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A Decade of Learning: How to Incorporate Professional Development and Promote Growth

May 29, 2024

Flashback to 2014, Builden is taking its first steps as a one-woman company. Fast forward to today, and we are proud to say that we have 16 team members working on a variety of projects, developing relationships and serving clients every day.

Over the past ten years, we have established a culture deeply rooted in professional development and growth. Our journey has been underscored by a commitment to continuous learning and mentorship and is reflected in one of our core values: Grow Our People.

Whether a company is just getting started or has been operating for decades, it can be easy to let sales, client work and day-to-day operations take priority. And of course, those things are important! The key is to strike a balance–to weave professional development into every aspect of your work. By incorporating training into the culture of a business, every workday becomes an opportunity to teach, learn and improve professionally.

Here’s how:

Mentorship: Knowledge Shared is Knowledge Multiplied

Many of us have seen the benefits of a formal mentorship program in the legal marketing community. For larger companies, establishing a program can foster long-lasting relationships, increase employee retention and help disseminate knowledge throughout the firm.

For smaller teams, training your experienced professionals to facilitate everyday mentorship moments will still transfer skills and develop those relationships. Senior Specialist Jasmine Salinas, who has grown with the firm since 2020, notes, “When we’ve mastered a task, we’re going to pass it on to the next person and guide them through the process. Essentially, the student becomes the teacher.”

We build evaluations into one-on-one meetings every month to ask questions and open discussions about how to improve. This culture of guidance and support ensures that every team member, regardless of their level, has access to the insights and encouragement they need to excel.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

We understand that the legal marketing landscape is fast-changing, and staying ahead means not just keeping pace but leading the charge through skill enhancement. Each team member, from our founder to our interns, acts as a teacher of their specific skill set. In our daily team sprints and longer monthly meetings, we incorporate opportunities for team members to present on a topic they are passionate about.

By encouraging team members to do simple things, like setting up news alerts or tapping into industry publications, we ensure we are up-to-date on the news and trends impacting our clients and the industry as a whole.

Highlight Success Stories Regularly

The old adage, “Learn from your mistakes,” holds true at Builden, but we also believe in learning from our achievements.

After each project, we dedicate time to debrief and identify improvements for the future, continually improving our processes. The answers to “What went well?” are just as important as the answers to “What didn’t?” Sharing these successes with the team ensures you’re not recreating the wheel next time. It also means that happy accidents, as well as in-the-moment-ideas, are recorded and implemented next time.

Every Day is Training Day

To ensure professional development is not pushed to the side, it is crucial to build teachable moments into everyday interactions, such as team meetings. We encourage team members to share new ideas and strategies with their colleagues in a dedicated “Key Learnings” section of our weekly team meeting.

Lean into the value that feedback is a gift. This creates an open and transparent environment where each team member feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. Documenting and tracking feedback from clients and colleagues solidifies it as a training tool for the entire team.

Treating feedback as teaching opportunities, even the day-to-day tasks that legal marketing veterans may not think about – like writing emails – can help improve team members. “When I first started, I was an assistant who fumbled over words (and sometimes in emails), and now I’m regularly presenting to clients and providing strategies to help elevate their firm,” says Jasmine.

Empowering Your People

Day-to-day mentorship and feedback build the foundation for ongoing professional development. In these moments, it is also important to empower your team to seek professional development opportunities in the community.

This approach, particularly as it comes to building legal marketing skills, is at the heart of Builden’s founding. This philosophy was inspired by the former non-profit Legal and Professional Services Council, which focused on community-wide professional development. LPSC helped lay the groundwork for our approach to fostering talent internally.

Through active participation in organizations that host professional development programs, such as the Association of Legal Administrators or the Legal Marketing Association, our team gains insights into the latest trends, tools and strategies. This involvement enhances our collective knowledge and allows us to contribute to the broader legal marketing community.

Investing Beyond Skillset

Our commitment to training includes Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) training. Recognizing that marketing skills alone do not make a successful legal marketer; we invest in EOS training to equip our team with the interpersonal and business management tools crucial for building strong relationships with clients and colleagues. This holistic approach to development ensures that our team members are not only proficient in their roles but also excel in the soft skills that create a positive and productive work environment.

Consider what type of program is best for your team. It may be EOS, process improvement, emotional intelligence or something else. Making an investment that improves your team members as individuals is going to grow the business as a whole.

We understand that our success is intrinsically linked to the growth of our people. These elements have been instrumental in creating a culture where continuous learning is the norm and career growth is both encouraged and celebrated.

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