I don’t know who first said it, but people are still saying it today. “You can get the work done quickly, you can get it done well, or you can get it done cheaply.” “Pick two,“ they say. “Because you can’t have all three”.
We’ve heard that said about all manner of products and services and undertakings. We may even say it ourselves.
But is it true?
Who says we can’t have all three?
In our world, the practice of law has three areas:
- Core legal skills: research, writing, presenting, strategizing, negotiation, etc.,
- Managing: hiring, budgeting, supervising, productivity, etc., and
- Marketing: bringing in the business, client relations, etc.
Who says they can’t be good at all three?
Clearly, they can. Many lawyers are excellent at all three.
But there are also many successful lawyers who are good at only one of the above.
They may be good at lawyering, all thumbs when it comes to running a practice, and clueless about marketing.
They may be good at running their practice (and making the most of what they have), but only “okay” in the other two areas.
They may be good at marketing but only adequate or reasonably competent at doing the work and running the practice.
So, I’m calling BS on the adage that you can only pick two. I say you can be good at all three. I also say you can be successful when you’re good at only one.
Now, something else they say. They say that we should focus on our strengths and not worry about getting good at everything. They say we can hire our weaknesses. They say we can be good enough at what we’re good at that we can succeed despite our weaknesses.
And to that, I’m going to agree.
Don’t ignore your weaknesses. But don’t spend a lot of time improving them (unless you want to). Get better at what you already do well, and everything else will take care of itself.