Taking an interest in, and regularly tracking, industry / sector dynamics (outside of the law) is critical to the understanding of commercial / operational trends and drivers of risk and performance.
Go to the same places as the clients for best of breed professional services thinking. Understand what they, as fellow service providers, see as news and trends. Understand their service offerings and methods / channels.
Understanding client’s businesses by tracking publicly available information on strategy, performance, competitors. What parts of their business is performing, what isn’t and why? Avoid making generalisations as conclusions, be specific.
An indicator of strategic proficiency is the ability to formulate “show stopping” questions. Questions that no one has an answer to, but once formulated compels a body of work to fully unravel and design a way forward. In these cases, “the way we have always done it” appears dissatisfying against the size of the opportunity or the challenge and true experimentation and debate follows.
Practice foresight by conducting peer to peer discussions triangulating information into market / industry predictions. Create predictive statements supported by external evidence points then determine the legal themes that might arise.Strategic reflection and continual exposure to broad stimulus will give rise to more options or courses of action on matters, diverse client servicing strategies and broader business development opportunities. Those who invest small amounts of time regularly can transfer strategic insight into their everyday approach taking the “drum roll” away from the pressure of “big bang” as the only course of strategic execution.