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What are some practical strategies firms can implement in the near term?
Wiley: The first step is developing the overall strategic plan for the firm using an outside facilitator to challenge the partners to a higher level of thinking. Develop expectations and goals based on the Balanced Scorecard [strategic planning and management system] approach, and connect the Balanced Scorecard with the overall compensation model in the firm.
Wilson: Use template role descriptions for different kinds of partner roles, goal-setting worksheets, and performance-appraisal templates. [ConvergenceCoaching has] our Straight Talk Your Way to Success e-book that we also encourage firms to read.
Wiley: Invest in a performance management system like Halogen, SuccessFactors or viDesktop. Automate as much of the process as possible. Then, schedule quarterly accountability meetings with the managing partner, and the managing partner with his or her executive committee.
Aquila: Create a performance-based compensation plan. If you don't reward those partners who perform better than others, then nothing will change in the firm. The compensation plan is the final element in developing a culture of accountability. In the plan, you want to reward for production, but you also want to reward those partners who are building for the future. Think of the latter as R&D. Production and R&D are needed for the long-term growth and survival of the firm.