In a recent article*, McKinsey described a case study where a law firm in the US was able to make radical changes to its processes and client relationships through using the principles of lean management.
It led me to think about how we could apply some of the same principles to key people processes such as 360 Degree Feedback, Performance Review and Appraisal, Leadership Development and Assessment. These apply equally to all organisations, whether these are law firms, other professional services, or indeed, providers of any kind of products or services.
1. Get clients involved, to describe why individual and team performance is important in their organisations, and why they make such a difference.
2. How a particular activity or process solve a problem we are facing, or provide an improvement in a key area, such as client relationships or service.
3. Be transparent in how you run these activities; set out a clear process, with no ambiguity around the purpose and the desired outcome.
4. Use a mix of skills and the best people for the job: it’s no longer about hierarchy, but what’s called ‘adhocracy’ – authority based on knowledge and experience rather than status.
5.Everything should be focused around deeper client relationships, especially in professional services.
6. Rounded people with a broad range of skills, not just legal technical skills, are going to be able to deliver in the future; include a clear picture of what those skills look like when recruiting, training, assessing and promoting.