Building Effective and Accountable Teams That Get Things Done


 “Doing things is not the same as getting things done.” Jared Silver said this, but so many of us feel it.

We spend our days putting out fires, or talking to our team members and colleagues about the same problems over and over again. Sometimes the word team only means a group of people working in the same space on the same types of tasks.

But a team can actually be so much more.

Truly effective teams have complimentary skill sets and are focused on a shared, common goal. They work efficiently and get the right things done.

Now doesn’t that sound nice? Does it also sound unattainable?

It’s actually something you can achieve – but in order to make your teams more effective, you’re going to need to put in sustained, committed effort to build the foundations that allow teams to be most successful – together, for the firm, and for your clients.

To start, you need to begin at the very building of the team itself.

Define Your Teams. Don’t let people suffer in roles in which they can’t succeed. Take the time to look first at what your firm needs to be done. Package that into reasonable roles – think of only the what that needs to be done. Once you know which “seats” you need to fill – then, find (note I did not say match) the people who are best suited to achieve those defined tasks. This leads to confidence within each of your team members when they can get a job done well, and confidence in one another for the same reasons.

Manage Your Teams and Your People. No two tasks, two people, or two days are the same. Our business is changing. So we need to provide our people and our teams intentional avenues to grow and adapt. You do that with a few tools:

  • The Right Meetings, The Right Way: None of us want to experience death by meeting, but providing avenues for your teams to work on the business not just in the business that are well-run, on-time, and focused can be vital catalysts to innovation, and demonstrating confidence in your teams that in turn feeds their confidence and accountability.
  • Intentional Leadership: Invest in your people through one-on-one quick meetings to proactively find and solve issues before they become big problems. Explore what people are and aren’t doing well, what they need, how to improve your employees’ experience and your team’s productivity.

Focus on Culture. It’s “the secret sauce” that defines and upholds the intangibles that your firm decides are critical to be part of your teams.

  • Define Core Values. Define 2-5 things that set you apart from your competitors and are essential to success at the firm. Make them part of your everyday communications, marketing materials, and regular reviews of your team members.
  • Focus on Communication. Define some basic “rules of engagement” for your firm – such as how everyone (1) receives feedback and (2) provides feedback with the intent to help. Or, go further and adopt a communication style model into your firm – like DISC, Galen’s four temperaments or even Myers Briggs. Whatever you do, make sure you use it – frequently!

For some, this may sound unrelated to the daily work we have to complete, but the more productive our team members are as individuals, and as a unit, the less time we spend focusing on barriers to achieving the financial and productivity levels we want.

To discuss these concepts, and more concrete steps you can take to improve the overall effectiveness of your teams, contact us any time. You can reach us at 877-676-5492, or simply request a consultation to Get Things Done!  


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Debbie Foster

Written by Debbie Foster

As Managing Partner, Debbie spends her time running Affinity Consulting Group, management consultants to law firms. Debbie's role includes working with clients, helping to launch new law firms, and speaking to legal professionals at law firm retreats and events all over the place. Her talks focus on fun topics like Law Firm Leadership, Effective Communication, Why Process Matters, Time Management and lots more. Debbie is passionate about all things law firm and legal department-related and she prides herself in sharing what she knows as much as possible. Debbie’s ultimate goal is to help people run firms that intentionally become more and more successful.

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