To Improve Your Firm, Look in the Mirror

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

I attended a managing partner roundtable recently. In the course of the discussion I asked how many had ever used 360 degree feedback in their law firm. A couple of hands went up. One brave soul said, “What is 360 degree feedback?” Several nodded their heads or murmured that they were wondering that, too.

What Is 360 Degree Feedback?

360 degree feedback is a skills development tool which involves surveying the people above, below and around you to get their perceptions about your behavior and the impact of your behavior. The process may also be called multi-rater assessment, multi-source feedback or full circle appraisal.

It usually involves the supervising attorneys, practice group leader, and team or project leader, as well as colleagues, partners or peers within the firm who work with you or otherwise have ample opportunity to observe your behavior and your work product. The associates and staff who report to you or otherwise work with you also rate your behaviors and competencies, and feedback from clients might also be sought. The process usually seeks feedback on a confidential, anonymous basis.

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Maintaining Your Legal Calendar and Docket

State Bar of Texas
Webcast panelist
Austin, TX
July 15, 2008

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Implementing a 360 Degree Feedback Program

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

Recently two different clients came to their coaching calls upset. They worked for very different organizations, but both had received the results of feedback surveys without any support or private debriefing session. Both were discouraged. They shared their reports with me and asked for help.

A Client That Saw the Glass Half Empty
One client’s report actually indicated a lot of improvement and some very good results in developing teamwork in his group. However, he focused in on the responses to questions that called for negative information, such as frustrations on the job.

He seemed to disregard the responses to the question “What is working well in your group?” He also failed to notice that when asked the neutral question “Is there anything else you would like to share?” quite a few respondents volunteered comments like “I love my job,” “This is a wonderful place to work,” and “They are doing a great job and it’s appreciated.”

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Which Marketing Book Can Help You?

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

Many of my clients ask me to recommend books that can be good tools or reference materials for enhancing their law practice management skills. Today I’m sharing with you my reviews of three popular books that address business development for lawyers.

1. Rainmaking Made Simple: What Every Professional Must Know by Mark M. Maraia. Maraia writes in an easy to read style, and gives numerous real life examples of how attorneys have successfully implemented the techniques he recommends. Those anecdotes shift the conceptual into the concrete, a real strength of the book.

Maraia’s book is ideal for attorneys who find marketing daunting, unpleasant or bothersome. He teaches the reader how to make marketing fun, or at least, in his words, “less torture.” He helps lawyers find ways to market their law practice while doing things they already like doing. He teaches them how to become more effective at the marketing techniques they have already attempted, and encourages them to stretch a little into some new activities.

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