Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Fast Start -- Forming Your Fast Start Teams

The true miracle of the Fast Start program is that it addresses several business development imperatives -- neatly packaged in bite sized pieces. Think cross-selling, relationship development, peer networking, client/prospect teaming and skill development all wrapped together in a fun and encouraging process.

The concept is simple -- form teams of four to eight attorneys plus a facilitator and meet regularly (for now I am recommending every two weeks) for one hour to review and discuss current practice/business development activities. When you are forming a team or teams consider these things:
  • The team facilitator must be savvy and experienced in business and relationship development, be active in the market (attending events, business lunches and reasonably well connected), and have solid mentoring skills. It could be an attorney rainmaker or business development professional at your firm.
  • The team members are lawyers from (mostly) different practice groups at your firm. The thread that connects each team member is a commitment to growing an individual book of business. I think it is critical that no team is dominated by any practice specialty.
  • Everyone is a volunteer (no mandatory sign-ups).
  • Once formed each team has the ability to eject team members not participating or contributing.
  • Teams will include partners and associates.
At my firm I broadcast an email to all attorneys asking for volunteers to participate in a new practice building program and emphasized that participation was voluntary. I also visited practice group lunches to discuss the program and answer questions. The response was overwhelming!

It's important to note that these teams are not a platform for any partner or associate who is not able or willing to actively engage in client development right now. This is not the program for learning skills for use later or an activity to burn time.

Next: What to accomplish at the first team meeting.

And, thank you to the many readers who wrote to learn more about the Fast Start program.

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