I watched a YouTube video yesterday by one of the current A-List strategy theorists, Richard Makadok. He spoke of a ‘cue ball effect’ (as in snooker).

Much has been written about competitive advantage and its benefit for firms, but little about its impact on rivals. In theory, a firm gaining competitive advantage hurts its closest rivals but effects on other rivals decrease [sharply] as distance in competitive market position between the firms increases.

But is this true?

Winn-Dixie is a budget supermarket chain in the SE USA. Kroger, also a grocery company, is above Winn-Dixie in the market but below the premium supplier, Whole Foods. Whenever Walmart opened a new superstore, Makadok observed:

– nearby Winn-Dixies went out of business
– Kroger outlets renovated and moved up-market
– Whole Foods, at the top of the market with no ability to go higher, lost money (and in the end were acquired by Amazon).

Does this ‘cue ball effect’ exist in the legal sector?

If greater cost advantage emerges at the low end of the market, do mid-tier firms respond by ‘renovating’ to become more premium and do these, then, ‘carve at the underbelly of the Magic Circle‘? If so, what does that mean for strategy?

From a theoretical perspective, management science distinguishes clearly between the concepts of a strategy, and the business model used to drive the firm and achieve that strategy. The two can overlap when it comes to strategy implementation, though, because actions intended to achieve strategic objectives also impact the business model.

Does this matter, in practical terms? If so, of what do law firm leaders need to be mindful when thinking about either concept? In this short article published by the Law Management Section of the Law Society of England & Wales today, Rob offers an approach to law firm business models that is client-centric and focused on transformation.

Click here to read on the Law Society’s website, or scroll down for more. Continue Reading Business model or strategy? What’s the difference? Does it matter?

PPA Webinar – 14 April 2021 at 9:30AM London time 

In another of the series of Professional Practice Alliance (PPA) webinars, Rob Millard will join Oliver Richards(Founder and Practice Co-Director of Orms Designers + Architects Ltd) Beth Hale (Partnership and Employment Law specialist at law firm CM Murray LLP) and chairperson Corinne Staves (Partnership and LLP Law specialist at law firm Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP) in an interactive discussion about the likely post-Covid work arrangements for professional services firms. This webinar will build on our previous webinar on this topic, the podcast for which can be found on fellow PPA member CM Murrary LLP’s website, here.

The webinar is being preceded by a short survey, which we’d encourage you to take. Respondents are anonymous and the data will be presented on the webinar. The survey can be accessed here and you can register for the webinar (at no charge) here.

It’s very trendy to start writings like these with how uncertain the world is today, compared to the past. The future, some say, is not what it used to be. I’m not sure that’s true, at least as a general rule. If anything, the ease and speed with which information is transmitted around the world today should mean that we have fewer surprises. But we are still caught unawares, even by things in plain sight, and things do feel uncertain. Some very uncertain indeed. Continue Reading The roots of strategy

This post is scripted from an IBA webinar today, most ably moderated by Stephen Revell, which I was privileged to co-present with Elizabeth Cooper, Maria-Pia Hope, Steve Martin and Segun Osuntokun. At the time I was physically located on a remote hilltop in the Isles of Scilly, 25 miles into the Atlantic off the south-west tip of Cornwall, illustrating rather well one of the key points that I made. That is: it’s already easy today (and will in the near future be far easier) to work and collaborate effectively from even quite remote locations. Continue Reading The work spaces of the future

Gold is apparently trading this morning at $1780 per ounce. Assuming no religious or ethical obstacles, would you bet more money than you could afford to lose (against reasonable odds, of course) that the price will be within 10% more or less than that …. tomorrow? Say, between $1,600 and $2,000 per ounce?

Would you take that same bet with the timeframe set at one week hence? Six months hence? Three to five years hence? My guess is that: (a) most readers would stop betting between one week and six months and (b) there would be no takers at all for three to five years hence. Continue Reading Values and beliefs, strategy and timeframes

Earlier today, on a webinar about future legal skills, I was asked to mention a thing that I wish I’d learned far earlier in my career. I did and I’ll blog about that later, but this post I’m going to devote instead to something else that I also mentioned on the webinar, that I am glad that I learned early on. Project management. Continue Reading Something I’m glad I learned early in my career

At this time, with our attention consumed by COVID-19’s death toll and the impact on the world’s economies together with deeply upsetting upwellings of racial anger in the United States, it is easy in the UK to lose sight of another disaster potentially looming. A no-deal Brexit in just over six months. (You hadn’t forgotten about Brexit, had you?)

Continue Reading Remember Brexit?