There’s an old saying, “No one can whistle a symphony.” It takes different musicians playing different instruments and different parts – but who all have the same goal: to create a beautiful piece of music.
Your law office is your orchestra, and you are the conductor. You have different players, doing different tasks – but who all should have the same goal: to provide stellar client service and make money for the firm.
If you’re like most attorneys, conducting your “orchestra” is the last thing you want to do. Recruiting, hiring, dealing with staffing issues, and coaching & mentoring your “players” is probably not your idea of a good time. But the work you do in these areas is critical to the success of your firm. In fact, other than the clients you work with, nothing will have a greater impact on your bottom line and your quality of life, than the staff who work with you. You need to get very, very good at recruiting, hiring, and developing your players. It is the key to your success.
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Would you work for your firm? Think about everything your firm offers, from compensation to benefits to environment. Is it a place that attracts the best people? Study after study has shown that people are looking for much more than just money from their work. They want work that is interesting and that challenges them. They want to work in a place that understands they have a family or loved ones and respects that by not expecting them to work late every night. They want to work for a firm that is organized and well-managed. So what can you do to ensure that you’ll always have the best “players” for your “orchestra”?
- Always be on the lookout for talent. Don’t wait until you are in a crisis to think about hiring. Your own website can be a great recruiting tool for you. Your happy employees are your best ambassadors and recruiters. Let them tell their stories on your website.
- Hire slow. Use skills tests, behavioral interviewing, and behavioral assessments, like DISC.
- Develop and mentor your people. Make a conscious effort to acknowledge your people when they do a good job. And make your acknowledgments specific. We remember specificity; we forget vague generalities – even if they are positive. We are typically very specific with our criticism and vague with our praise.
- Fire fast. When was the last time that you let someone go and said to yourself, “Gee, I wish I’d kept that person another 60 days?” The longer you keep under-performers, the greater the negative effect on every other person in the firm – including you.
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