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In search of an internal resource…

09.06.2014
Rubric: Uncategorized

The Russian version of my comments to the magazine «Ukrainian Lawyer» on anti-crisis measures in the present conditions, which, moreover, are richly «flavored» with a portion of personal stresses of managers and employees of law firms, and the Ukrainian society, in general.
My experience in observing legal market suggests that the crisis will make leaders even stronger — leaders not accustomed to accept and cope with new challenges!

Now, the main issues on the managing partner’s agenda are:

  1. Short-term — streamlining operations to reflect recent changes (currency fluctuations, delays in paying bills by customers, changes in demand for services, etc.).
  2. Mid-term — managing emotions and preservation of productivity and efficiency (its own and team).
  3. Long-term — forecasting future business development strategy, resource management and team mobilization to implement the planned.

It is in the management of emotions, where, in my opinion, the significant resource for further development is concentrated – no matter as paradoxical it might have sound, at a first glance.

Current stress and emotions are caused by two factors:

  • uncertainty of the future and the lack of a clear business planning horizons;
  • high threat to individual security (physical and psychological).

However, being under such pressure, but with the right, cautious approach, people and teams are able to revolutionary breakthroughs. Internal communications, in my view, is a key condition for that; more precisely – their intensification.

Firstly, it is necessary to expand the range of tasks that are usually resolved by modes and methods of internal communications. Now, apart from the standard task of «implementing business strategies», internal communications should facilitate rapid updating and adapting the elements of this strategy to the current situation. Obviously, at constant core values ​​and long-term objectives, the methods and tactics of their implementation may change radically.

Secondly, there should be solved the task on the prevention of «informational programming» by TV and social networks (except for positive, these «informational channels» bring a lot of panic and, alas, are full of swarming fake information). Mutual assistance and support in this process is invaluable for each team member and the entire team, on the whole!

And thirdly, another important issue is the creation and production of a flow of positive information for the «external» use, primarily, for their clients (who are also under the pressure of crisis and stress).

Regular communication, summing up the intermediate results, should be a new element of the corporate culture for the next 1.5-2 years. As minimum, it keeps all stakeholders in the form and «on the same page»;as the maximum, it promotes the formation of a new picture of reality (the lack of which in itself is stressful).

It is the best to participate in the solution of these problems as a team, without exception and regardless of ranks. The key to success is to set up the adoption and discussion of all ideas and thoughts, offered by team members. Clear (though short-term) goals and targets, which are worked upon by the implementation team, structure the time and space around. And they also give a significant result (positive or negative), which is the basis for further actions and steps.
Production of ideas should be encouraged, and positive results should be rewarded. For such cases one of my clients uses the term «medal for feat» for material or intangible rewards beyond the existing bonus system frameworks.

Formats and channels used by a firm for internal communications, can also be modified/expanded. For example, there can be created a separate distribution group, or a discussion on the internal website (Intranet), or regular meetings of the team with clients, team discussions can be introduced, etc.

Again, in my opinion, and by the results of a six-month observation of different teams, professional management of emotions and stress reduction are the key to a team’s emotional stability, its ability to work and efficiency.

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