Remote Working Checklist for Managing Partners

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By Gerry Riskin | Apr 6, 2020

This article is derived from actual counseling sessions with managing partners who are operating under tremendous pressure and are doing the best they can to prioritize the the key elements of Remote Working.

Topics:

  • financial viability
  • staff who were mainly office-related – receptionist, etc.
  • protecting existing relationships
  • care of staff and vendors
  • effectiveness at marketing and business development
  • video production (including equipment)
  • quality standards of excellence
  • engendering high satisfaction levels
  • adherence to the firm’s culture and values
  • peak performance of your people
  • analyzing short-term viability of specific practice areas
  • esprit de corps

To achieve these objectives, here is a partial (but growing) list of the kinds of topic we are helping our managing partner clients address.

  • The tone of both internal and external communication (In the name of disseminating information rapidly, there is a high risk of damaging relationships with clients and staff)
  • Technology
    • Capacity
    • Platforms – technology that allows teams to communicate without email (can NOT help with Citrix but augment with Slack, etc.?)
  • Nature of jobs/responsibilities that do not lend themselves easily to the transition
  • Mindset of people involved – some calm, some afraid, some panicking
  • Home situations
    • space
    • children
    • pets
    • ill family members
  • Suddenly succession issues (or position mapping)
    • replacing those who fall ill
    • capacity to rapidly reassign responsibilities
  • Use of video in communications
    • fundamental video training
    • positive video usage role modeling
    • discouraging negative role modeling
  • Understanding the many advantages of video over “phone calls”
    • positive impact on client relations
    • positive impact on staff morale
    • positive impact on focus and concentration
  • Adding some level of sophistication
    • eye contact
    • sound quality
    • how to encourage a client/co-worker to meet by video
  • Leadership
    • What the managing partner must do effectively
    • Communication plan
      • what must be imparted and how
      • the right tone
      • frequency
      • mode (video live, video recorded, length etc)
    • What the managing partner can not do effectively and what must be delegated to other leaders:
      • practice group leaders
      • industry group leaders
      • client team leaders
      • administration
    • Listening internally and externally. Includes creating survey-fatigue-proof surveys:
      • short and obviously beneficial to survey taker
      • for clients, measuring satisfaction, feeling valued, and ease of dealing with firm virtually
      • for staff, measuring satisfaction, feeling valued, and ease of dealing with firm virtually, sensitivity of firm to special needs of staff
    • Firm personnel training – the 20/20-style training approach is ideal for virtual workers.
      • Topics for all:
        • continuing professional development training
        • identifying the invisible challenges
        • feeling out of the loop
        • how to replace the real coffee break/lunch with a virtual one
        • how to really listen
        • how to demonstrate genuine empathy
        • how to communicate virtually with clients – what is different now
      • Topics for leaders:
        • facilitating virtual meetings
        • ensuring individuals are not being orphaned
        • the frequent (relatively short) check-in (individual/group)
        • getting the tone right (even brilliant people get this wrong)
        • empathizing – the reality of what people are facing
        • maintaining awareness of values
        • (demonstrably) trusting your people
        • teaching your people how to communicate
          • with firm’s people
          • with clients
      • “Dynamic Resilience” required from us at Edge and our clients to overcome unforeseen challenges.
      • How the 20/20-style training approach works (timing not year).

If you would like to have an informal discussion about this topic, please let me know and I’ll set up an initial, without fee, meeting with you.

This article will be supplemented and/or updated based on the evolution of the topic of “remote working” as it evolves with our clients.

Gerry Riskin, B. Com, LLB, P. Admin, is an internationally recognized lawyer, author and management consultant and founder of Edge International. He was managing partner of a law firm in Canada and Hong Kong, and is the author of The Successful Lawyer, Creating The Marketing Mindset, Herding Cats and beyond KNOWING. Gerry resides in Anguilla BWI and serves law firm clients globally.