How We’re Different
We believe that our approach and our multidisciplinary perspective create a real difference between what we do and what most others do.
Things you should consider are:
- The person who you brief is the person who does your work and takes responsibility for it.
- We aren’t fly–in/fly–out consultants. Our preferred style is to earn a trusted confidante relationship so we can really help with improvements.
- We have developed strong models that underpin the quality of our work . . .
The Commitment Chain
The High Performance Model
- We aren’t captives of a narrow technical perspective. We don’t see the world simply through the eyes of an accountant, a marketer, an IT or HR person. Our wide experience and technical training allow us to judge the relative importance of each.
- Our firm is proudly a jargon-free zone. We won’t prattle on about sustainable competitive advantage, emotional intelligence, or social deep structure in a knowledge-based organisation! We communicate simply and clearly – like what works for you, how disciplined you are, whether you know where the money is, and whether you actually enjoy doing things for others.
- We are specialists. You don’t have to spend time and money educating us about the law, language, nature and drivers of your profession.
- Our models are commitment-driven. Our goal is to help you discover what you can do (and live with) as quickly as possible, and then to get on with helping you make it happen.
- Too many people just focus on outputs (hours, bills, collections etc) but don’t put enough effort into managing the inputs that drive day-to-day performance. We help you understand the inputs. If you get that right, the outputs usually will follow.
- We genuinely care about not only improving performance, but also in improving people’s working lives in a civilised way so that the two go together (see Testimonials ).
How We Do Business
Our main job is to help you and your staff become better at running your business yourselves – not to do the work for you. So you will find that we are light on writing voluminous reports, and very hands-on instead.
We help you to look for creative solutions and to decide what resources / commitments you need to get there. And we push you along… By doing things that way, the important knowledge to move forward is locked in your firm, rather than in our brains.
We aren’t in the business of justifying fees through flattery and telling you just what you want to hear. For example, we will typically address your personal styles, levels of discipline, and willingness to follow through on things. Naturally, whether or not you choose to accept our advice will be up to you.
You have a right to expect the same level of confidentiality from us as your clients would expect from you. So we give that commitment – both during, and after the relationship. We don’t publish client lists. Our relationship and the work we do together are between us. Our client testimonials are all de-identified.
When you invite us into your business, and expose us to your people and your systems, you place us in a special position of trust - so when we talk to your staff, you need to be confident that we don’t have other barrows to push.
And we don’t. We are not in the recruitment business.
Further, we have no special or commercial relationships with any practice management software vendors. That means there are no impediments to our giving you very frank assessments in this area.
You are paying for Peter’s analytical skills and experience so that is what will be applied to your work.
We don’t and won’t claim to have expert knowledge about every facet of your business. If during our association, we encounter issues that can be dealt with by others quicker, better or cheaper, we will say so.
Once retained by a client, we treat problems and opportunities as if they were our own. We don’t just give wise counsel and walk away. We are pretty much “on call” – provided our clients treat this facility with reasonable respect. Where we establish a retainer relationship, we don’t penny pinch on exact hours. Accounts for extra hours are almost unheard of. Our clients mostly get much more effort than they pay for.
We don’t ask for fixed time agreements. If at any time you think you aren’t getting appropriate value or we just aren’t working well together, you can walk away. All we require is that we are paid up for the whole month in which you make that decision.
Similarly, if we feel that our relationship is or becomes incompatible, we may also choose to walk away. We would not do so leaving a project incomplete, unless that were your wish.
How we choose to work together is open to negotiation. We can work on one-off projects, and where we do this, our standard charge rate applies. We find that clients seem to gain the most value when we work on a retainer basis.
This is for three reasons. Firstly, when a client says they have a particular problem, it is often only a symptom of the true problem. Secondly, by establishing an ongoing relationship, we have the opportunity to live in your firm and see what you are really like. Thirdly, if we have the relative certainty of an ongoing relationship, we are able to negotiate the fee more flexibly.
Informality - from our side
While we spend much of our time working at our client's offices, we spend a growing amount of time in informal surroundings like coffee shops getting to know our clients better on a personal basis. Those who have visited our Brisbane and Peregian Beach offices can testify to the relaxed informality, which is simply how we choose to do business.
Our clients say candour is our most valuable attribute
Initial consultation fee
We don’t provide free-of-charge initial face-to-face consultations. We will be discussing your problems and opportunities from the moment we meet, and usually even the initial feedback we provide will be valuable.
Our initial fee includes a phone brief, a face-to-face consultation of around two hours, and a written response with suggestions on how your issues might best be moved forward.
We also find that an initial fee helps distinguish between bona fide potential clients and those who just want to pick our brains and move on.
Payment of accounts
We will bring commitment and energy to our consultancy, but in return we need to be paid as per our agreed rate and on time.
Regardless of the specific terms of our agreement, we bill all clients on 15th of each month, with payment due at the end of that same month.
In the scheme of problem-solving consultancies, our fee structure is modest. Accordingly, it is unreasonable to expect our continuing efforts when accounts are overdue.
Candour is a two-way street. To get the best out of us, you need to be absolutely candid. So if there are political problems in the firm or in the partnership, they are likely to be important things we need to know about.
Whatever it is that you are trying to achieve in your firm, you need to go well beyond articulating where you want to be. You must be prepared to commit the resources to get there. Sometimes this will involve investment and/or inconvenience in the short term – especially when people are learning new things. There is nearly always some pain involved in the pursuit of a gain.
Informality - from your side
Yes – we will have a commercial relationship, but the results of that will be enhanced if there is informality in the dialogue between you, your people and us. Anything you can do to promote this will always be a benefit.
Our Core Models
The Commitment Chain
We use an innovative analytical model called The Commitment Chain. It guides all our work. We find it invaluable in the environment of law firms and law firm partners. The key to success isn’t what you plan or what you say, but what you are actually committed to do.
Acknowledgement: The Commitment Chain is a general behavioural decision-making model that is derived from the James Rest Four Step Model of Moral Development [see Rest, J & Narvaez, D (1994) Moral development in the professions: psychology and applied ethics, Taylor & Francis, Hillsdale NJ].
At dci lyncon, we acknowledge the original model authorship and extend the principles beyond the specific study of moral development to a more general model linking problem identification to personal action.
The High Performance Model
The model provides a balanced way of analysing performances of individuals, practice groups, work teams, partnerships, and whole firms.
In other words, its underlying logic can be applied regardless of the level of analysis.
In essence, it shows how to go past the simplicity of (for example) bills rendered versus budget, and to look at the issues which may be driving the performance (or lack of).
Generally we find that the upper left portion of the model is in play for professional staff and the lower right portion is often more in play for support staff.
It is a weakest link model. In the short term, people can survive and even prosper with some of the elements not receiving sufficient attention, but in the long term, the weakest link has the capacity to bring performance down.