Project launch / team kick-off

One part of the “How collaboration helps the firm recruit, retain, and grow the right people” chapter focuses on the link between collaboration and keeping your talent motivated and engaged.

Based on our surveys, we have lots of examples of benefits such as “the camaraderie that comes with working as a group” and “learning more about nuances of other colleagues’ business lines.”  But it’s only excellent collaboration that ensures these good outcomes.  If partners simply pull together a team, and divvy up work in a “divide and conquer” way the advantages are far from certain.  Firm leaders have the responsibility of ensuring their partners are equipped and willing to lead their collaborative efforts in ways that generate the maximum returns.

One factor that helps to ensure that team members are motivated and able to contribute optimally to an initiative is a firm-wide approach for effective project launches.  McKinsey, for example, has a format where a leader is expected to kick off every new project by briefing the team on the client and the project objectives, and then clearly discussing how each person’s piece fits into the bigger picture.  Teams also spend some time getting to know each other’s work styles, strengths, and development areas.   This step—which can take as little as a half hour or even less if the team is familiar with each other –is essential for aligning members’ goals, helping them know where to turn with questions (which avoids the leader becoming the sole-source bottleneck), and allowing them to see why their “piece” matters.

Does your firm have an effective team launch process?  How do you get busy team leaders to actually do it? 

One idea that was floated at a recent partner conference is to withhold the team’s expense code till they document their project launch.  Wouldn’t this cause an uproar, or is the kind of “teeth” you need to jump-start this process (at least till it becomes a cultural expectation)?

Please comment below — I bet the community would benefit from your wisdom, if you’re willing to share–or email me directly.

Lateral hiring: LPQ and alleged book of business

Chapter 2 of the book focuses on the theme of “Collaboration helps the firm recruit, retain, and grow the right people.”  It focuses on analyses of collaboration’s effects on the following 5 areas:

  1. Integrating laterally hired experienced talent and making them more productive
  2. Developing robust client succession and coverage plans
  3. Attracting and retaining Millennials
  4. Keeping your talent motivated and engaged while they’re with you
  5. Maintaining departed employees as “friends of the firm” after they leave

I’ll be reaching out to this Board frequently in the coming week or so about each of the above!

For now, I’m focused on this sub-section of the laterals piece:  “Another type of failure [besides outright losing the lateral because of poor integration – this point was just covered] is bad assessment of, and an overemphasis on, a candidate’s existing book of business.  Many firms use a ‘lateral partner questionnaire,’ or LPQ, to gauge the size and value of such a portfolio—and most of them know that they have to discount that book by some percentage.  The problem is, what percentage?”

Here are my couple questions to you:

  • Is the LPQ common in sectors outside legal? That’s where I’ve encountered it most.  What’s your experience – either as a recruit or a hiring partner?  If you have examples to share (in COMPLETE confidence – I want to compare across them but wouldn’t cite ANY sources), please email me directly.
  • Any ballpark estimates of how much to discount the allegedly “portable book of business”? I’d love to include a range of estimates.

PS – if you’re worried about me only working on Chapter 2 at this point, rest easy (sort of): I’m now circling back to chapters where I either have new findings or want to beef them up.  I still aim to make my deadline on Jan 1st, 2016.  With your help, that’ll be possible!!