Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fast Start -- First Meeting and Rules for the Road

The first meeting is an icebreaker and your chance to agree on the rules of the road -- how will this group operate, what's expected, and what do we hope to accomplish. Here is the outline I followed:
  • Introductions around -- Even though most attorneys already knew each other I had them introduce themselves nonetheless. Each person stated his/her name and his/her area of practice. This step is important because it is the first step in ultimately refining how each person presents themselves to clients, prospects, and referral resources.
  • Review the rules-of-the road (which are not open for discussion):
    • Purpose: To assist individual partners and associates in ramping-up their business development activities.
    • Participation: The program is voluntary and is open to partners and associates.
    • The program will provide specific steps and tactics for developing business relationships, mentoring on development skills, and a structured setting for growth.
    • Members must attend all formal meetings (every two weeks). If 2 meetings are missed in a row the group can/will replace the individual.
    • Member is required to report on and meet group-established expectations (amount of external activities, face-to-face meetings, etc.) If not member will be removed from the group.
    • Members agree to assist other group members with introductions, relationship opportunities, and securing new business.
    • Group(s) will be capped at 8 members per. A combined meeting of all groups will be held quarterly.
  • Establish a baseline of business development activity that each member must achieve each week. All of my groups settled on 1-2-1

    • 1 meeting per week with an existing or potential client (a meal or meeting not focused on an existing billable matter).
    • 2 meetings per week with existing or potential referral resources.
    • 1 attendance at an event (industry or community) per week.

  • Next, the group is given its first homework assignment for presentation at the next meeting:

    • Create a list of your top 8 clients. Some partners and associates may not have any they can call "their own" yet... which is a great reason to be in a Fast Start Group.
    • Create a list of your top 8 referral resources (professionals outside the firm that could or have referred business to you)
    • Create a list of the professional and community organizations that you belong to and your role in each organization.
So far pretty simple, yes? Here are a couple of other things to discuss:
  • The group facilitator must do all homework and meet the 1-2-1 goals along with the group. Let the group know this will happen.
  • Encourage the group members to work with each other. Can a group member tag along to a prospect meeting for support? Could two or more members attend an industry event together? The great part about being part of a "team" is having backup when and where you need it.
Next: Defining the role of the facilitator.