Full disclosure — Allen Fuqua is a friend as well as a respected colleague. He ushered me into the legal marketing arena, and I had the pleasure of being a member of his team for 7 years. He takes seriously his skills as both a mentor and strategist. Allen is currently the CMO at Winstead, and he has developed a construct for legal marketing professionals (it applies to all professional service marketing teams) that simply but eloquently offers a solution to the greatest challenges of the role. I asked him to share the thinking behind his Smart Work Matrix in this Guest post. If you’re part of a marketing team, heads up — here’s Allen.

It’s Monday morning. And your list of projects includes the following:

• Client appreciation event

• RFP for a prospective client

• Holiday card

• Support for a growing Client Team

• Your Chairman’s pet project

• New attorney integration

• On and on . . .

Each item has a unique due date, and includes reporting to one or more attorneys.  Some of the work may help generate revenue; some may be little more than a vanity project.

For some of the items on your list you can help determine the quality of the work product and/or the client experience. For much of it, there is no way you will impact the ultimate deliverable.

And as you sit at your desk looking at the list, a growing sense of overwhelm and stress builds in your gut. This is going to be a tough week.

How do you set priorities, allocate time and energy, gain clarity, and make a difference?

Is your job just one of endurance? Or is there is a way to approach the myriad roles, responsibilities and tasks with clarity? Is there a professional approach that ensures the work gets done appropriately, gives you a chance to make a difference, and represents progress in your career?

If you are part of a marketing team in a law firm, you have an incredibly difficult job.  It requires a killer combination of the ability to do turn-key execution with little supervision, all the while handling changes, additions and deletions (okay…they rarely have deletions). Combine this with your true stock in trade — the ability to form and manage professional relationships with attorneys. This extraordinary duo of strengths is the key to your success in almost any organization.

Meanwhile, you are what I refer to as terminally sincere — always optimistic, wanting to do your best and looking for a way to improve everything you touch.  This lethal combination of positive attitude and high energy causes you to see every task as something you can make a difference with.  Even improve.

Well the great news is that you are special and incredibly capable. The bad news is that the approach you are currently using condemns you to chase your tail, do the same thing over and over, and end too many projects in disappointment and discouragement — knowing it could have been much better.

Enter The Matrix — A Different Approach

The Smart Work Matrix provides a structure and gives insight into how to professionally approach and execute any role, responsibility or activity you have. This tool will help you maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses . . . and do the same for your organization and your attorneys.

This relatively simple matrix takes your fate out of the hands of others, and gives you control of your work . . . or at least how you will approach your work, set appropriate priorities, and do what you most wan to do — make a difference.

(If you’d like the nitty gritty on how to use the Smart Work Matrix, click here.)

Eric’s Postscript:

If you lead a team in the professional services arena, and Allen has whetted your appetite, you’ll want to check the Managing Law Firm Transition blog where another friend and colleague, Roger Hayse, puts some meat on the bones of the Smart Work Matrix.