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.

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One thought on “Project launch / team kick-off

  1. I think this point is critical. From the breadth of research/reading I have been doing I have found what I think are these factors for effective launches: 1) the managing partner must model the collaboration process when talking about collaboration itself; 2) when leaders launch they should have the group brainstorm the benefits of the project and what’s in it for everyone. I think the difference between team work and collaboration is in team work the leader announces what will happen and divvy up the responsibilities; in collaboration the leader announces the objective and everyone discusses the goals, process, value of the project, how to get it done, etc from square one forward. Given a group of partners, expanding participation in all phases of conceptualization will be essential.

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