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Can you put a number on your worth?

The second day of CLOC Institute 2018, for us, can be neatly surmised by the infamous Peter Drucker quote:

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”.

Today’s sessions on optimising your inhouse legal team’s performance has gotten us thinking about metrics. Those pesky measures that will highlight if you’re on track to achieving your organisational goals – if you’re measuring the right things of course!

Identify your goals

Often when we think about establishing metrics they’re not closely linked to the goals or outcomes that our business actually needs us to deliver as a legal team. As teams begin to report on metrics, and even become incentivised around meeting certain targets relating to them; it’s important that the behaviour that a metric drives also results in the desired outcome for the business.

So, while a legal team may be considering how they can improve efficiency the most important question to ask is, “will these things actually represent value to the business outside of the legal team”? Make sure the goals for your team create value for the wider business by reducing overall legal spend, increasing the productivity of the legal team, improving internal client satisfaction and reducing business risk.

For some ideas on some measures that correlate to these business goals take a look at our toolkit ‘Measuring Your Impact: 8 KPIs for Inhouse Teams’.

Engage your stakeholders early

Your team doesn’t work in isolation. There’s always going to be key stakeholders that you’ll need to take on your journey with you as you develop and enhance the value that your legal team brings. And when it comes to metrics, it’s key to have these conversations early. So the information that you’re reporting on is relevant and interesting for those stakeholders they need to feel some ownership of it too.

And don’t forget external stakeholders. Dashboards can be a great tool to enhance collaboration between your team and your external long-term strategic partners. Make sure that they’re aware of the outcomes your team are aiming for too. As in-house teams strive for quality, predictability, efficiency and better value, aligning your goals with external suppliers and working in collaboration to achieve them is critical. A great tip we picked up is to hold one or two collaboration summits each year, sharing information on what your team and business are trying to achieve – and encourage your external legal providers to work together to improve efficiencies and results.

If you’d like a refresher on tactics for managing your stakeholders, check out our toolkit ‘Increase Your Influence: 6 stages of positioning for in-house legal teams to impact business strategy’.

Maintain quality data

Apologies for stating the obvious, but if the numbers you’re reporting on are so inaccurate they don’t mean very much – the measures you’re reporting on and your sense of achievement towards them won’t mean a lot either.

When assessing what you’re going to report on make sure the information you’re using is an accurate reflection of what’s happening in your business. And if necessary make sure you take the time to cleanse your data to get quality outputs.

Tech implementation

Don’t presume you can do it all yourself – ask for help. To set up an automated dashboard you’ll likely need help from your IT team, so make sure you don’t forget them as a key stakeholder early on in your process. They’ll be able to help you with identifying your needs and selecting a third-party vendor for pulling your metrics together into a dashboard.

Communications and reporting

Make sure you take the rest of your stakeholders along in the process, a good dashboard isn’t just important for your team, but the wider business need to understand and value it. To cut down on excessive emails, you might want to consider breaking your stakeholders into groups, so they only get messages that will have impact on them and their role.

The key to making dashboards successful is ensuring people find them relevant in their day-to-day life. Without this you’re unlikely to get the buy-in and show the value you’ve set out to achieve. If people are sufficiently prepared and kept up to date with developments, you’ll see a much greater impact in the long run.

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