guarantees (and be aware of what I do) in the talent attraction and retention market.
  3. Creating a business model (firm structure) different from the current one (partners - lawyers).

From these initial expectations of Mr. Nájera, it is necessary to involve the rest of his work group members, starting by presenting the project to them and listening to them to know their expectations.
On April 8th, on the occasion of presenting the project to the Nájera's team, their expectations are known, ranging from "success" to "tranquility, as a basis for being at ease in all areas," to "stability as a basis for good development." The team members conclude that developing prestige will help them to meet their expectations. This conclusion ended on May 20th when the team decided they no longer wished to participate in the program. That is a challenging moment for Abraham, who wants the best possible development for them, but it further strengthens his conviction in the process.

The work schedule is the next element to be considered for program development, starting with a four-hour per session structure. When a sufficient level of executability has been reached, as well as the availability of products with high added value, it will allow the work carried out to be materialized in tangible business results: progressive increase of the offer-acceptance ratio (oar). The work schedule foreseen to initiate the development of the program will be modified and adapted to the dynamics of each moment in order to guarantee that the expected results are obtained.

The consistent development of the elements of the Listening to Sell program should progressively lead to a twofold result: Fulfillment of the team’s expectations, and and increase in the offer-acceptance ratio.

The starting point of this indicator is to be established for the banking law business on the basis of the following parameters:

  1. Geographical scope of the market where the firm carries out its activity.
  2. Geographic scope of the market where the firm operates.
  3. Number of transactions carried out in the said market for each of the business lines that have been defined.

Coherence is a fundamental element of a prestige model; to avoid its devastating antonym (incoherence), the decision-making process must be present throughout the development of the program. That aspect is especially true for the design of the strategy to be followed in order to achieve the expected results. Independently of this, the rest of the elements that integrate the program (productive balance, structure of collaborators, and flow of activities) must be reviewed and adapted to the specific circumstances of each moment. In that sense:

  1. On April 15th, the team decides to implement the Process Stoppage method, so that progress can be made in gaining efficiency, which is currently lost due to the impact of unforeseen tasks on the team's agendas and the need to dedicate time and resources to correct errors.
  2. In mid-May, the team decides to implement the first functionality of the Innovative Flow of Activities, carrying out a daily analysis of customer needs and expectations.
  3. The improvement of the decision-making process begins with the deployment of brainstorming as a tool, which allows the identification of the need for a broader focus on research beyond legal matters.

Executiveness—The development of the Executiveness Comprehensive Profile (ECP) is the central element of the program, as it is the one that will allow us to reach and progressively develop the influencing capacity needed to deploy the model of sustainable competitiveness based on prestige.
The essence of the element with which we will develop the capacity to influence—emotional energy—, must be present throughout the program, starting with a precise location of emotions within the global environment of affective phenomena.
The first block of this element will be aimed at understanding and adopting the fundamental behaviors of the ECP, which correspond to the individual level of executiveness.

It is important to remember that the main characteristics of the learning curve for each new behavior are:

  1. Uniqueness - Each person is different.
  2. Loss - We lose some capabilities to acquire others.
  3. Capacity - The result is not theoretical but a practical and actual capacity to give better results.

Once these process elements have been reviewed, the facilitators and Abraham's team reflect on the true human potential and the role of the leader-teacher in its development. The Enrique V case study is the tool used to carry out this dynamic.

The central element of the integral executive profile is life purpose. It is, therefore, unquestionable that this is the place to start.

  • What is it? The raison d'être of each person.
  • What is its true importance? It is essential for sustainable prosperity based on deep and true happiness.
  • Where and how can we find it? Or do we have to define it? The purpose lies within us and is unique. We have to identify it but not define it.
  • What do we need to do about this? Emotional freedom is the first element considered necessary to identify the purpose of life. For this, it is essential to adopt the behavior that allows us to reach it, freeing the mind from emotional pollutants. The second necessary element is natural optimism, the fruit of emotional balance. That requires the practice of meditation.
  • How do we know what purpose is? We know that we have identified the purpose of life when we feel, with extraordinary energy, which is the path to follow.

Based on this summary reflection on the purpose of life, Abraham Nájera's "journey" is prepared so that he can identify it. On July 1st, the first approach to Abraham's purpose in life is established, which is “fascinating sublimation.” From this point on, the identity that channels the object of influence begins to develop. From identifying the project leader's purpose (fascinating sublimation), the development of the Identity Matrix begins.

Customer Expectations—In the first week of July, with the adoption of the first behaviors of the integral executive profile, the Perception Map begins to be deployed. To this end, a round of contacts with already known clients is initiated so that we can start to learn about their needs-expectations.

Second Phase—Robust Contracts
The analysis of the legal sector in Spain during the First Phase of this program allows us to identify several trends. The first is that two opposing forces are fighting for space: the desire for high-service remuneration versus a more significant number of increasingly qualified lawyers. The second reality is that clients expect increasingly integrated services that facilitate their business processes to the greatest extent possible. There is a growing trend towards "integrated multidisciplinary processes." The third is that globalization also affects the business model of the legal profession. Better, more efficient, and simplified services are becoming more common in the offer to clients, which is not limited to the scope of national borders.
The synthesis of these three realities of today's legal market leads to the conclusion that it is necessary to:

  1. Listen more and better to clients; be more focused on their expectations.
  2. Spend more time developing added value for clients.

Both conclusions imply that less time should be spent on repetitive work.

After a thorough reflection of the above realities and conclusions, it was decided to focus this second scenario on the "development of a computer system (application) that allows elaborating the different types of contracts in the Banking and Finance area in an automated and error-free way." Of course, an essential part of the agenda will also be devoted to listening to customers in order to get to know their expectations.

The term executiveness is understood in the context of the competitiveness program as “the ability to assume the responsibilities inherent to the behaviors to be adopted in order to obtain specific results."

Executiveness analysis— As a starting point for developing the team's ability to influence, an analysis of the team's ability to influence is carried out before the deployment of the integral executive profile begins. In this initial phase, the assessment focuses only on level 1 (Individual) of the profile.

By the end of October, the four essential criteria of the matrix are defined. From this point on, Abraham's team begins to develop the process of integrating each of the essential criteria into their business description.

Table 1: Najera's Identity Matrix

Software Application—The preparation of contracts in the Banking and Finance area has different characteristics, depending on the management type (refinancing, real estate financing, etc.). Therefore, developing a software application that allows automated editing of the different types of contracts should be the final result. The start has to be the design of a specific application for each type of contract. Keeping in mind the final objective of developing a global editor, the analysis made for each type of contract must contemplate the integration of all those similar procedures, regardless of the type of contract being worked on.
The second aspect to consider is that it is a law firm. Therefore, the development of its added value has to be focused on the application's functionalities rather than the IT aspects. To this end, a strong alliance with recognized IT experts must be established from the outset. This alliance must guarantee at least two elements. The first is the use of state-of-the-art technology. It is more than likely that customers will end up interacting with the application in some of its practical functions. Working with technologies that are not the most advanced would damage the effort to acquire progressive prestige in the market, given the perceptual enhancement effect of the comparison with "the best." In other words, if the customer is using applications for his daily work that are well designed and efficient, as well as comfortable and pleasant, the fact that our application does not have these same attributes would generate a perception contrary to the process of prestige.
The second element that must guarantee the alliance with computer experts is the quality of the work. An application that is not fully functional and robust, devoid of operating errors, should be discarded for the reasons given above.

Mapping Expectations—Even though increasing productivity is the central focus of the scenario, listening to customers to determine their expectations is an essential and cross-cutting element of the entire project. To this end, the project team decided to establish a round of individualized meetings with one or two clients/prescribers per week until the end of the year so that the firm’s Perception Map can begin to be drawn up.
By the end of December, a first view of the Perception Map is already available, allowing some preliminary conclusions to be drawn.

The first expectations is “empathic diligence,” which means the ability to efficiently manage the process - services are provided with precision, according to their nature (e.g., accounting must always balance) - without losing focus on the purpose of the process and knowing/meeting the real needs of the service recipient or their specific circumstances.
The second expectation is “recognized specialization.” The third one is “solve risks.”

The conclusion reached by the team is that the top three priorities for the client-prescribers, as a whole, are:

  1. Ability to efficiently manage the process without losing focus on the end of it (empathetic diligence: 20%).
  2. Prescription occurs when specialization in an area is recognized in the market (recognized specialization: 19%).
  3. Appropriately weighing risks and accompanying them with the best solution (solving risks: 11%).

Results—At the end of 2018, the income grew a 10% compared to the average of the previous eight years and 5 times in 2017. Besides the financial result, Mr. Nájera was congratulated by the firm's ownership for the management of his team. In 2019 he was invited to become a partner in the firm.
The development of an efficient software application must respect a series of steps guaranteeing its functionality and robustness. The first of these steps is the differentiation between the analysis and design/development phases (alpha and beta) and end users' use. The second aspect is the sequence of these phases:

  1. Analysis carried out by business experts (legal, in this case).
  2. Design carried out jointly by business and IT experts (engineers).
  3. Development carried out by programmers under the coordination of IT engineers.

Figure 1: Chart of expectations analyzed.