You can’t be a leader without people–but you also can’t lead people without their consent. Estate planning law firm cultures vary widely, but those who focus on developing not just legal skills but teams create an environment that is conducive to success. How do we define success? Positive outcomes for clients, client retention, talent retention, profitability and a work-life balance.
Team building takes place on many levels. A strategic retreat is a great way to bond, but so is a weekly or monthly office lunch. Some smaller offices start the day with a quick 15 minute meeting so that everyone knows who is coming into the office and what everyone is working on. Big firms can break out into smaller groups on a regular basis. Give people a chance to get to know each other and they will work better together. It really is that simple.
Know your team. If you are a boomer, understand that millennials are different. They want regular feedback about their performance, access to state-of-the-art technology, fair compensation, time off for personal pursuits and to be taken seriously. The bigger challenge: if their needs are not being met, they may not stay at your law firm for very long.
Lawyers are different than engineers. Engineers are accustomed to working in groups; college engineering programs include courses on how to work on complex projects in a group setting. Lawyers don’t learn that in law school and many firms don’t treat team building as a priority. If team work is a priority for your firm, understand that new hires may take some time getting used to the culture.
Strategic retreats away from the office create a new perspective Put a senior associate together with a partner who he’s never worked with before and ask them to solve a problem in a facilitated program. The results will surprise the attorneys—and sometimes the program leader. People don’t always know who is sitting in the office right next to them. Team building exercises can be eye-openers.
IMS presents strategic retreats because they work! If you’d like to learn how a strategic planning retreat can help grow your practice, enhance your teamwork and build profitability, call James at 877-352-2021 ext. 80.