should you replace yourself

If there were any lingering doubts about the role artificial intelligence (AI) is set to play in our futures, Facebook’s abrupt rebranding as “Meta” and subsequent promotion of the “metaverse” put them to rest. Anybody who’s been paying attention knows that AI is poised to revolutionize the world in the same way the internet did decades ago. Presumably, this means that soon you’ll be able to hire a literal clone of yourself to handle that never-shrinking backlog of undone work.

Until then, however, you’ll have to make do with strategically hiring the next best thing: a mini-you. Before you replace yourself, though, you want to ensure that doing so is actually a good idea. 

The Upside of You Times Two

There are plenty of good reasons to hire your clone. Another similar personality might, for instance, help establish the culture you are looking to cultivate at your firm. Or, you might need someone with an identical skill set to address an overflowing workload that only you (or your clone) are qualified to handle. An optimist who shares your vision and work ethic might be needed to boost your brand and unite your team. Alternatively (or additionally), a mini-you might be what’s needed to ensure your business’s continued success after you’re gone. 

The above notwithstanding, the urge to clone or replace yourself is often a symptom of misguided vanity, and a decision that brings unforeseen, detrimental consequences.  

The Downside of Double You

It’s never a bad idea to take a good, hard look at yourself in the mirror. Doing so often reveals personal aspects that need work, and—while this is productive—it may not be an experience you want to repeat every time you arrive at the office. Not only is accumulated (and errant) irritation with your clone a danger, so too is multiplying personal bad habits that bring no benefit to your firm. Whatever your ego may say, it may do you no good to have a yes-person affirming your every impulse. Instead, your firm might benefit more from a hire who balances your outlook and prompts you to consider alternative perspectives. 

You may also want to question the urge to replace yourself when considering succession plans. Sometimes it works, sure, but sometimes the person best-suited to oversee continued growth is a person who has grown with the times The past two years have made it clear that change can come quickly. New top talent has grown up amidst this shifting landscape and, in response, has developed a dexterity that may be exactly what’s needed to carry your firm forward. While your gut may tell you that a steady course is the surest avenue to continued success, the reality is that old hats rarely works in new circumstances.

Hiring a second you is an understandable impulse, but it is all too often the easy (and misguided) way to fix a failing firm. Turning your firm around or preparing it for the future is a nuanced process that resists simple answers and doesn’t bend to vanity. To learn more about getting this task right, consider enrolling in Hiring & Empower Solutions 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround program—a personalized program that ensures your own blind spots do not interfere with your firm’s success. 

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