How Your Lawyers Can Help You Ensure the Success of Your Business Re-examination

What on earth can your attorneys do to help you with Process Improvement and Management, Business Process Re-Engineering, and Change Management?  They can do much more than practice law in the traditional sense. They can be trusted business advisers who can help you, as a business, ensure the success of your new programs.

An example:  After months of preparation, an established government contractor was poised to launch a long-awaited business re-engineering effort.  The company had made a significant investment to prepare its personnel for the changes.  Through large and small group meetings, all mid-level and senior personnel were told about the coming changes, what would be expected of them, and why these changes were important to the company.  Still, the CEO wondered, had they missed something?

He called us in to conduct a 360-degree review of the affected divisions and their level of readiness.  We evaluated each division’s readiness based on information gathered from all sides (hence, the term “360-degree”): We conducted personal, face-to-face interviews in a private setting, meeting individually with line employees, supervisors, mid-level management, and senior managers.  We interviewed long-time employees and new arrivals.  We asked each one to tell us what he or she understood about the changes:  What was good about them?  What was bad?  If they thought that there was trouble ahead, where was the problem hiding?

In part because we came from outside the company and those whom the company saw as its allies, the responses were very candid.  We then took the feedback, summarized it, and provided senior leadership with an unbiased assessment of what preparations had worked well, what areas were in need of improvement, and which employees required additional guidance or support if they were to succeed.  We presented objective and constructive suggestions to better manage the change.

Perhaps most importantly, we identified specific “corporate behaviors” that threatened to hinder the rollout, and provided guidance on how to increase performance and change behaviors to align better with long-range planning.  Finally, we alerted management to one specific, hidden issue that posed a potential threat.  Management then asked us to brief its regular outside counsel so that that counsel could craft responsive policies – and our status, as outside special counsel, preserved attorney-client privilege throughout those exchanges.


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