Astronomical Leadership and Management matrix


I’m a sucker for a good metaphor. And with today being Astronomy Day it seemed appropriate to look to the heavens for inspiration.

David Bilinsky and Laura Calloway’s “Law Practice” piece ‘A Law Firm Cosmology in Four Parts’ uses some colourful analogies to paint the 2×2 Boston Matrix of Leadership and Management strengths…

  • Stars are law firms that shine. They have strong leadership and strong management. They know where they are going, they exude confidence and display vision, and they light a pathway for the firm’s people.
  • Planets are steady types of firms. They have strong management but are weak in leadership. They provide great client service (in fact, technically they’re wonderful firms) but they lack a real vision of where they are going.
  • Comet firms are the opposites of planet firms. They have strong leadership but weak management. These firms often have a great idea for entering a new practice area or seizing a new opportunity. The problem, though, is that the firm lacks the underlying management structure to rein in the visionaries and translate their ideas into solid business systems for the delivery of quality legal services.
  • Black holes are weak in both leadership and management. These firms are really an aggregation of solo practitioners, with the partners sharing costs and overheads but little else.

Bilinsky and Calloway apply their segmentation of law firms, but I think it is equally effective to any organisation or even executive.

Instead of ‘Comets’, I would say ‘Meteors’. Meteors are have the same characteristics of flying fast and bright. But actually, they are ‘Falling Stars’. Management is what keeps a ‘Star’ from falling. So lack of Management would seem more appropriate for a “star” that falls from the sky and dissipates to nothing (meteor) instead of a “star” that perennial revisits us time after time for millennia (comet).