Category Archives: People Development

Business Performance Research: Assessing how treatment of employees at work impacts on business results.

Employee EngagementTo what extent and in which areas are the people undertaking that work being appropriately recognised, engaged and supported to ensure the success of new strategies, projects and initiatives?  What impact does – good and bad – treatment have on results?  Does it really matter? Can the returns be quantified to justify investment of £x or y hours in getting the balance right? Everything is a balance!

Complete this confidential 10-15 minute survey to find out how you, your legal practice and the rest of the legal sector fare on “Organisational Justice” that could impact on performance.  

The questionnaire highlights where lawyers can drive both high and low “Organisational Justice”, which is connected to many behaviours that affect the bottom line, e.g. retention, absenteeism, reduction in productivity, counter productive work behaviours etc.

The Objective of this Research:  Since the 2007 recession and the introduction of ABSs, law firms have been undertaking change.  Amanda Galley is exploring an emerging gap that could hinder their hard work.  Whilst law firms are working hard to change their structure, strategy and systems/processes (new IT systems, project management roles, pricing models etc), there is a fundamental element – the people undertaking the work – where lawyers may need to be pay more attention. The results of this research will help the legal profession to understand this potential gap.

Organisational Justice: is about our perceptions of whether we are treated fairly in the workplace and how those perceptions drive our actions.  The impact could be a positive or negative change in our behaviour; or it could even encourage us to leave or stay at our place of work.  A brief explanation of the three separate constructs within “Organisational Justice” is given within each section as you complete the questionnaire.

Confidentiality:  You will NOT be asked for names or firm names.  There are a few demographic questions at the end of the survey but just generic questions, nothing that can be traced back to anyone.

Who should complete the survey Please only complete this questionnaire if you work or have worked in the legal profession.  As well as employees, Partners and Owners are also encouraged to participate.  Partners and owners – you should still please answer from your own viewpoint, even though some sections are asking about ‘partners and owners’

For more information. email Amanda Galley at amandajanegalley@hotmail.co.uk

10 Principles of Strategic Leadership

10 principles of effective management

Courtesy of Gilberto Carvalhais Ferreira

Many leaders in law firms have never tackled the first hurdle (No. 1), feeling unable to share the load with others, so they never have enough time.  To share the load to get over this, objectives need to be clearly defined and gaps in skills need to be filled.  Invest time in managing performance against agreed objectives and tasks, mentoring others to develop their business and personal skills.  Don’t try to do it all yourself. There just aren’t enough hours in the day … and the rest works for me too!

 

GC Insight: Lawyers need to push more to understand the business

David Eveleigh, GC at Serco

David Eveleigh, GC at Serco

David Eveleigh GC at Serco with a frank assessment of where lawyers – in-house and private practice – need to improve and develop.  More focused on process; better understanding and focus on what needs to be delivered for the business.  His interesting take on lawyer “pull” and not enough “push” to get to know the business feels about right.

Good insight too on how to remunerate to motivate to develop people and culture with the right priorities going forwards.

Making effective changes and innovations here should start by listening to clients … afresh – aiming to innovate and add value to the customer journey.

Read the full interview here >>

Unique online delivery system for ILM & CMI approved management training

Blended LearningeAlliance Education Centre

Our L&D business partner, eAlliance has just launched an innovative learning and education platform that enables law firms to deliver fully accredited ILM and CMI approved training  qualifications to staff using a partial or fully online service to support delivery of programmes that cover essential personal skills needed in any legal practice:

  • Team Leading (Level 2)
  • Leadership & Management (Levels 3 & 5)
  • Coaching & Management (Levels 3, 5 & 7)

Why is the Education Centre different to a normal Learning Management System (LMS)?

The Education Centre delivers a “qualification in a box”.  It has all the standard features you would expect from a modern LMS, but is uniquely configured to intuitively support the learner’s journey through a qualification programme. It contains online curriculum, learning resources and support materials that have been mapped to qualification units in key business subject areas from team leading to senior executive level.  It equips your trainers and L&D team to:

  • Plan and manage every aspect of a qualification delivery process
  • Give access to quality learning and resource materials, pre-mapped to each unit
  • Provide tutor support materials and tools
  • Host virtual classrooms, online tutorials and social media forums
  • Manage assessments, communication and reporting
  • Support blended or fully virtual delivery models

Supporting Tutors, Training Providers and Businesses

The Education Centre is fully customisable, enabling you to create your own qualification programmes from a range of key subject areas. With a virtual classroom, easy-to-manage assessments and simple communication and reporting features, this system has everything you need to deliver professionally recognised development programmes that will make a real impact on both your people and organisational performance.

Which qualifications do Education Centre Support?

Team Leading:

Leadership & Management

Coaching & Management

To contact eAlliance to request more information or to book a demo – go here.

Three Boxes: a Clear Strategy to lead effective innovation in your legal practice.

Well worth watching.  Simple and rational – but I hadn’t looked at this clearly before.

At a time when the most successful lawyers will be those that become more pro-active in developing innovative ways of delivering legal services that give clients and business partners more value from using legal services … here is an interesting way to structure your thinking.  It should help you create more thinking time about new services, while also getting on with running the current business.

With this clarity, there is a better chance of making it happen!

To Innovate, You Have to Manage the Past, Present, and Future

Your business will suffer if your practice doesn’t get started on this … but your competitors do?

Unlock Cash4 “Lean” tools to radically improve your legal practice, but few lawyers in the UK have applied them … yet.

Given the current economic climate there has never been a better time to be leaner, more resilient and operationally agile, but what do these approaches actually mean in the context of running a lean legal practice? In this article, I will introduce you to “Lean”, its five core principles and some of the lean tools that you can apply to make your business more resilient, agile and profitable; also reducing WIP and improving cashflow.

What is Lean?

“Lean” has five ways of thinking at the core of five basic principles, enabling a business to ensure customer/client satisfaction, driving up profits and creating business processes that are efficient, effective and agile. To live by these principles, I can help lawyers to understand and apply a number of Lean tools and techniques to support its adoption that most are unlikely to have considered before (outlined below), adding a completely new perspective to how a law firm and lawyers could operate more effectively.

Without this Toolbox of lean techniques, it is very difficult for lawyers to envisage how they can work (often very) differently, to constantly improve the business and value of services to clients. Lean thinking should introduce radical improvements by enabling lawyers to capitalise fully on their expert knowledge but also release them to think afresh and “out of the box” about what best practice can be.

The five core principles of Lean are:

Customer Value – companies compete by consistently delivering greater value to customers than their competitors, and the first principle of Lean is the identification of what customers value, or more specifically, what they expect. To do this you need to engage with your customers and ask them! It may appear obvious that a legal client may want to win a case or mitigate risk, but how they do this and the processes they go through may be very different. Some may value an online process that is quick and simple; others may prefer the personal touch. Some want to maximise use of technology; others aren’t equipped to do that. You need to know that and to respond to their situation. A Voice of the Customer (VoC) study is a great way to elicit what your customers actually value.

Value Streams – all customers measure value through experiences. Your customers’ experience when engaging with you and other companies they deal with has a profound effect on how they perceive your value and set their expectations of you. The way you interact with customers to create value are “value streams”; interlinked processes that describe how you create value or – when they fail – how you destroy value. An example of a value stream within legal practice can be the process of completing a residential or a commercial conveyancing transaction. Both are made up of a set of basic building blocks. However, the value created at each stage for one customer can be very different for another. A “Value Stream Mapping” (VSM) exercise helps you to describe and understand how you create value … so you can then modify your approach to add more.

Flow – once you have described the way in which value can “stream” to your customers, it is essential to understand the efficiency and effectiveness of the streams. We call this flow and it describes how efficient and effective your “streams” are in actually delivering value to customers. An optimised stream will have zero waste, zero defects and deliver 100% on customer expectations. i.e. the “experience value” equals the “expectation value”, but this is rare. Examples of how “flow” is visualised in a legal practice can be:

  • The number of backwards and forwards communications between the various parties; and,
  • The amount of time spent waiting between each activity.

Based on experience, I’d estimate that the total time spent on a transaction is less than 10% of the total elapsed time. This level of inefficiency has a cost and an impact to the customer and your business. A “Waste and Defect Analysis” (WADA) helps to understand flow capability.

Pull – this principle focuses on the laws of supply and demand. It is generally easier to create supply than to stimulate demand and so there is often an imbalance. “Pull” centres on having the right level of resources/services available to meet demand as it materialises; often described as “Just in Time”. We see pull failures everyday in stockpiles and traffic jams where we experience the value destruction effects when we have to wait for things to happen before we can take the next step. Pull is a way of optimising delivery of value by ensuring supply is delivered to the ‘drum beat’ of demand rather than creating supply and hoping that customers will fall in line!

The new smart motorways are a way of controlling the supply of road space in order to meet customer demand. In legal practices this can mean the alignment of marketing and business development activity to ensure that all departments are working to capacity and not over burdened with work; or where a flexible and agile workforce or processes enable the practice to adapt to changing customer demand. To understand pull you need to complete a “Customer Demand Analysis” (CDA).

Perfection – imagine a world where everything you do is perfect; nothing goes wrong, everything works and there is no waste. You win every case you get or every contract is immediately accepted by a third party and never challenged. Perfecting a process is best achieved by internal teams focused on creating Zero waste/Zero defects. When your teams are embracing the other four principles of Lean, the focus on “perfection” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. An example of how “perfection” can be built into a process would be the use of checklists or “field-required notifications” to ensure that you gather all the data you need at the right time; otherwise some effort would be wasted or reworking might be needed.

Being “Agile” Helps Too

A further benefit of being lean is that it also makes your practice agile. By constantly reviewing what customers want/need and the value delivered; then adapting business processes accordingly, you are able to maintain customer satisfaction. A proactive “Voice of the Customer” activity enables firms to stay ahead of the game by starting to adapt processes and develop services that meet the customers’ demands. Agility does however add complexity, so there has to be a balance in how flexible you want to be.

Strategically, every business should be “agile”. Listening to the Voice of the Customer is invaluable in enabling you to achieve this as you develop your business strategy and improve your business.

As you start to adopt lean, your people will increasingly recognise business processes and they will begin to work more closely and collaboratively with your customers. Your business will become more resilient to changing demands and market pressures as you become more efficient and effective in what you do.

The question should not be whether to adopt lean, but “what happens to your business if you don’t adopt lean thinking … and your competitors do?”

If you want to discuss how Lean can help your legal practice, contact our leading consultant in this area, Dr Lee Williams at solutions@inpractice.co.uk or call +44 (0)161 929 8355.

Making CRM work for you. Whether you are starting afresh or re-launching your initiatives, we have the people and support to help you.

Client Needs AnalysisJust a reminder of the team we have available here at Inpractice UK to support your CRM and other business development initiatives:

Strategy, culture change, client research, employee engagement, planning

Cleansing & Managing Data, Implementing Technology

Sales & Key Account Management – hands-on support and training for your people to generate more business from  new prospects and existing clients.

Software tools to support employee engagement and development of new skills

TO FIND OUT MORE about our approach to implementing CRM, contact Allan Carton on 07779 653105 or at solutions@inpractice.co.uk