I have been putting a lot of thought lately into what it is about the profession of law that has gone astray and left so many professionals either miserable or driving them out altogether. The perceived "roots" of these problems have long been the subject of scholarly articles and current discussion: Lack of work-life balance, unchallenging work, systemic under-delegation, no diversity (and no more than lip service to solving the problem], competitive individualistic work environments, eat-what you kill systems, and, of course, the dreaded billable our system with it's evil sister [quotas]. I have become passionate about Exemplar and the fixed-price model based on the subjective theory of value because executing on the business model Is DOMINO ONE to all of the other "symptoms" of a broken system. That's right -- the business model fixes and addresses each and every one of the factors that represent the deterioration of an honorable profession.
Many people have trouble understanding how to execute on a model that is based on the subjective theory of value so they depend on a far inferior model that is based on COST or TIME. The Time-based model has been long refuted by business experts and bear no relation to what the customer wants and values and yet the profession that is trained to ask the most questions asks none with regard to why we operate this way. Henry Ford put it quite well when he wrote:
" We do not bother about the costs. The price forces the costs down. The more usual way is to take the costs and then determine the price; and although that method may be scientific in the narrow sense, it is not scientific in the broad sense, because what earthly use is it to know the cost if it tells you that you cannot manufacture at a price at which the article can be sold?”
What has become even more clear than the impact of Exemplar's pricing model is that every once in awhile an industry or profession varies from the Universal Principle of Value and bad things begin to happen. The business model of billing by the hour started in the late 195O's and since then the way they manage, measure, and compensate knowledge workers has changed. What our industry has seen in the past 5O years is the wholesale deterioration in quality of life, work-life balance, challenge, meaningful client relationships, and loyalty to people in general, but particularly the next generation. Our industry has missed the point. . . . it has gone too far astray from the Universal Principle of Value. We are an industry that is NOTHING without its people and yet it is leaving its own behind where financial gain can be attained. It is no wonder at all that so many professionals choose to vote with their feet and simply walk away. It is also no wonder that professionals like myself have taken a stand for what they believe in. for bringing our profession back into alignment with clients and with the Universal Principle of Value. . . . Because Exemplar is about so much more than a pricing model. . . it is about changing people's lives. There is nothing more rewarding and humbling all the same than to lead our profession back to the center, the core, and one day reach the summit of Excellence at the crossroads of Great People and Profitability. Author James Davis Carter put it well when he wrote:
". . Discovery of the power to aim at ideal ends freely chosen by his own free will and intelligence is the supreme achievement of man, and in that, more than any other in any other single fact, lies hope of the future"