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The Mad Clientist

Resolutions Rot on the Vine—Do This Instead

By January 4, 2017No Comments


Just after Christmas, knights of medieval times would gather together and, one by one, take an oath. Each knight would place their hand on a live (or sometimes roasted) peacock and recommit themselves to the ideals of chivalry for the next 12 months. The peacock was placed in an ornate, specially crafted gold container and was chosen because its plumage was considered the most beautiful and powerful gift the Royals could offer, alongside crowns and jewels. Some knights would be given ceremonial helmets adorned with plumage.

The ceremony became known as The Vow of the Peacock.

Knights would recommit year after year—they viewed this as stronger than a resolution. The knights were making a public pledge to others and could not break it, as this would be unworthy. The public recommitment helped keep chivalry alive in the kingdom.

The knights viewed a resolution as more of an inward promise—something others may not know about or understand. Better to outwardly commit, continue to drive chivalry, and be proud as a peacock.

Instead of making inward resolutions, we recommend each firm’s executive committee perform their own version of The Vow of the Peacock ceremony—and then ask the partners in each practice group to do the same. As a firm, you will be recommitting to the ideals of chivalry toward clients.

The noblest firms in the legal kingdom will perform The Vow of the Peacock in front of their clients. This means sharing your client service commitments in an outward manner. It can take the form of firmwide client service standards; making individual commitments to each of your major clients around how and when you will communicate progress; learning about their business; providing formal updates; or informing clients of changes.

Use The Vow of the Peacock to recommit yourselves and your partners to clients, as well as to superior client service. And you, too, will be proud as a peacock.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017.


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