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Change Horses

To change horses in midstream means making a major alteration when a course has been set and action is underway.

“Changing horses” can be daunting. But better that than clinging to something that isn’t working.

Now is when to take stock of what you’ve been doing to raise your profile — marketing — and cultivate mutually beneficial relationship — business development — and change horses if need be.

When you examine what you’ve been doing, you may find that you’re not really enjoying these activities or getting the results you want. Continuing to do what’s not working wastes time, instills boredom and creates frustration. As a result, it often happens that the claim of being “too busy to do anything” becomes the fallback position followed by retreat and inertia.

Stop doing what isn’t working and change horses.

Think about this: With whom do you want to spend your time?

The two key factors of that question are “whom” and “time”. The “whom” is infinite as there are lots of people with whom you can spend time. However, “time” is finite because there’s a limit to hours in a day, days in week, and so on.


Even though it’s a tired phrase, “senseless acts of lunch” implies that time can easily be misspent with people who may be delightful company but with whom you share no meaningful connection or goal.

Time is best spent with people from whom you can learn, exchange ideas, trade referrals, and help achieve each others’ goals. Those relationships can be deepened and expanded even further by introducing each other to meaningful new contacts.

Think about individuals with whom you want to spend time and work to make that happen.


Being a member of an organization can be helpful and even inspiring provided it’s the right group for you. Consider that involvement in Bar groups, networking groups, etc., need to have merit and purpose for you, otherwise you’re best to spend time elsewhere.

If you’re not attending regularly or are inactive within a group, consider finding a group that works better for you and where you can take an active role.

Profile ROI

Weigh what you do to build profile in terms of how well it helps you to be seen as an expert in your field.

If you write or speak publicly, make sure you’re targeting members of your specific client audience. Writing for or speaking to an audience of lawyers might earn brownie points or be good for your ego but in many instances, you’re preaching to the choir.

Make sure your topics are relevant to your target audience. Take into account that your subject matter needs to address their interests, concerns and problems while offering thoughts and answers that demonstrate expertise in areas where you shine.

Since it’s best if your goal is to act with intention rather than acceptance, you may wish to use these criteria to qualify opportunities presented to you or that you pursue.

So, to sum up — and mix a few metaphors — If you don’t like what you’re getting, change horses in midstream. The worst that will happen is you might get a bit wet. The best that will happen is you’ll change what you’re doing.

Heather Suttie is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on legal market strategy and management of legal services firms.

For 25 years, she has advised leaders of premier law firms and legal service providers worldwide — Global to Solo | BigLaw to NewLaw — on innovative strategies pertaining to business, markets, management, and clients.

The result is accelerated performance achieved through a distinctive one of one legal market position and sustained competitive advantage leading to greater market share, revenue, and profits.

The effect is accomplishment of the prime objective — To Win.

Reach her at +1.416.964.9607 or

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