Building Strong Managers/Aligning Objectives
The Client - Legal Technology and Consulting Disruptor
Founded in 2013, the client is a legal technology and consulting firm that works with law firms and in-house legal teams. Their mission is to connect the legal sector and bring simplicity to complex matters, replace broken procedures and move siloed teams to integrated partnerships. In the past year they have grown 40% and intend to do so each year for the next five years.
Having recently undergone rapid growth and with this set to continue, the founders and senior leadership team recognised that to maintain their unique and highly attractive culture, they needed to involve a wider pool of leaders in nurturing the talent within the company. As the team grew, across multiple locations, it was no longer possible for the founders to personally connect with all team members whilst also driving the business strategy. Specifically:
Teams failed to see how their work linked to the company strategic priorities and the leadership felt time and effort was wasted on non-critical activities
Team members were reporting a lack of visibility and understanding of how they could grow and develop
The senior leaders were spending large amounts of time and effort resolving people issues
The founder/CEO wanted to have confidence in the management team to direct their teams’ efforts to the most critical activities, grow and nurture leaders of the future and resolve people issues and reinforce the company culture. If this was achieved she could dedicate more of her time to focusing on the strategic direction and ensuring the company hit its ambitious growth goals.
Development of a simple priority setting process which linked individual team members priorities to the company priorities. This included:
A one page document to align team members objectives with the company’s strategic aims and form the basis of team member:manager catch ups
Workshops for managers and all team members on the approach, with an emphasis on helping team members recognise their role in driving their impact on the company and own personal development
Quick and easy way for senior leaders to see where team members are placing their efforts
Development of a intranet site which shows career paths, the behaviours required for success at different levels of seniority and development activities to help team members move between roles
Workshops with the whole management team to build people management skills and develop a consistent company approach to people matters. This involved:
Techniques, hints and tips for tackling people issues
Working sessions where delegates shared real and current topics and issues for the group to discuss and offer solutions
Sense checks as to whether chosen approaches supported the culture the company and team wanted to maintain and build.
The simple objective setting process has been warmly received by managers and team members alike and the clarity of sight between team member objectives and the company strategy has been particularly motivating for many. The Leadership team can now ensure that the strategic priorities are being acted upon.
Team members report increased understanding of career development opportunities in the company engagement survey.
Managers are now acting as a peer group across the business and learning from and consulting with each other, significantly reducing the burden on the Founder/CEO.
Team members struggled at first to fit in their strategic objectives with the ‘day job’. It took a few months and interations before the disconnect between these two elements was resolved. Stronger challenges relating to ‘what are you going to stop doing?’ could have helped speed up this progression.
More communications around the strategic importance of developing and nurturing talent could have helped quicker uptake of the career development tools.
During the training it became clear that many were struggling with the transition from peer to manager. Identifying this in advance would have allowed more support and material to be targeted on this challenge.