I recently spent ten days in Venice with my son for spring break vacation.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Italy over the years. I lived there when I was nineteen and fell in love with the place. My wife sings opera and sings there every so often. I just can’t stay away.
I am what you would call and Italophile.
I especially love Italian food. With all due respect to French food, which declares itself the apex on gastronomy, it ain’t got nothin’ on la cucina povera.
And, perhaps, the summit of Italian food is the Bolognese dish: tagliatelle al ragù.
Tagliatelle al ragù is this beautiful, meaty comfort food that makes all other pasta dishes jealous. Its beauty is in its simplicity and understatement. There is no pretense. Meat, vegetables, parmigiano reggiano, pasta. That’s it. And yet, the combination is otherworldly.
The amazing thing about this dish is the recipe is relatively unchanged for hundreds of years.
Yes, the people in Bologna (i.e., Bolognesi) are making tagliatelle al ragù in very much the same way now as they did in the 1700s. Same ingredients. Same methods. Same locale. Same taste.
What Does this Have To Do with Practicing Law?
So, what does this have to do with practicing law? Let me explain.
The Bolognesi figured out long ago they had a winning system on their hands.
They knew that if they combined certain ingredients in a certain way, and cooked it all for a certain time, people would love it. Then, they had the extraordinarily good sense to leave the winning system alone. Don’t change an exceptionally good thing.
In our modern legal world, we’re always looking for the next thing. The next thing will make us better. It will make us rich.
You know, probably not.
I’m all for experimenting and constant improvement (ask my office manager who gets mad at me when she has to deal with my newest experiment), but when you create a system that works really well, stick with it. Refine some things, but let that core system do its thing and deliver results people love.
You know what has staying power and the potential to make money over time? A consistent, high-quality system, that’s what.
Tagliatelle al ragù has been around for hundreds of years. Thousands of people order it every day. Then they come back for it days later because they know it’s that good.
That’s the type of power you want your practice system to have. Find that sweet spot and maintain it.
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