Linklaters, Schrage and rewarding the team not the individual

On June 30, 2015 Michael Schrage – a research fellow at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business (and author of Serious Play, Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become? and The Innovator’s Hypothesis) wrote a fabulous article on the Harvard Business Review website titled ‘Reward Your Best Teams, Not Just Star Players‘.

I remember reading Scharge’s article and thinking to myself at the time that law firm managers could learn a lot from it. I may even have posted a link to the article on my LinkedIn feed.

In the article, Scharge sets out that “top management should seek out talented teams, not just gifted individuals” and that “people need to feel that the benefits of being team players measurably outweigh the perceived and real costs of compromise and self-sacrifice“.

Scharge then goes on to set out that getting the incentives right and appropriately aligned in an organisation – such as a law firm – requires the firm embracing what he calls the 5 As:-

  • Acknowledge
  • Attribute
  • Assign
  • Award
  • Assess/Analyze

Concluding that “The 5 As are the essential ingredients for facilitating a transformation in teamwork incentives. They can put the right “I” in your teams.

With news overnight (Australian time) that my alumni firm Linklaters is “to ditch individual partner metrics to target team performance“, we may just be on the way to achieving Schrage’s goals.

And it may just be me, but doesn’t it make more sense to reward “client-winning, business development, training and innovation” as collaborative efforts rather than at individual partner level?

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2 comments

  1. Richard, I’ve just Tweeted Jordan Furlong as he’d shared the news. Am I being obtuse — sorry if I am — but why is this newsworthy? To my mind, all it does is reinforce the notion that lawyers aren’t team players, and the only way to reward collaboration is to set the system up so that partners are finacially rewarded by playing by a different but oh-so-right set of rules. Jules.

    Like

    1. Hi there mate.

      From my perspective the newsworthiness of this article was more to do with a move away from the traditional reward/incentive programs Magic Circle firms have. It’s my view that we reward the wrong behaviours in law firms and it is good to see at least one firm recognise that and at least attempt to change (whether it works is a whole different story).

      Best, Richard

      Like

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