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Law firms could learn a lot from Weight Watchers about performance management

By Julious P. Smith Jr, Chair Emeritus, Williams Mullen

11 June 2015

Weight Watchers characterises itself as the most effective weight management organisation in the world. It combines exercise and diet to help people to manage their weight. Its programme differs from that of many others in that it requires participants to weigh in weekly. To be part of the programme, participants must come to a designated place to be weighed. The accountability factor makes the programme work: when people are held accountable, they perform. Law firms could learn a great deal from this approach.

Accountability comes into play in the planning process for law firms and their members. Lawyers are great planners. Firms embrace the strategic planning concept. They create volumes of plans and goals. These plans consume hours of thought and discussion; consensus-building abounds. The firm adopts a well-crafted plan that will lead it to the Promised Land.

Unfortunately, very r...

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