THE

Managing
Partners
podcast

Episode # 220
Interview on 09.20.2022

Hosted By
Kevin Daisey

Featuring Attorney

Ken Hardison



Managing Partner of
PILMMA

About Ken Hardison

Ken Hardison is the Managing Partner at PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association) in Lenoir, NC.

Ken is known as the “Millionaire Maker” for a reason. He’s helped lawyers across the country double, triple, or quadruple their law practices and income! He brings to law firm owners the insights, knowledge, and critical strategies of Legal Marketing and Management that can only be learned in the trenches of real law firm success.

With over 30 years of legal experience, Ken has personally grown and sold two 7-figure law firms and shares his real-life knowledge and experience with other attorneys, helping them experience exponential growth, increased profits, and ethical market preeminence.

Learn from his expertise and what trends are helping grow his firm on this episode of The Managing Partners Podcast!

Watch the Episode

Episode Transcript

Kevin Daisey:

Hello, everyone. Welcome to another live recording of The Managing Partners Podcast. My name is Kevin Daisey. I’ll be your host. Also the founder of Array Digital. We help law firms grow through digital marketing. Today I actually have a really special guest, Ken Hardison. So, Ken has done many things in his career, he’s got a great story, but also he’s not just here as a managing partner of a law firm, but he also helps law firms grow.

Kevin Daisey:

I’m going to let him tell us more about that and all the cool things that he’s doing, and all the firms that he’s helping and how he’s helping. I’ve got to know Ken by reaching out to his organization actually. They have some great events coming up and I wanted to see how we can get involved to attend these events and get out there. And that’s what led me to invite Ken on the show, and he was kind enough to come on today and share some stuff with us. So, Ken, thank you so much for joining me today.

Ken Hardison:

Thank you. It’s a pleasure.

Kevin Daisey:

Ken’s actually in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which I’m very familiar with. I’m in Virginia Beach, Virginia, but we vacation down there quite often, so pretty familiar with that area. So, Ken, I know you’ve done a lot of things in your career, but give us a little background. You own your own firm, to where you are now, helping firms grow.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. So, I graduated from law school in ’82. I went solo, then joined a firm in a small town called Dunn with about 10,000 people. Grew it over the next 12 years, just very incrementally five, 10% a year, just doing Yellow Pages, referrals, things like that. What happened to the Yellow Pages? That’s a whole nother story, I can tell you about that. But we had a general practice. I did a lot of PI and criminal and some workers comp, some disability work. And what I noticed was in ’92 to ’94, our business started leveling off. And then ’95, it started dipping a little bit. And I said, “What the hell is going on?”

Kevin Daisey:

[inaudible 00:02:23].

Ken Hardison:

We’re getting better results. We’re doing that. And I had this eureka moment. I went to court one day to try DWI. In walks Joe on crutches. I said, “Joe, what happened?” He said, I got t-boned by this transfer truck.” I said, “Well, you know we do that.” He said, “Yeah, but I saw this lawyer on TV and I figured he must really know what he is doing if he’s on TV, so I hired him.”

Kevin Daisey:

Wow.

Ken Hardison:

Well, I went and tried the case, won the case, went back to my office and told my partner. I said, “We’ve got the change with the times.” I said, “This is what’s going on.” I said, “It’s very clear.” This is after Bates v. Arizona in the late ’80s. And then people started doing TV and different other things. And I said, ‘We’ve got to change with the times.”

Ken Hardison:

And they said, “No, it’s unprofessional. We’re not going to do it.” So, a year later I left and took one associate and three staff and didn’t have a clue. And so I went out to other areas and got coaches from people like Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, went to other events that had nothing to do with law. Took those ideas and brought them into the law practice, went out and borrowed everything I could borrow, went on TV, did a lot of different things. Actually we did 32 different things to manage our firm. But in five years we went from two lawyers, three staff to 13 lawyers and 47 staff. So, phenomenal growth.

Kevin Daisey:

That’s impressive.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. And did that. And then in 2007, 2008, I started thinking about I’m an entrepreneur at heart, I like to build stuff, but once I get it built, I get bored. I’m not a great manager. I know how to manage, but I hate doing it. I think I’m more of a leader and an idea guy.

Kevin Daisey:

I’m similar to you.

Ken Hardison:

And so I sold it in 2010 and moved down to Myrtle Beach from Raleigh, North Carolina and was going retire, because I loved playing golf and I love fishing. So, I said, “This is a great place to go.” Still near my mother, who was living that time. It was two hour drive. So, I could still be near my family. Went crazy after about six months, I said, “So much golf is enough.” And I started this thing called PILMMA, Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association, because lawyers would call me all the time and say, “Ken, how do you do this?”

Ken Hardison:

And they wanted to pick my brain. And my wife said, “Ken, you need to start charging these people.” And she says, “Because you’ve got a lot… think about how much money that you lost in trying different things that didn’t work.” But I man it all worked out, because the things that did work, I hit home runs. I was either like a homeroom guy or a strikeout guy. I didn’t hit many doubles or singles. I went for the fence every time, everything I ever did.

Kevin Daisey:

I love it.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. Well, that’s my nature.

Kevin Daisey:

Well, real quick too, everyone listening and tuning it in, down at the bottom of your screen if you’re on the podcast, pilmma.org. That’s P-I-L-M-M-A.org, if you want to check out Ken’s organization. And as you’re listening to this, go ahead and take a look at that and see what he’s all about. So, go ahead Ken.

Ken Hardison:

So, we created this thing, Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association, and basically we’re just here to try to help lawyers grow their practices and avoid some of the mistakes I made, and learn from each other. And we have two levels of membership. We’ve got one level where we do a magazine, we do intake trainings, because I have found that’s where the most leakage is. In any law firm I’ve ever been… I used to do a lot of consulting, I don’t do as much now, is that would be the number one place where lawyers were losing money. They spent all this money on marketing. And I know you’ve seen this, Kevin, you probably had clients, they said, “Oh, I’m just not getting cases. I’m just not getting any cases.” They’re getting the leads, but they just ain’t doing anything with them.

Ken Hardison:

They wait five hours to answer an inquiry online, and the deal is you’ve got three minutes, five minutes tops, to answer an inquiry online. You’ve got to answer that phone on the second ring. And on the weekends, it don’t matter when it is, if you don’t, somebody else will, I promise you. Because it’s very competitive market, very, very competitive.

Kevin Daisey:

100%.

Ken Hardison:

All over. It’s the most competitive market there is out there, in my opinion, as far as for law firms, as PI.

Kevin Daisey:

Very competitive.

Ken Hardison:

And the reason is it’s very lucrative. I mean you do it on contingency. How else are you going to make a million dollar fee for the same amount of hours that you might work to get a 10,000 fee? I mean but you take chances. That’s the whole contingency deal. Sometimes you lose. If you pick them right, you don’t. But anyway, we took that up and we started doing events. We do a monthly magazine. We do intake training. We have a marketing round table for marketing directors. We have a management round table for managing partners and managing… whether you’re big enough to have a law firm administrator, a CEO, or just an office manager. We’ve got people that are solos, we’ve got people that are doing 70, $80 million a year. It varies. I also run Masterminds. I’ve got three levels.

Kevin Daisey:

Wow.

Ken Hardison:

I’ve got law firms that are doing under two million, law firms who are doing two to 10, and law firms that are doing 10 over. And the reason I did that is you have different problems, different challenges at different stages in your growth.

Kevin Daisey:

100%.

Ken Hardison:

And what I found under two million, they just want cases. When people first come to PILMMA, they just want to figure out how to get… but you’ve got to be careful what you wish for, because we actually teach you how to get cases. And then what? How are you going to handle all this stuff? How are you going to get the people? How are you going to hire? How are you going to do infrastructure? How are you going to scale it? That becomes the big problem, scalability. That’s why I went and I got certified as a Scaling Up coach with Verne Harnish, who’s going to be our keynote speaker, who wrote Rockefeller Habits, Scaling Up. He just wrote a new book called Scaling Up Compensation.

Kevin Daisey:

Yep. Founder of Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Very well known.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah, EOS.

Kevin Daisey:

Part of that group, actually is a [inaudible 00:08:43]. But Verne is amazing.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. So, he’s sort of like another one of my mentors and it’s helped me with dealing with the larger law firms. And then I also got certified as a John Maxwell leadership coach. You say why do I do all this. I’m the type of guy, I’m an entrepreneur, but I also am a continual learner. I don’t think you ever know it all. If you figure you know it all, you’re in trouble. Or if you’re the smartest guy in a room, you’re in trouble too, I promise you. So, I’m very humble. I know a lot, probably more than 98% of lawyers out there on marketing management, but there’s still a lot I don’t know. And I’m always trying to learn more.

Kevin Daisey:

It’s always a changing world, right?

Ken Hardison:

It is, you’ve got to adapt.

Kevin Daisey:

Well, I want to back up a few things right there, just for everyone listening. A couple things that you said that I picked up on. One, that a law firm is a business just like any other. I own a marketing agency, but it’s a business. I’m an entrepreneur. I own multiple businesses, but you’ve got to figure out how to run a business. And I think a lot of attorneys, for one, or most attorneys, they don’t know how to run a business. They go in to do it for practicing law. Most of them care about that. Mostly they hang around with other lawyers and bar associations and stuff like that. But you’ve got to get familiar with running a business. You have to go somewhere to learn from somebody, because they don’t teach you in law school how to run a business, unless there’s a school I’m not familiar with yet.

Kevin Daisey:

And that’s the biggest problem that I see. The other thing is when we go in to market for a law firm, the first thing we do do is how are you currently getting leads? Is those sources working? When a form comes in or a phone call comes in, what’s happening? Because that’s the first thing that we try to fix is internal issues, potentially, that are going to weigh on us, or you’re getting leads, or maybe the old agency you had was doing a good job and you guys are just dropping the ball somewhere. And so we can get some really quick success by just fixing a couple things, communicating with folks internally and saying, “Hey, you’ve got a problem here.” And one of those leads for a PI case, they might not wait a day or two for you to respond. They’ve already talked to someone else at this point.

Ken Hardison:

They’re going to. It is such a big deal, Kevin, that all my Mastermind members, they get two, you call them mystery shoppers, I call them ghost calls, where we do one online inquiry and one like a mystery shopper, a fake.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah.

Ken Hardison:

A person that’s been hurt in a wreck or something, and we record it and we grade them and we send it to the managing partners for them to listen to.

Kevin Daisey:

Wow.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. In fact, I started a whole company, another company I got, it’s called lawyerghostcalls.com, and we do that. We mystery shop, we grade them out, we record the deal and then send you the recording plus the grade and tell you what you need to do to improve it. And that’s the kind of things, we look at this stuff and then we got Chris Mullins-

Kevin Daisey:

That is genius. I love that.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. Chris Mullins, who’s known as the sales phone doctor, she does our monthly trainings and she takes these things and she listens to them. She says, “Okay,” then she uses those as teaching modules. I also created a whole certification course for intake people, where you have to go through and take tests and then you go to the next module and the next module, because it is… I had a law that spended two million a year on TV and their intakes were going down and they couldn’t understand why. And I went and I did like 10 ghost calls and I played them for the managing partners. There was three of them, there was three partners, and the managing partner got physically sick and went to the bathroom and threw up, because he knew what happened.

Kevin Daisey:

He knew. Oh my gosh.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. He said, “This is the problem.” But lawyers, a lot of them, they just want to stick their head in the sand. And they always tell me that they sign up every case they want. And it’s just not true. They might personally sign up every case they want, but they don’t talk to every potential client, I can promise you.

Kevin Daisey:

No. I mean if you’re a managing partner with a lot of staff, there’s no way you’re doing that, right?

Ken Hardison:

No.

Kevin Daisey:

You might hand select a couple that you want to work on, but the managing partner shouldn’t be taking on that many cases compared to other attorneys.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. But that’s always been a big deal and you got to have systems for follow up. You can’t give up. I mean lawyers that just say, “Okay, I’m worried sending the letter so that they know that I’m not representing them.” That’s not the way you need to be thinking. It’s competitive out there. I like to do it with education, different lawyers do it different ways. I think the more you tell, the more you sell without selling. I’m real big on books. I wrote like seven consumer books-

Kevin Daisey:

Excellent.

Ken Hardison:

… that I used for lead magnets and put out in doctor’s offices, and stuff like the Seven Fatal Mistakes Accidents Victims Make in North Carolina, the Nine Myths of the Workers’ Comp Claim, Disability Secrets Revealed, How To Double Your Chances Of Winning Your Disability Case, things like that.

Kevin Daisey:

Are those all available on your website, off the website?

Ken Hardison:

If you’re a member, you can license them.

Kevin Daisey:

Okay.

Ken Hardison:

Well, it’s exclusive, it’s market exclusive, only one per market. But I’ve got some markets. I got two or three books that I license. But I tell people do it yourself if you can. But the other big problem I see, Kevin, and this happens every time we have this big conference and I’ll have people, “I’ve got 30 things, I’ve got 40 things to do, ideas.” And then they go back and they get started and they get busy and nothing gets done.

Ken Hardison:

So, I think the key to success is these two things, focus and discipline. And you say, “What are you talking about?” Because implementation is the key. And you can’t implement if you don’t have the discipline to quit jumping at that next shiny object or get distracted by something else. The way I teach it is you want to do quarterly planning, not annual planning. I do like five main things I want to get done next year, but really every quarter we pick two or three projects, we lay it out. What does it take? What tasks have got to be done to get this done? Who’s going to do them?

Ken Hardison:

They agree to do them. We put deadlines on them. We use a freeze project management software that you can get. There’s a lot of them for free. We put it in there, we hold people accountable and we focus on those two or three things. And then when we get through with those, then we go to next quarter and we work. What we found was that you get four or five times more things done-

Kevin Daisey:

Absolutely.

Ken Hardison:

… if you stay more focused, but it’s all about focus and discipline. Listen, you can have the 20 greatest ideas in the world on how to get cases, but if you don’t implement them, they’re just pipe dreams, right?

Kevin Daisey:

Well, yeah. It’s too big of a list of things to accomplish, right? And so I follow the book Traction, or EOS is a good way, but those would be called rocks. So, those are your quarterly rocks. And we set those for my team. We have quarterly rocks. We go through and say, “Hey, where are we?” Each week we have a leadership meeting. Where are we at accomplishing these rocks this quarter? And these are moving us towards our goal either this year, five years or your BHAG, your big goals, right?

Ken Hardison:

Yeah.

Kevin Daisey:

All that should contribute. And then we start making future rocks. “Okay, what’s the future rock that we can’t get to now, but we want to get to later?” And so great advice right there, because I think everyone’s like, “Yeah, I got all these ideas,” all these big things they want to do. And then they get back, they get busy, they work on their work and they don’t do any of it. They go to PILMMA, the super summit with this whole list of stuff and they don’t do any of it. They don’t implement it.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah, I tell everybody right at the beginning, I said, “90% of you are going to go back with greatest intentions that you’re going to cure the world, rule the world,” I said, “But 90% of you are not going to do anything.” I said, “There’ll be five to 10% of you that will do it.” I said, “So be that 10%.” I mean be that 10%, because that’s the ones that become… the cream rises to the top. Listen, I was not valedictorian in high school. I mean I was law review, but I wasn’t in the top 10 of my class. I just made it in by skin of my teeth. I’m not the smartest guy, but I get stuff done. In fact, I’m working on a book, I’ve written several books and I would tell all of you, there’s a couple books out there you need to read. And you need to read the E-Myth by Michael Gerber.

Kevin Daisey:

I’m writing them down right now. E-Myth.

Ken Hardison:

E-Myth by Michael Gerber.

Kevin Daisey:

I have read that, my business partners read that. Everyone listening, listen to Ken, E-Myth, if you’re a law firm especially, 100% you need to read that book. Sorry, go ahead.

Ken Hardison:

I read that in ’96. That and Joe walking in the courtroom are my two aha moments in my life. No, really. But the second one I would tell you to read is, I’m plugging myself, is I wrote a book called Under Promise And Over Deliver. And every business I ever ran, I’ve always tried to run it that way, whether my law firm or PILMMA. And what I talk about is there’s three phases of marketing a law firm actually, and it’s before representation, which everybody does, which is kind of what you do then. Then during representation, when you want to try to turn them into Raven fans, give them great client service, get the case done on time, return the calls, da, da, da.

Ken Hardison:

And then the third phase, and about 60% of law firms do that. And then the third phase is after representation, which only about 10% of law firms even pay attention to, but nurturing that past clients can create so many referrals. Listen, I was spending one point five, two million dollars a year advertising back in Raleigh. And I was signing a couple hundred cases a month, but 42% of my cases still came from old clients. Not lawyers, old clients, not doctors, old clients. But I did a lot of things, and that’s the kind of the stuff we teach at PILMMA is how to do this. Because, let’s just face it, you cannot afford to get into TV now. The barrier is so great, unless you’re willing to spend one to three million dollars a month, I mean in a lot of the big markets, you’ve got to be in the top three.

Ken Hardison:

And to get into the top three in most markets, it’s not doable. Or if it is doable, no lawyer wants to take that big a risk, because it takes so much time now. When I did it, I was very fortunate. First day I went on TV I started getting cases. Now it takes six months to a year to get in to where people really recognize you and start calling you on a regular basis. The wait time, and then you’ve got another wait time for your case to mature. So, it could take you two or three years.

Kevin Daisey:

That’s a big investment for a long time.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. And so a lot of people could go broke in between, because the number one reason businesses don’t survive is under capitalization, right?

Kevin Daisey:

Yep.

Ken Hardison:

We know that. Verne Harnish says that you can get by with average people, you can get by with average leadership, but let me tell you if you haven’t got cash flow, it is over. Game over. Because I mean that’s just it.

Kevin Daisey:

That’s it. And you know, you mentioned, I think with your business back in the ’90s is what I think Verne Harnish would call like the valleys of death. So, you plateau. Something happens. You lose. And I think the team or processes that got you where you are, ain’t going to get you to where you need to go. And that’s usually at the one, five, 10, 15 million, you’re going to have these drops. You’re going to experience these issues that you have to fix internally to be able to come back up. And if you don’t have enough cash to get you through that, you’re out of business.

Ken Hardison:

Yep. Game over. And the whole big deal, I mean is like things change. You have to adapt. When you get to 40 employees, you have to rearrange things. When you get to 80 employees, you have to rearrange things. When you get about 120, 160, you’ve got to rearrange. It’s a constant battle, man.

Kevin Daisey:

Right now we got 25 employees and we literally… I love some of my team members and they’ve been with us for a while, but a lot are either they want to leave or they’re leaving because they have to, but I know it’s for the better. It’s just something we have to deal with. And I love all of them, but if they’re not the right fit here… so, we’ve had to go through that. We’ve got a fresh new crew, project managers, operations director, but I’m excited for the other side of it and where we’re going to go.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. But the whole deal is, the reason I started PILMMA is because there was nothing like that for me. I mean no, there wasn’t. Nobody in that market is going to tell you what’s working and what’s not working, because they don’t want you… you’re competitors. And I understand that. But with this, the way I’ve got it set up, especially with the Masterminds, they share and they’re trying to help each other out. And it could save you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of trying something that somebody else has already tried and says, “Listen, this don’t work and I know because I’ve tried it.” Knowing which vendors to use, because as good as I do there’s so digital companies out there, they got more salespeople than they do people actually doing the work. I’m not going to say who it is, but you probably know who I’m talking about. There’s so many.

Kevin Daisey:

I know. And we’ve actually gone the opposite. So, we are no salespeople and just straight up marketing and good work. And we’ve tried the sales game many times and we don’t want to do that. We don’t want to call Ken and say, “Hey Ken, we need to redo your website,” or whatever. We’re all marketing. And if you don’t want to work with us, then that’s fine, but we’re not going to bang on your door and your phone and say, “You need to work with us.”

Ken Hardison:

Well, see, lawyers don’t like that. Nobody likes to be sold to, but everybody likes to buy. But I think the deal is, it’s like with PILMMA, I tell people when they’re talking to me about joining, I said, “I’m probably not a good salesperson.” I said, “Because everything we do is money back guarantee,” because I tell people, “We don’t deserve your money if we don’t help you.”

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah.

Ken Hardison:

And people look at me like I’m crazy. But I made a lot of money. You talking about entrepreneur, I own 12 corporations. So, I’ve got partners in different things, I’m in the golf business, I got golf balls in the company, I’ve got a golf club company, I got a hangover drug company. I’m in the mass torch biz.

Kevin Daisey:

Oh wow.

Ken Hardison:

I’ve sold two law firms. I can tell you about the other law firm I started after I sold my first one. I was at an event and the lawyer said, “But listen, Ken, this all sounds great, but you went out and borrowed a half million dollars. I don’t have the ability to borrow that.” I said, “Well, how much could you raise a month?” He said, “About $6,000.” I said, “I’m going to take your challenge. I’m going to go start a law firm and I’m going to show you what I’m going to do.” And I took 6,000 a month and in two years I built up a social security practice in Myrtle Beach that had 700 clients.

Kevin Daisey:

Wow.

Ken Hardison:

And I sold it, because I really didn’t want to do it anyway.

Kevin Daisey:

You were proving a point.

Ken Hardison:

I was proving a point. I’m a very competitive guy. I like challenges and [inaudible 00:25:17] think I could do it, to be honest with you. I didn’t know I could. I felt like I could, but I mean it really stretched me on figuring out how to get cases very economically, to be honest with you.

Kevin Daisey:

Well, it’s getting to take what you’ve learned and put it into practice. And I think that’s a good case study. So, this is another company I own, it’s called Rival Digital, HVAC space, HVAC companies. And we started that with one client, hired a president said, “Hey, here’s our playbook.” And a lot of the people that you’ve learned from, Verne and all those, we’re very similar, E-Myth, all that stuff. So, you’re preaching the choir here. But we started that and had a goal to do a million in revenue, recurring revenue, contract revenue, in one year. And we got to about three quarters of a million, and now we’ll probably be at one and a half, two million in the second year. And that’s with, I think they have three employees.

Ken Hardison:

That’s great.

Kevin Daisey:

It took my first company 10 years to get to a million in revenue. And now it’s just like, “All right, let’s see if we can do this with everything we’ve learned.” So yeah, it’s just fun to do. And we’re hands off with that company completely. We don’t even do anything, but we still own it.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. It was crazy when I was growing my law. I grew it probably way too fast, to be honest with you looking back. But because it did create cash flow problems, to be honest with you. I’m not going to lie and say it was all easy. It wasn’t, it was hard to sell. But we went from a half a million in revenues to like six million dollars in revenues in like five years.

Kevin Daisey:

Awesome. Amazing.

Ken Hardison:

I’ve seen guys grow… I was just talking to a PILMMA member yesterday that’s in the Mastermind in Orlando. He joined PILMMA three and a half, four years ago. He was doing one million a year. He said he did five million last year. He did one million in January. He’s killing it. But listen, I didn’t do it. He did it. He called me up to thank me, actually. I said, “Listen, I just led you to the water, you drunk it, man. It’s all about you.” Because that’s the difference maker, you can have all, like I said, all the ideas in the world, but you’ve got to have the focus and the discipline to get it done. And the ones that do, are the ones that are successful. And you don’t have to kill yourself. I used to think that I can outwork people. Listen, back when I was building my firm, those five years, 80 hour weeks, man. 80 hour weeks. When I quit that, I said, “Screw this.” And this is the other thing I going to tell you in the other book I got.

Kevin Daisey:

I’m writing all these books down, by the way.

Ken Hardison:

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

Kevin Daisey:

What’s the name of that again? Sorry.

Ken Hardison:

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Kevin Daisey:

Five Dysfunctions, okay.

Ken Hardison:

By Patrick Lencioni. He’s written a lot of books. Also, he wrote a book about how to pick a A-player, because here’s the other key to it. What I’ve learned the hard way is that nobody got real successful by themselves, you’ve always had really great people surrounding yourself with. And the deal is don’t be cheap, go out and get A-players. And you can’t fill your whole firm with A-players, but you need to fill your key positions, what I call the inner circle. Like the people that are leadership roles, they need to be A-players, because you might have to pay them 25%, 30% more than your competitors to get them, but they’re going to do two and a half to three times more than a B-player.

Ken Hardison:

So, really you’re coming out ahead if you look at it from investment, and it’s going to make your life so frigging more easier, because then you can just delegate and not worry. You know you gave it to somebody that you don’t have to stay awake at night wondering whether or not they’re taking care of it for you. I’ve been very blessed, and I know my weaknesses and one of my weaknesses, I hate management. But I like leadership, and there’s big difference, right?

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah.

Ken Hardison:

I’ve always got really strong managers that we’re really good at making sure they manage the people. I’m terrible at technology. I always hire people that were really technology savvy that could teach me. I mean I know what you’re supposed to do, I know about SEO, I know about links, I know about content, but if I had to go code a damn website, we’d all be in trouble. But I ain’t supposed to, right? It’s like they were interviewing, who was it? Henry Ford one day, the paper was, they said, “You’re supposed to be the smartest guy in the world,” all this. And they asked him a question. He said, “I don’t know.” They said, “You’re supposed to be…” He said, “Listen, I don’t have to be the smartest guy.” He said, “I hire people.” He said, “I got this phone here, anything you ask me, I can pick up the phone,” which would be picking up your cell phone now. But back then I can pick up the phone.

Kevin Daisey:

He had buttons on his desk that he could press, right?

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. “I can just press this button and I can get you the answer. Why do I need to know everything?” So, I mean that’s the key, work smarter, not harder. And when you hire people, here’s the definition of A-player. They’re confident, but they’re humble. You don’t want arrogant assholes working for you.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah, they’re a terrorist.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah, because they’re going to run off your good help. And then number two is you want people that are hungry, but not just hungry for money, hungry to grow individually and become more tomorrow than they are today. And then the last thing is to be people smart, and people smart means being able to communicate with people, have a filter on, but yet be honest with people. Well, all I’m saying is one of the biggest dysfunctions of a team is that they can’t communicate. They can’t be honest with each other. They’re scared they’re going to stomp on each other’s toes. There’s a way of doing it where you can do it respectfully and professionally and still agree to disagree. I tell all my staff, we just got through with our quarterly planning meeting, Kevin, and we’re very virtual all over the United States.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah, same here.

Ken Hardison:

But I fly them in once a quarter, we do our quarterly planning meeting. And I flew them into Raleigh, North Carolina, it’s because the airports are easier to get in and out. And I told every one of them to start with two things. I said right at beginning meeting, I said, “Number one is if you ever get up in the morning and you don’t look forward to coming to work with us, let me know and I’ll help you find a job that you are happy, because I want you to be happy. Life’s too short. You’ve got to be happy.”

Ken Hardison:

And number two is I welcome disagreement. Challenge me. I don’t want a bunch of yes people. I want people to challenge me and say, “Have you thought of this?” Because you guys are in the trenches, you know it better than I know it, right? And that’s what you need. You need to be getting feedback from your line workers, because they know more than you know about what really the hell’s going on with your law firm, I promise you.

Kevin Daisey:

I love all of that. And we’re like perfect together, all these things that I’ve learned and learned from others. And I think a big takeaway from this whole segment here, anyone listening, is that people have already figured a lot of this stuff out. Go talk to people, read books, join PILMMA, find a Mastermind. You’re going to be way behind if you’re just trying to learn all this on your own when someone like Ken or others have already figured it out, now you have to implement, but they can tell you exactly what to do or what didn’t work at least, right?

Kevin Daisey:

And absolutely with the communication, you have to have open communication with your team. We had a company meeting this morning. We have a daily huddle every morning with the whole team. They’re all virtual, for the most part. But me and my business partner don’t come on those every day, we show up on Wednesdays and give any company news or say stuff. But one of my things of the day was, just because I’ve seen some issues coming from my operations director, but it’s okay to say… my operations director might say, “Hey guys, I need you to this,” or “Hey, you, I need you to do this or fix that.” It’s okay to say, “Hey, I don’t understand what you mean.” Or, “I don’t know how to do that.” Or, “I need help with that.”

Kevin Daisey:

A lot of the team has recently been like, “Okay,” and then they go and they mess up and it’s not what they expected. And then the manager’s not happy and thinks that they can’t do their job. And I’m like, “Wait a minute. That’s a really good employee. What’s the problem?” And I think with new managers in place, they’re just trying to be like, “Oh, I’m perfect. I can go do this,” and say, “Hey, it’s okay to say I don’t know what I’m doing,” or “I don’t understand what you meant by that.” Instead of just secretly walking off and then going, “Oh crap, what am I going to do?”

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. You know, I always tell people, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Just stupid people that don’t ask questions. I really believe that. I mean I really believe that, because people are scared to ask questions because they think you’ll think they’re stupid. I try to reinforce that with my team, everybody. Listen, sometimes I ask questions that somebody would think-

Kevin Daisey:

What the hell’s wrong with him?

Ken Hardison:

… “Ken, you ought to know that.” I don’t know what I don’t know, right? I told you I’m not… I don’t claim to know it all. And I mean that’s the deal.

Kevin Daisey:

A lot of good takeaways here, and just from experience too, and this is to everyone listening, obviously go check out pilmma.org, his organization, but Masterminds in general, join a group of people that you can talk with. And what’s even better, and so I’ve been Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which is Verne Harnish’s group. In that, it’s a Mastermind, you get in private forums where you can discuss things in private and you have NDAs with each other, which is great. But everyone in the room is different. They don’t own law firms.

Kevin Daisey:

What’s awesome about a niche Mastermind is the power that comes from being in a group of others that own the same type of business. And so if you can go to a Mastermind and you’re a law firm, you choose something like this, PILMMA, is something worth. Because is is so much more powerful than… EO is great and it’s localized, so you get to hang out with people local, but also a guy might own a construction company, completely different issues than I have.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. And I’ve been in Mastermind for 20 years with different type of entrepreneurs, but I’ve been doing the PILMMA Masterminds for over 13 years.

Kevin Daisey:

Wow.

Ken Hardison:

And the thing I love about it, it’s market exclusive so you can have a free flow of ideas. In fact, I just wrote a new book, my latest book, I wrote, Kevin, it’s called a Mastermind Effect. How to ten times… the secret… can’t remember the title it’s so new. I just got it on Amazon. Here it is.

Kevin Daisey:

I’m writing it down. I’m writing all your books down.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah, the Mastermind Effect. The Law Firm-

Kevin Daisey:

The Mastermind Effect

Ken Hardison:

… Owner Secret to 10 Times Growth. And I actually got some case studies in there, because of people who joined the Mastermind and what it did for them. But I talk about the history of how Mastermind started with Napoleon Hill, the Firestones, Andrew Carnegie. And I talk about-

Kevin Daisey:

Think And Grow Rich, yeah.

Ken Hardison:

Yep. And then what’s the concept? How does it work? What makes it successful? And then the fact that there’s different ones out there. There’s a lot of people out there now claiming to have a Mastermind, and it’s not, it’s a Masterclass. You can’t have a Mastermind with 200 people in it, okay? I mean my Masterminds are limited to 18 law firms from different markets or different states, and they have to sign a nondisclosure agreement. And we get in there and we dig in the weeds for two days, three times a year. And then I’ve started doing a monthly, because of the pandemic, then we do a monthly two or three hour call where people can kind of, “I got this issue came up. I need help,” da, da, da.

Kevin Daisey:

Sure, yeah.

Ken Hardison:

And we have our own little LISTSERV.

Kevin Daisey:

Anybody can kind of pitch in on what to do about the situation. Yeah, that’s great.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. But this book, I wrote it because there’s just so many people out there claiming to run Masterminds, and I didn’t say this, but one of my mentors, he said, “Ken, you’re the father of legal Masterminds.” He said, “You started it.” I started them actually in 2000, believe it or not.

Kevin Daisey:

Wow.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. But it was a very loose group of guys.

Kevin Daisey:

I wish I knew about Masterminds back then.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. Well, I’ve been in a Mastermind for, like I said, over 20 years. I’m in one right now with a bunch… I’ve got a guy that coaches musicians, I’ve got a guy that coaches dentists, I’ve got a guy that coaches optometrists. So, we all are coaches.

Kevin Daisey:

Okay. Coaches Mastermind.

Ken Hardison:

And we run these same kind of businesses where we’re trying to help professionals or business owners grow their business, and so we share ideas. We only meet twice a year, but we spend a couple of days and we bring stuff.

Kevin Daisey:

Play a little golf.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah, play a little golf.

Kevin Daisey:

Maybe some fishing?

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. Actually the last one we di, or the one before we did in Key West, and I took all groups out that wanted to go on a fishing charter.

Kevin Daisey:

Awesome. I’ll be in Palm Beach next week and I’m taking my wife on a charter, fishing.

Ken Hardison:

Yeah. It’ll be fun. It’ll be fun. We slayed them, man.

Kevin Daisey:

That’s awesome.

Ken Hardison:

We go to neat places too. The last three we’ve done [inaudible 00:39:13], Key West and San Diego. The next one’s going to be in New York. And after that it’s going to be in the Bahamas. So, we go to really great prices. So, I say it’s a good way to write off a vacation. You’ve got a meetings for two days and then you can stay another three or four days with your family or whatever, your loved ones, and write it off.

Kevin Daisey:

Well, Ken, man, I really appreciate you coming on today and sharing a lot of takeaways. For my attorneys listening to this episode, a lot of you may know Ken or be part of this program. I just got familiar with it myself. So, I’m excited about it. I hope to go to the super summit coming soon. Go to the website, you can find out more about that and the events and the whole group and stuff like that. Ken, anything else you want to share before we [crosstalk 00:40:06]?

Ken Hardison:

No, just if you’ve got anything that you want to know, just go info@pilmma.org. That’s P-I-L-M-M-A.O-R-G. And I’ve got some books in Amazon, I’ve got some books on our website. We’ve got free resources. I mean I still believe in giving. I’ve got a whole free resources part of our website. Just got gobs and gobs of stuff. Even if you don’t want to join or whatever, you ought to go look at it, because it’s good stuff. We keep putting fresh content up there, because my SEO got so much better. No, we put fresh content out there just because I want people to keep coming back, right?

Kevin Daisey:

Oh yeah.

Ken Hardison:

So, we change it about every six weeks, we put out one or two new things on there.

Kevin Daisey:

That’s great. Good for SEO, of course. But then we do the same thing. We’ll evaluate a law firm and tell them exactly what they need to do, and then they might take that and do it themselves, or they might give it to their agency and they’ll do it. We don’t care. If they want us to do and they feel good about it, that’s great. But if not, it’s fine. It’s free information. They might help themselves, they might come back later, but we’re not scared to give out free information either. So, I think that’s important to do. And go check out the website, it is full of information. But I would encourage everyone, an attorney, join a Mastermind, whether it’s Ken’s or not.

Ken Hardison:

I agree. I agree. I totally agree.

Kevin Daisey:

And I think, but if you really want to crush it, join a niche or a law related Mastermind. But I would take a hard look at Ken’s and what he’s done, learn from people that have already done it so you’ll get where you want to go a lot faster.

Ken Hardison:

And a lot cheaper.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah, you’re saving money. I mean that’s the thing. Well, Ken, thank you so much. I can talk to you all day, but I do have a meeting coming up soon, But I love what you had to share. We have the same ideas, read from the same people. And everyone, if you’re listening, there’s a good reason for that. These folks that we’ve learned from, listened to, it’s the right… I mean they’ve done it and they’ve got the processes in place. So, now it’s all about implementation, right? So, you can read a million books, but are going to apply anything from it? So, I think that’s the big takeaway too, is you’ve got to implement something. So, if it’s just one thing, got to go the super summit. Pick one thing that you learned and do that when you get back. That will pay for the whole thing.

Ken Hardison:

Absolutely. And I also offer money back guarantee. After the first day, if you go there, I’ll give you that plus $500 to get you back home.

Kevin Daisey:

Awesome. Well, I’m going to be buying my ticket, but we’ll talk backstage here in a minute and talk more about that. But check out the super summit, check out PILMMA, and you guys have a great day. Ken, thank you so much. Check out this episode. It’ll be up on our website soon. We have it almost live already. We’ve probably done 250 managing partner interviews. We have almost 200 on the website. You can sort by state, by practice area, and hear other managing partners share how they’re running their firms. Marketing, operations, we have it all on there. Free library, free resource. We also have the managing partners newsletter, which goes out twice a week.

Kevin Daisey:

We also feature books from our guest. So Ken, I’ve got a whole stack, a list that we can get out to our users. We have about 1,500 managing partners on our list, but we give out marketing tips, we feature guest episodes like this, and then we also have our book club and podcast by our guest that we’re out. So, Ken will be featured to you out on that. But arraylaw.com/podcast. And then if you need help implementing some of these things, SEO, websites, marketing, advertising in a way that actually works, reach out to us, arraylaw.com. Happy to talk to you, give you free guidance if you don’t want to hire us. And we’re happy answering any questions you’ve got. So, that’s it for us. Ken, thank you so much, sir.

Ken Hardison:

Thank you my friend.

Kevin Daisey:

We’ll talk soon. I’ll see you backstage. Everyone else, have a great day.

Ken Hardison:

Good.

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