Law firms are made up of lots of teams. They spend hours in meetings. But how effective are they?
There’s the board, perhaps with the role of looking at the strategy of the firm, looking for appropriate firms to merge with or open up offices in new locations etc.
You might have a management committee looking at more day-to-day operational issues such as IT procurement, secretarial workflow, recruiting support staff etc.
Then there are client teams with the role of ensuring each client is delighted with the service they’re getting. And there are matter teams and probably other teams.
Each of these teams clearly has an important role. But how many of them are really effective?
Sherwood has worked with many teams to help them become more effective and we’d like to offer you this checklist to help you diagnose how your team is doing.
Invite each team member to review the following list and say whether:
- You would agree strongly with the statement
- You would agree somewhat
- You would disagree somewhat
- You would disagree strongly
- I am clear what the purpose of this team is
- What we do as a team really matters
- I am clear what the team expects from me
- Our meetings start and finish on time
- We use the time well
- We are decisive
- Once we have made a decision we stick with it and do it
- Our process for reaching decisions is clear
- At the end of each meeting we are clear what has been agreed
- At team meetings we need to speak frankly, without causing or taking offense, if we are to arrive at good decisions which stick
- I am fearless in speaking up at team meetings – expressing my hopes, opinions and concerns
- All the other team members are fearless in expressing their hopes, opinions and fears at team meetings
- My views are listened to with interest and respect
- The firm is counting on us to deliver
- We won’t succeed unless we all perform at our best
- I have a critical role to play – If I don’t do my bit we may fail
Then invite team members to talk about their responses and share any different opinions.
Whoever is chairing this discussion needs to ensure everyone is listened to and that views are respected and acknowledged.
In our experience, an open discussion on such matters helps air issues and helps team members become a more effective team.