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Lived values: How to create an ethical high-performance culture

Christopher Smith considers what lessons law firms can learn from the financial services sector on creating an ethical high-performance culture

25 November 2015

How do you respond when you hear a fellow partner say something unfair or derogatory about someone else in the firm? Or perhaps when they act in a way that cuts a colleague out from a client relationship? Or when you have a concern about how they are working with a client and you believe something is not quite right? Do you speak out there and then, letting people know where you stand? Do you promise yourself to have a quiet word later? Do you tell someone else or do you let it go?

These and comparable behaviours often emerge in law firms which are not in the best interests of the business or the people in it. Partners are often allowed to behave with disrespect, intolerance and a lack of collaboration or recognition of the wider good.1 These kinds of behaviours have been accepted because of the individuals' position, their force of personality or the revenues they generate. However, tolerating maverick ...

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