Business Development Tips for Associates

Mark_beeseHolland & Hart's Mark Beese has an excellent summary of business development tips for associates, which he presented during today's Web seminar, "The Senior Marketer's Perspective: How Associates Can Excel at Business Development in 2006."

The program was presented by the Professional Business Development Institute ("PBDI").  Check out PBDI's upcoming programs at Mark has 18 years' experience with architecture and law firms and is Holland & Hart's law firm's "Marketing Guy" (that's his official title!).  He and Jan Dubin, Director of Client Relations for DLA Piper offered a feast of business development ideas.  Mark identified 5 kinds of rainmakers that associates can become:

Example 1:  Relationship Rainmaker:  1st attorney in firm to make 7-figure compensation.  As an associate he made a list of 50 people he knew, or could know, who would be outstanding clients.  He built relationships with them over time.  Many became leaders in business, politics and community, who trusted him for both legal work and referrals.

Example 2:  Specialization Rainmaker:  Associate specialized early on in employment law for small and mid-sized companies in rural west. Started road-show seminars, e-mail newsletters, and built relationships with HR managers throughout state.  He wrote, spoke, and attended SHRM and industry events to develop a reputation and build a strong book of business before he was a partner.

Example 3:  Entrepreneur Rainmaker:  Two associates saw an industry trend with low density of lawyers.  They quickly developed an expertise in financing, permitting, etc and got very involved in industry events, resulting in new clients and matters for them, and the firm.  Shows enthusiasm, energy, and focus - fast track to Partner.

Example 4:  Networker Rainmaker:  Associate gets very involved in local and state politics, community service, and pro bono work, developing a network of business and government leaders along the way.   People trusted associate resulting in new work and clients for him and the firm.

Example 5:  Roadie Rainmaker:  Associate takes specialty to a different geographic location where the office and city has fewer lawyers, setting up meetings, seminars, and networking events with current and potential clients.  She has two offices in two cities, growing work for entire group.

For the rest of his ideas, see the Leadership for Lawyers blog.


Buchanan Ingersoll's Superb Annual Report

Buchanan_annual_report_1It's the time of year when law firms issue their "annual reports," or highlights of the previous year.  Once again the Pittsburgh law firm Buchanan Ingersoll has published a superb annual report.  Buchanan Ingersoll has offices in eight states and the District of Columbia, with nearly 400 lawyers. (Click on the picture to see it full size).

The annual report is brilliant for its focus on 7 of its 15 target industries, all reflected in the 25-page, glossy, heavy paper report.  The firm distributed 10,000 copies.  Most other law firms market their practice groups, which is a mistake.  Smart law firms approach clients and prospects as industry experts, because executives think of themselves as being part of an industry, not a customer of a practice group.

The report is exceptional because it's built around the way clients think:

  • It's short and easy to read.
  • 50% of the space is devoted to pictures.
  • It tells success stories, which clients love.  Here's a vignette from their Financial Services section: "We successfully resolved a $64 million lease-rejection claim and a $6 million preference complaint in the Global Crossing Chapter 11 case for Goldman Sachs Mortgage Capital."  They told the story in 5 lines.
  • It's organized to discuss their legal work across areas of practice in several industries.  Each section has about 10 success stories and a sidebar that discusses their industry activity.
  • It names clients, so that readers can see the representative corporations the firm works with.
  • It ends with awards and honors, appointments, donations and rankings where the firm scored high.

A few minor flaws: the report contains no phone number; it begins with a four-page message from the firm chairman, and then two pages of pro bono stuff that could have been put at the end.

In all, I send earnest kudos to Lori K. Lecker, Director of Communications and Public Relations for her superb work. It took five months to plan, design and produce the report.  "We had such a good year in 2005, the report wrote itself," she said.


Lawyers Waste $80,000 a Year Reading E-mail

Edwardpoll Did you ever wonder what the real cost is for a lawyer to "clear out" their email boxes apart from getting to client matters?  According to the industrious Edward Poll, "your practical guide to profit" in Venice, CA, the specific number is $80,000 down the drain.

"Based on personal experience, it is easy to estimate that most lawyers take about one or two hours each working day to 'clear out' their e-mail boxes," Ed says.  If we assume 200 workdays per year (there are more), and two hours per day and $200 hour billable value for an attorney (most are charging more today), the calculation is $80K of wasted billable time annually. 

"It goes without saying that this is hugely expensive," he writes in a new LawBiz Management Special Report.  The 60-page booklet focuses on "Business Competency for Lawyers."  Contact Ed at either 800.837.5880 or about getting a copy.  Also check out his press release.

"Given the rapidity of response that e-mails encourage, it's likely that very few lawyers are truly capturing the time that they're spending on legitimate client communications, like phone conversations and e-mail communications," Ed writes. "Yet lawyers are going so fast doing so many things, that they don't actually write down their time notation as they're working on e-mails."

"Client e-mail gets so enmeshed in what has been called 'administrivia' that their importance is not adequately accounted for.  The result is lost profitability."

Ed is a nationally recognized coach, law firm management consultant, lawyer and author -- and he's spot-on about the loss of profit.  But lawyers must be very careful how they inovice clients for emails and voicemails. I once used a lawyer in Chicago who handled annual corporate filings for me.  I left the lawyer a short voicemail saying that I wanted to make a change in my corporate structure.  A month later I got a separate bill from the lawyer for $102.15 for listening to my little voicemail and delegating the work to a paralegal. 

So I mailed the bill back with a letter saying, "With all due respect I think the charge is excessive and I courteously request that you write the charge off.  In my practice, I listen to voicemail and read emails at no charge; the time is built into the overhead of my practice."

The lawyer wrote me back that billing for voicemails was a policy of the firm, and if I didn't like it, I should find a different firm.  So I did.  I stopped using that firm, and 5 years of goodwill from the old firm went down the drain.


Market This: Only 17% of Partners are Women

Sunday's New York Times carries the depressing news that only 17 percent of partners at major law firms nationwide were women in 2005.  Two major evils have contributed to this statistic:

  • Billable hour requirements.
  • Pressure to increase profits per partner.

"One of the main bugaboos in this debate -- and one that analysts says is increasingly cropping up as an issue for male lawyers as well -- is the billable hours regime. Billing by the hour requires lawyers to work on a stopwatch so their productivity can be tracked minute by minute -- and so clients can be charged accordingly. Over the last two decades, as law firms have devoted themselves more keenly to the bottom line, depression and dissatisfaction rates among both female and male lawyers has grown, analysts say; many lawyers of both genders have found their schedules and the nature of their work to be dispiriting," says the Times in the Sunday Business Section.

"I see a lot of people who are distressed about where the profession has gone," says Lauren Stiller Rikleen, a 52-year-old partner in the Framingham, Mass., office of the Worcester, Mass., firm of Bowditch & Dewey. "They don't like being part of a billable-hour production unit. They want more meaning out of their lives than that."

Michael_boone Kudos to Haynes & Boone in Dallas, which appears to have cracked the code for keeping women lawyers.  "Mr. Boone, the Dallas lawyer, says that his 425-member firm has 38 female partners, about 25 percent of the firm's overall partnership base. He intends for that percentage to increase, adding that one thing that attracts a diverse group of lawyers to his firm is its compensation practices. Lawyers at Haynes and Boone are rewarded for teamwork, not individual accomplishments, staving off the dog-eat-dog competition for clients and assignments that pervades many firms. Compensation is also based on a number of other factors, including leadership and business development activities, among which billable hours are just one component," says the Times.

Compensation based in part on business development.  Now that's an idea we like.

How to Avoid Losing a Client: Just Listen

Suzanne_lowe135Why do clients fire law firms?  Because they fail to listen to them, according to a thoughtful post by my colleague, Suzanne Lowe.

She points to new research by BTI Consulting,  "How [Law Firm] Clients Hire, Fire and Spend" : 53.7% of clients ousted their primary law firm; Only 30.7% of clients recommend their primary law firm; 64.3% of clients plan to hire a new law firm.

These are daunting numbers, but perhaps they will begin to shed light for law firms (and other professional service sectors) on one of the key findings that Suzanne Lowe and I recently found in our own study, "Increasing Marketing Effectiveness at Professional Firms."   

  • Professional firms that said they were extremely effective used three particular client-focused metrics in combination with each other.  These three are:  (a) Growing client revenue:  "Did you grow revenue with your client or not?" (b) Moving the phases of a sale through a pipeline:  "Did you close the sale or not?" and (c) Listening to the client:  "Did you listen to your client or not?"

"Let's face it: if the law firms in BTI's study were really doing a good job of measuring their "listening-to-the-client" initiatives, their percentage of retaining those clients, and growing their book of business with them, would be higher.  We found that it's not enough for firms to undertake simple client satisfaction surveys.  Rather, our findings reveal that successful professional firms take deliberate steps to improve their client satisfaction information-gathering approaches!" Suzanne says.

Ask yourself: 

  • "When is the last time we asked our clients whether our satisfaction surveys (feedback interviews, etc.) are really getting at their most critical issues? 
  • When is the last time we revised our client research approaches to go deeper than shallow client satisfaction questions, or systematically analyzed the factors that REALLY grow our client relationships?"   

One simple question -- "Would you recommend us to a friend?" -- is the one true measure of a firm's performance in the eyes of its clients, according to Suzanne.

Professional service marketers may not get the point of our study, but get it they must:  becoming more competitively effective and attaining true growth requires professional service firms to think differently about how to measure and deepen their clients' loyalty. 


When the Boss is Blogging

Gmblog GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz's Fastlane blog and Edelman CEO Richard Edelman's Speak Up blog are two examples of top corporate officers blogging the right way. They have opened up themselves and their companies -- and earned customers and respect for it. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association is presenting a teleconference on how they did it, why they did it, and the challenges that they face. You can hear about the teams that are supporting them, and the logistics of such high-profile blogs. Find out if and how you should do the same for your company.

Featured Speakers:

  • Richard Edelman, President & CEO, Edelman
  • Laurie Mayers, Senior Vice President, Deputy Managing Director, Hass MS&L
  • Michael Wiley, Director, New Media, General Motors

It's on March 22, 2006, Noon EST; $50 non-members, $10 members of the WOMMA.  Register at:


Using the Media to Get New Business

Diane_hamlinGood publicity can indeed get your firm new clients, according to the presenters on the LJN Web Audio Webinar I just attended, entitled, "A Marketer's Guide to Media Training for Attorneys."

My favorite part was the "Five Biggest Mistakes Lawyers Make," which was covered by the skilled marketer Diane Hamlin of the Hamlin Strategy Group.  Based in San Francisco, she represents a small number of major law firms and is reachable at dianeehamlin@EARTHLINK.NET. The five mistakes include:

  • Too much information. "Reporters hate to hear a lawyer say, 'let me put that into context for you,' because they know the lawyer will go on for five minutes," Diane said.
  • Missing press cycles. Timing is everything when it comes to publicity.  It's a mistake not to call a reporter back promptly, or to leave a voicemail for the reporter at 10 PM, or to call with a big story at 5 PM, when the paper is trying to close its editions.
  • Bad assumptions regarding follow-up. Don't ask the reporter if you can review the story before it is printed -- reporters hate that.  "But you can send the reporter an email to follow up to make sure your points are understood," Diane said.
  • Failure to ask "What's the angle you're pursuing here?"  You need to know if the reporter is calling you for a simple quote, or whether you are the target of an attack that's been in the works for weeks.  Also, if the reporter asks, "Is there anything else you'd like to add?" be certain to restate the key message point that is most likely to appear in the story.
  • Believing your own press.  If the lawyer thinks he or she is as great as a positive article portrays them to be, they are asking for trouble.

Diane recounted how PR can directly turn into new business by being a quick thinker and savvy marketer.  It was 4 AM when Diane's Blackberry alerted her that a class action lawsuit for 1.6 million women had been filed Wal-Mart alleging sexual discrimination in pay and promotions. The obstacle was that she was just about to leave on a trip to England. 

Contacting Elizabeth Lampert Public Relations immediately, Diane was able to line up a partner from her firm to comment on the story in the press. Twelve hours later, when Diane landed at Heathrow Airport, she saw the front page of The Financial Times, and there was the story about the lawsuit, and it quoted her partner. 

As a result of the news story and other publicity, her firm was brought in on a case for a major auto manufacturer that was following the story.  "The client said, 'based on what we read about you in the press, it's clear that you know what you're doing,'" Diane said.  "So don't ignore the power of the press!"

The Web seminar was moderated by the multi-talented Elizabeth Lampert, Director of LJN's WebAudio Division and president of Elizabeth Lampert PR, which consults law firms on strategic plans, media placements, hiring, structuring and training of internal PR Departments.  The other panelists included:

  • Allan Whitescarver, Director of Communications at Clifford Chance US.
  • Marsha Redmon, Esq., president and founder of M Group Communications. 

    Go to for an article about mistakes lawyers make in media interviews.

  • Amy Spees of Elizabeth Lampert PR, and a former reporter with the Daily Journal is Northern California.


The Compleat Guide to Web Marketing

How do you explain the value of Web marketing to the troglodytes and Luddites in your offices. You know: the lawyers who still use dictation machines, who go to the library to look things up in a book, the antediluvian attorneys who think that the Web is for kids.

Here's the answer: give them a copy of Mark Merenda's colorful 22-page white paper, "Using the Internet to Market Your Law Practice." It's free for the asking by emailing Mark at

This colorful, plain-English booklet explains all the potentially-unfamiliar Internet terms like streaming video, Flash files, blogs and podcasting. And there's even good information for old Web hounds like me on tying pay-per-click destination links to a customized landing page.

"When it comes to looking for a lawyer, more Americans are turning to the search engines than the Yellow Pages," Mark write, quoting the 2005 Harris Interactive study. Lawyers need to know this.

I agree totally with Mark's advice on Web pages: the site must be user friendly, graphically, attractive, full of content and frequently updated. It should offer a call to action, like, "call us and get a free copy of our white paper." It should avoid "search engine 'no-no's" like Flash animation.

I like the client tip he offers, such as the comment from lawyer Diedre Wachbrit of Westlake Village, CA, who says , "Every single referral I have gotten from other attorneys has started with them directing their clients to my website to check out my profile." Or Wayne Walston, an elder law attorney in Warsaw, Indiana, who says, "I don't see how any law firm can get by without an e-newsletter. It has been particularly effective in keeping me in front of nursing home personnel and others in the medical field."

Mark, as I do, emphasizes blogs. "The influence of blogs, and of bloggers, is huge and spreading." There are about 3.5 million active blogs, whose authors post up to 450,000 posts per day, according to Mark. He advocates podcasts too -- "your blog and podcasts are how you personally connect to your clients and referral sources," Mark says.

"Attorneys often give the appearance of believing that they belong to some sort of 19th century guild," Mark writes. "Those who adapt to the 21st century fastest will profit most." I couldn't agree more.

[NB: the title of this blog is a historical reference to the book The Compleat Angler published 350 years ago by Izaak Walton, Charles Cotton, and Howell Raines.]


Client Reviews Really Do Impact Sales

Yale Here's a lesson from the Yale School of Management that law firm partners can apply to attracting more clients: Customer reviews have a significant impact on what books consumers buy at online bookstores, with negative reviews carrying more weight. That's the key finding of a study conducted by the Center for Customer Insights at the Yale School of Management. Examining reviews at and, the impact of a negative review was found to be more powerful in decreasing book sales than a positive review is in increasing sales.

The study attributed this behavior to the credibility consumers place on the reviews. For example, multiple glowing reviews for a book may be perceived as hype generated by an author or publisher.

Learn more:

It's time now to put client testimonials and summaries of successful cases on your law firm Web site.  Nothing beats a posititve comment or a successful result.


Only 13% Know what "Podcasting" Means

Chart According to the latest Word-of-Mouth newsletter, Womnibus Weekly #1.42 from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, Podcasting and RSS feeds have become popular tools for marketers looking to spread word of mouth, but they still have a way to go before reaching the mainstream.

A study from Pew Internet & American Life showed that only 13% of respondents knew what the term "podcasting" meant while only 9% were reported to know about "RSS feeds." Personal Internet security topics such as "spam", "firewall", and "spyware" had the highest familiarity at 88%, 78%, and 78%, respectively. This level of widespread familiarity is still amazing for a medium that's just barely a year old.

Learn more:


Yes, Something IS happening, Mr. Jones

Bob Dylan"You know something is happening, but you don't know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?" asked Bob Dylan on Highway 61 Revisited (1965). It's clear that something has happened on the Web, including Wikis, blogs, buzzstorming, trendspotting, jamming, RSS, podcasting and Vidcasting.  If you want to keep pace with the times, you better know what is going on.

You can find a surfer's guide to the changes in the article Internet 2.0 has arrived. Can you Feel it? at


The most influential authorities on Business Blogging

To understand who is influential when it comes to "business blogging," the Onalytica Blog decided to measure it.

The chart shows the top 25 influencers on the topic of "business blogging."


How to measure the influence on an issue

When Technorati ranks blogs they count the number of link sources pointing to a blog. So a blog that has 10 inbound links has higher rank than one that has 5 inbound links. So far so good. The blog with inbound links from 10 different sources is clearly more popular than the one with 5 link sources.

However, when they use this measure of popularity as "authority" they are stretching it too far. David Letterman may be popular when it comes to the topic of US national politics, but few would call him an authority on the topic.

To make influence measurements operational (and relevant) they have to be tied to a context (or brand, company, etc.). This is achieved by extracting only those references that are made in the relevant context of focus.

When calculating influence we make the basic assumption that a person references another person if the former thinks the latter is relevant to the context. We assume this logic is systematic, meaning that this is a general reason for referencing others in a particular context.

It doesn't matter that people get referenced for other reasons (perfunctory reasons, reasons from limited knowledge, etc) as long as the same people (or websites, stakeholders, entities, etc) do not get systematically referenced when they are not believed be relevant.

The practical steps to gathering the data and measuring influence on an issue are:

First we define a search criterion. This can be simple or a set of rules. Simple ones typical give best results.

In this case our search criterion was to look for documents (web pages, blogs, pdf files, documents) that either contained the phrase "business blogging" or "business blog".

Using our own issue focused Internet crawlers any document matching the issue was downloaded and analyzed for references. (A reference can be a hyperlink or a textual citation. A textual reference to "The White House" would be treated equal to a link to

The references are extracted from the documents and after some semi-manual consolidation and statistical filtering they are transformed into a massive system of simultaneous equations, consistent with Leontief's directions.

Once the equations are solved we have, viola, the relative influence of each stakeholder of the issue. We term this metric Issue Influence Index™.

The Issue Influence Index™ is a relative and linear measure of influence. It ranges from 1, which can be interpreted as "very little influence, but still more than no influence" and upwards.

An organization with an index of 4 has twice the influence of someone with an index of 2.

Corante is actually a group of well known bloggers operating more or less under a common brand.

Business Week and Forbes
They have published some of the most widely cited articles on "business blogging" and their attention to the topic signals to many an acceptance of "business blogging" in the business media.

Neville Hobson
Neville Hobson is the most influential appearing under his own name. To some more known as the publisher of the popular podcast "for immediate release".

Blogging is related to news and therefore it's not surprising to see the world's largest news organization on the list.

Micro Persuasion
Blog run by Steve Rubel, a famous blogger with a focus on PR. During the week this study was made it was announced that Steve Rubel is joining Edelman, a large PR company with big customers like WalMart. It's not difficult to understand why Edelman poached Mr. Rubel. They are buying a lot of influence on a topic of great interest to their clients.

Seth Godin
I have yet to meet someone who works with the Internet who doesn't know who he is. Well known author and often seen as the inventor of "permission based marketing"

Ross Mayfield
Founder of the company SocialText.

GM Blogs
The entry to General Motors' blogsphere. Often referenced as an example of how a large and relatively conservative organization has embraced business blogging.


Carnival of Marketing -- Day Five

3 items for today's installment:

  • Steve BarrettBelieve it or not, many professional services firms don't believe in having a sales staff.  James Hassett has a great interview with marketer Stephen Barrett on the Law Firm Business Development blog. Steve is the new Chief Marketing Officer at Drinker Biddle & Reath, a 450-lawyer Philadelphia firm with 9 additional locations. A seasoned veteran, Steve has been the top in-house marketer at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault in Boston, Perkins Coie in Seattle, Paul Hastings in Los Angeles and Choate Hall in Boston. Steve says that in professional services marketing, "there's still a long way to go."  According to Steve, "At the top, you have about 10-15% who get it now," and Steve believes that new training programs should build on these opinion leaders. Sales training will have the greatest impact with the middle 70% to 80% who are receptive to selling and who have a lot to learn. "With the proper training, many will become consistently productive business generators." So the acceptance of legal selling may not be building as fast as we'd like, but it is building. "The lawyers in their thirties get it first... It's ridiculously more competitive out there, and lawyers simply must start selling to survive."
  • Glen_lerner75 Carolyn Elefant has a delightful post on her My Shingle blog about a Nevada attorney, Glen Lerner, who is challenging an ethics decision that prohibits him from calling himself "The Heavy Hitter," according to this article, Lawyer to Sue Over Heavy Hitter Name. What's even sillier than the title "Heavy Hitter" is the bar's reason for banning it:  the bar believes that Lerner's use of the term is misleading because it gives the public the impression that he is the only Heavy Hitter.  Previously, Lerner had a run-in with the bar over a television ad where a giant phone falls on a victim - and the bar believed that the ad could generate undue anxiety. Carol concluded, "But one things for sure.  With this kind of reasoning, the Nevada Bar shows that it's a lightweight."
  • Aaron_brazell Problogger has an excellent piece on Tag, You're It! Leveraging Tagging For Your Blog.  If you've been around social networking, or many of the next-generation web services out there (such as or digg) then you certainly know what tags are. They are really just labels. Blogs can utilize tags as well. Tags are erroneously confused with categories but there are some key conceptual differences. Categories are structured; Tags are unstructured. However, tagging provides more of a granular way of organizing content and it follows more of a "brain storage" approach. In a case history, author Aaron Brazell says "For me, the goal was to have every single entry one to (at most) three clicks away from home. One of the ways (and there were other tricks used as well) I did this was by implementing tags. Instead of finding all of the entries on "politics," users can now find all entries on politics or, say, "The Patriot Act."
  • This concludes my week as host of the wonderful Carnival of Marketing.  Jumpin' Jack Flash, It's a Gas!  Next week it moves to Jack Yoest's blog.  Have fun, Jack!

Carnival of Marketing -- Day Four

Tom_antionAs someone who has to give the occasional speech, I love to follow Tom Antion's blog Great Public Speaking.  He's full of practical tips like posting your notes on flipcharts at the back of the room, or telling the audience you're going to ask them questions but putting them at ease by saying that you won't put them on the spot, or physically checking our the room and dais before you give you talk.  His latest tip is Say It With Flowers:

"A speaker friend of mine had a deal with a local flower shop. When he had a program the next day he would buy up all the fresh flowers that did not sell for a dirt cheap price. The flowers were destined for the dumpster anyway so the florist was thrilled to get anything for them. The speaker would arrive to big fanfare throwing flowers into the crowd. Everyone got a flower to take home and depending on the size of the crowd, some would get a whole bouquet. He also sent big bunches as his thank you gift to the meeting organizer. He purposely sent so many that the organizer could not possibly take them all home. His good will (and name) was spread all over the company he was speaking for and the people in the audience had a blast."

Jdbliss_logo_1 I also call your attention to the Work Life Balance Calculator created by email, blog, Web and podcast technologist Joshua Fruchter of eLawMarketing. It was created for attorneys, who are notorious workaholics, but it can be used by us relentless marketers too.

The purpose of the calculator is to help you determine on average:

  • how many hours you must spend in your office during the week to meet the billable hour requirements of your firm (taking into account vacation, personal and other "days off"), and
  • the amount of time you'll need to spend working at home after work or on weekends if you can't meet your firm's billable hour requirements solely from your time in the office during the week.

It's all part of a wonderful blog JD Bliss that Josh writes.  Unless you already have too much serenity in your life, I urge you to read JD Bliss.


Carnival of Marketing -- Day Three

Guy_kawasaki Is there a bozo explosion at your company?

Guy Kawasaki collected 14 examples, set out below. Then Bob Scoble picked up the ball and took the list and added 10 more.

Each of them offered constructive suggestions to their senior managers about how to halt the spread of bozosity. It's a list that every marketer should read.

According to Kawasaki, who writes the Bona Tempora Volvantur blog, the first step is to determine whether a bozo explosion is happening. Here are the top ten signs of bozosity to help you decide.

1. The two most popular words in your company are "partner" and "strategic." In addition, "partner" has become a verb, and "strategic" is used to describe decisions and activities that don't make sense.

2. Management has two-day offsites at places like the Ritz Carlton to foster communication and to craft a company mission statement.

3. The aforementioned company mission statement contains more than twenty words--two of which are "partner" and "strategic."

4. Your CEO's admin has an admin.

5. Your parking lot's "biorhythm" looks like this:

  • 8:00 am - 10:00 am--Japanese cars exceed German cars
  • 10:00 am - 5:00 pm--German cars exceed Japanese cars
  • 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm--Japanese cars exceed German cars

6. Your HR department requires an MBA degree for any position; it also requires five to ten years work experience in an industry that is only four years old.

    7. Time is now considered more important than money so you have a company cafeteria, health club, and pet grooming service. Moreover, the first thing that employees show visitors is the company cafeteria, health club, and pet grooming service.

    8. Someone whose music sells in the iTunes music store performs at the company Christmas party.

    9. An employee is paid to do nothing but write a blog.

    10. The success of a competitor upsets you more than the loss of a customer.

    (If you've seen other signs of the slide to bozosity, leave them as a comment, and I'll append to this list.) Addendumbs (sic) to the list from readers:

    11. You have a layer of middle management who worked at big-name companies (usually consumer goods) who like to call meetings and designate "project leads." (I experienced this first hand.)

    12. Your hire a big name consulting firm who brings in MBAs with one year of experience to re-think your corporate strategies.

    13. The front-desk staff gets better looking and less competent.

    14. Your CEO or CFO spends more time on CNBC than in the office.

    Bob_scoble150_1 (here's where Scoble adds his items).

    15: If you are a software developer and if you spend more time in meetings than writing code you might be in a bozo explosion.

    16: If the first question out of your manager's mouth is "can this be monetized?" you might be in a bozo explosion.

    17: If the name for your product is something like "Contosa Bozo Exploder 2006" you might be in a bozo explosion.

    17B: If your product's box has 45% more text on it than an iPod box, you might be in a bozo explosion.

    18: If, when an employee comes up with a new idea the answer back is an email with the words "business value" repeated 13 times you might be in a bozo explosion.

    19: If, when you ask a business leader "what's your philosophy?" and they answer "huh?" well, then, you might be in a bozo explosion.

    20: If more than three people have to be consulted to spend less than $100 million to acquire a company, or build something new, then you might be in a bozo explosion. (Committeeism guarantees slowness, lack of philosophy, and lack of creativity).

    21: If your marketing team can change the spec after the development team has started development, you might be in a bozo explosion. (Or, if your development team doesn't communicate well, or listen to, the marketing team you might be in a bozo explosion).

    22: If your company forces you to work computers built in 1999, you might be in a bozo explosion (you do realize that having two monitors has been shown by several studies to make people up to 15% more productive, right? Are you working on two or more monitors yet? I keep visiting lots of companies and am surprised to see how many companies force their workers to use small, low-resolution, single monitor setups. They are literally throwing 5% productivity down the drain. For what? A $1,000 per worker savings? It gets worse when we're talking about software developers who have to wait minutes for their companies' code to compile (I've seen so many horror stories here it isn't funny).

    23: If your best employees leave you might be in a bozo explosion.

    24: If you're not allowed to write on your blog that you are in the middle of a bozo explosion you might be in the middle of a bozo explosion (hint: we don't have such a rule at Microsoft).
    But, back to #9. You knew I couldn't resist, couldn't you? Well, I personally think that a major company (IE, one with more than 1,000 employees) that only has ONE paid blogger IS potentially a bozo factory. I personally believe every employee should blog. But, then, I'm an edge case.