I talk with my clients a lot about the importance of working with “A” clients. Why? “A” clients are a pleasure to work with, they listen to your advice, they pay their bills, and they refer other “A” clients to you. “D” clients on the other hand . . . well. The other great thing about “A” clients is that you love working with them. While there are some universal truths about “A” clients, like the ones I’ve listed above, every attorney can add to the list with specific characteristics that are key for their “A” clients. One more thing: “A” clients also generate most of your firm’s profit. It is very important for you to know what constitutes an “A” client for your firm.
It’s equally important for you to know what constitutes an “A” player on your team. And you need to let your team members know what you expect – clearly and unambiguously. Why not create specific, written criteria for A, B, C and D players? Let your team know what it takes to be an “A” player. Create a written agreement, ask them to sign it, and commit to being an “A” player. Then, if they should start to fall short of the mark, you can pull out the agreement and use it as a coaching tool to get them back on track.
People cannot excel if they don’t know what’s expected of them. Let your players know what you want from them, and they will either hit the target or they won’t. But at least they’ll be able to see it.