Taylor English Tenets
As the business world further shifts from transactional to relational, our TED Tenets represent behaviors that can foster strong relationships. Changing landscapes and expectations make interpersonal communication, time management and active listening the gold standard for internal and external client management. Adopting the 23 TED Tenets translates to our attorneys and staff working from the same standards, which bolsters individual and collective success. We can continue to evolve our legacy as a purpose-built law firm by having guideposts that encourage collaboration, productive feedback and solutions-oriented thinking. The TED Tenets reinforce a commitment to open communication, responsiveness, compassion and excellence, which will define the Taylor English culture and client experience for years to come.
The author Peter Drucker famously wrote that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Taylor English has taken Drucker’s words to heart by focusing on establishing a culture that focuses on things that matter – encouraging behaviors that help build strong relationships both internally and externally, and establishing a commitment to delivering high-quality legal services. We have adopted 23 TED Tenets and we have trained lawyers and staff to apply these Tenets every day, which will bolster individual and collective success within the firm and foster the successes of our clients. Taylor English is a purpose-built law firm, and the adoption of the TED Tenets and our continued focus on living the behaviors and engaging in the activities outlined by those Tenets will encourage greater collaboration, productive feedback, and solutions-oriented thinking. The Tenets reinforce our commitment to open communication, responsiveness, compassion and excellence, which will define the Taylor English culture and client experience for years to come and will be a market differentiator.
BE FANATICAL ABOUT RESPONSIVENESS
Respond quickly to all emails, texts, and phone calls (be a 2-hour responder) with at least an acknowledgement that you’ve received the message and will be in touch. Then be in touch as soon as possible and keep those involved continuously updated on the status of outstanding issues. Being fanatical about responsiveness shows our clients (internal and external) that they’re important to us and that we’re eager to assist.
DELIVER OUTSTANDING CLIENT SERVICE
Taylor English exists solely to service our clients, and they deserve the best from each of us. It’s also the best way to keep our clients. When providing answers, point out other legal developments in which they may be interested, or attach a Law Alert. When another lawyer is servicing your client, follow up to make sure the service met the client’s needs.
BE AGGRESSIVE ABOUT SHARING INFORMATION
We don’t work in a vacuum. Every day we’re working for or with others – be they our external or our internal clients. Keep them “top of mind”. Ask yourself: “Am I treating them as if they’re my most important client? “Is there information I need to convey to ensure that all stakeholders in that client or project are up-to-date?
RUN OUR OPERATION PROFITABLY
Be rigorous about doing the basic things upon which a profitable business depends. For lawyers, this includes entering your time promptly after the services are performed, reviewing and approving pre-bills quickly, and ensuring that your clients pay for the services when payment is due. For staff, it includes ensuring your tasks are completed timely and accurately.
MAKE QUALITY PERSONAL
Have a healthy disdain for mediocrity. Demonstrate a passion for excellence and take pride in the quality of everything you touch and everything you do. From the spelling of a client’s name to the colors of a logo, details matter. Good is not good enough. Always ask yourself, “Is this my best work?” Everything we touch bears Taylor English's signature, and excellence is the responsibility of all members since we all benefit or suffer from our brand.
MAXIMIZE YOUR TIME
As in any for-profit business, there’s always something to do. If you’re light on billable work, spend time identifying client prospects, reaching out to prospects or clients, or engaging in brand-building and marketing activities. We’re all responsible for doing things that will make our business stronger and more profitable.
EMBRACE DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES
Be open to learning from others, no matter what role they have, and regardless of their years of experience, background, tenure with Taylor English, etc. We make better decisions when we consider multiple perspectives.
SEE FEEDBACK AS A GIFT
Tracking progress toward our goals is critical for our success. Without measurement and feedback, we have no way to know how we’re doing. Be eager to get feedback from whatever source and be eager to give it, constructively.
MAKE SMART BUSINESS DECISIONS
While there are endless clients who need and want our help, we can’t work with all of them. Select and do business with clients who align with our Tenets, and who can and will pay for the value we add.
MAKE EVERY INTERACTION COUNT
Beyond the traditional sales activities we normally think of, every interaction, whether external or internal, is actually a sales activity. Showcase the quality of our firm, our culture, and our people with every interaction and be mindful of how your interaction is perceived.
Gratitude has been proven to be essential for strong relationships, and is core for both personal and business health. Invest the time and effort to express gratitude to our clients who trust in us and to our colleagues upon whom we rely.
CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR
Being a member of Taylor English is not about you and, in fact, the success of each of us depends on all of our colleagues. Don’t let your ego or personal agenda get in the way of doing what’s best for the client, Taylor English, or your colleagues. Act without ego and become a humble teacher.
TRY TO GET TO “YES”
Given the complex questions and challenges we face daily, it’s often easier to respond to requests by explaining why it can’t be done, rather than finding a way to get it done. Strive to make “no” the answer of last resort and, instead, work to discover a solution that, while not perfect, moves as close to “yes” as possible.
LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND
Listening is more than “not speaking.” Give others your undivided attention (turn off your cellphone, close your computer). Be present and engaged. Minimize the distractions and let go of the need to agree or disagree. Suspend your judgment and be curious to know more, rather than jumping to conclusions.
BE HONEST BUT COMPASSIONATE
In our desire to avoid conflict, we often don’t say what should be said, or we sugar-coat our observations, impairing the opportunity for improvement. Excellence doesn’t flourish from avoiding the truth. Speak honestly, say what you mean, and be willing to ask questions, share ideas, or raise issues that may cause healthy conflict when it is necessary for Taylor English success.
SET AND ASK FOR EXPECTATIONS
In order for us to do our best, we need to be crystal clear on the expectations for every assignment. What’s the turnaround time? What deliverable is being sought? How much time does the client anticipate should be spent in obtaining the result? Never assume you know the expectations. Ask for them and repeat them until you’re sure you know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.
AVOID UNPLEASANT SURPRISES
As stewards of our client’s money and our colleagues’ time and attention, do what’s necessary to avoid creating unpleasant surprises. Clients don’t want research memos and big bills. Be proportional in your efforts and, if the deliverable will take more time than expected, communicate that fact. Whenever possible, create pleasant surprises for our external and internal clients.
WALK IN THE CLIENT’S SHOES
In order to be the best service providers we can be, we must walk in our client’s shoes and see things from their perspective. Ask good questions and get to know their industry, business, and objectives. Understand the conditions on their ground so you can be as effective for them as possible.
PRACTICE BLAMELESS PROBLEM-SOLVING
Demonstrate a relentless solution focus, rather than pointing fingers or dwelling on problems. When mistakes are made, identify the lessons to be learned and use them to improve ourselves and Taylor English's processes. We have a responsibility to get smarter and to learn from every experience, good or bad.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS
Missing one detail can have an enormous impact and turn a current client into a former client, or an internal resource for work into a former internal resource for work. The goal is to get things right, not just to get them done. Double check your work. Get the details right the first time.
Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it. This includes being on-time for phone calls, appointments, meetings, and keeping promises. If a commitment cannot be fulfilled, notify your internal or external client as soon as possible and agree on a new date upon which your commitment will be honored.
ASSUME POSITIVE INTENT
Work from the assumption that people are good, fair, and honest, and that the intent behind their actions is positive. Set aside your own judgments and preconceived notions. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
INVEST IN RELATIONSHIPS
Take an interest in your clients and co-workers and get to know them on a more personal level. Talk more, email less. Understand what’s happening in their world and what’s important to them. Ours is a relationship business, and creating stronger relationships internally and with our clients will make us more successful and build our brand.