Feeding the Fire: Igniting Motivation in Your Team

Greetings to all the trailblazers in the dynamic world of plaintiff law firms! From the bustling corner offices to the rigorous trenches of legal work, we are well aware that leading a highly vibrant and diverse team presents its own set of challenges. Navigating the complex landscape of law while fostering a motivating environment for your team can indeed be a tricky endeavor. How do you effectively stoke the flames of motivation to ensure your firm and team not only persist but also blaze forward with unparalleled momentum?

In this blog, we’ll explore some strategies that not only inspire but also drive lasting impact. These innovative solutions have the power to propel our teams toward unprecedented success. We’ll take a closer look at the diversified fabric of team members that make up a successful plaintiff law firm – from the high achievers who are always a step ahead to the ones who might be struggling to keep pace. Understanding that a “one size fits all” approach often falls short in meeting the unique needs of each individual, we’ll explore targeted strategies tailored to motivate each type of team member effectively. By recognizing where each person stands in their professional journey and adopting a more personalized approach, we aim to not only ignite their motivation but also help them ascend to new heights. Let’s ignite the way!

The High Flyers: Fueling Top Performers

All the best teams have them – the top performers, the A players! Those intake specialists who could probably juggle flaming torches if they weren’t already dedicating their time to building genuine connections with those calling the office. Those paralegals who craft impeccably prepared discovery like clockwork and calendar critical deadlines so that no key dates go missed. They’re the stars in your firm, but even stars need fuel to keep burning bright.

Recognizing the pivotal role these high achievers play in the success of your law firm, it’s crucial to devise strategies that not only maintain but also amplify their motivation. Before we explore, it’s important to understand that despite their outward success, they, too, face their own challenges and pressures. This could range from the stress of high expectations to the potential burnout from constantly operating at peak performance. Addressing these aspects with thoughtful motivation techniques can help ensure that your top performers not only continue to excel but also find renewed passion and purpose in their roles. Here are some strategies to consider:

The Underdogs: Elevating Low Performers

Now, let’s shift our focus to the underdogs—those team members who, at first glance, seem to have lost their spark or are not performing at their best. It’s crucial to recognize that everyone has untapped potential, and sometimes, all it takes is a little encouragement and the right motivation to transform today’s underdog into tomorrow’s top performer. The journey of improvement and self-discovery is different for everyone, and with the right support, anyone can turn their story around and exceed expectations.

It’s critical to approach this task with empathy and understanding. Through a nurturing approach, we can begin to peel back the layers that may be holding these team members back—be it a lack of confidence, personal challenges, or simply a misalignment of roles. With this mindset, we’re not just addressing performance issues; we’re investing in the holistic development of our team, laying the groundwork for a transformative path to success. Here are some specific steps that will help elevate our underdogs and inspire a renewed sense of purpose and achievement within them:

The Unsung Heros: Celebrating B Players in Law Firms

I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without giving a big shoutout to those team members who often fly under the radar. B players are the unsung heroes of a law firm, providing a steady foundation for success. While A players shine with exceptional skills, B players excel in consistency, reliability, and teamwork. Their dedication ensures day-to-day tasks are completed efficiently, contributing to overall success. They possess valuable institutional knowledge, crucial for maintaining continuity during transitions. In a competitive industry, every team member is vital, and B players’ contributions are indispensable for delivering exceptional service and navigating challenges. So, remember to show them some love, too.

B players hold the fort in ways that often go unnoticed. To keep them motivated, it’s crucial to create a culture that values and recognizes their unique contributions. Personalizing motivation strategies, such as offering development opportunities that cater to their interests or providing platforms for them to share their insights, can make a significant difference. Encouraging B players to take on leadership roles in smaller projects or committees not only boosts their confidence but also elevates their visibility within the firm. Regular check-ins, focused on their career aspirations and well-being, emphasize that their growth and satisfaction are a priority. Such gestures reinforce their value to the team, ensuring they remain engaged and motivated.

The Power of Team Spirit

Building and maintaining a high-performing team requires a balance of recognizing and nurturing top performers while investing in underdogs’ growth and development. A firm’s success isn’t solely reliant on individual performers—it hinges on the strength of the team. Whether you’re empowering high achievers or supporting those who may be underestimated, recognize that motivation is akin to a flame. It requires consistent nurturing to keep burning brightly. As a leader within your firm, you possess the power to ignite this flame. So, go out there, fuel that fire, and witness your team–and your firm–radiate brilliance like never before. And remember, should you ever need assistance (or another spark), Vista is here to help.

Standing in the Eye of a Hurricane: Leadership Lessons from Mother Nature

In October 2023, the Vista team was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for a bi-annual mastermind meeting when Hurricane Norma graced us with her presence. While I would not willingly subject others to the challenges we encountered, the experience yielded valuable insights applicable to the realm of leadership. In the face of unexpected trials, we often discover our real strength and resilience. These challenging situations can be seen as nature’s training ground, where we are put to the test, stripped of our daily comforts and routines, and forced to adapt. Such experiences, while uncomfortable and sometimes frightening, often bestow upon us the most profound lessons that stay with us for the rest of our lives. It’s a paradox, really — how adversity can spur personal growth and leadership development. When we’re thrust into an unpredictable storm, we must find ways to navigate through it, just as we did in the literal one that October. As the saying goes, every experience offers a lesson. This blog is not just about our encounter with Hurricane Norma; it’s about the unexpected places and surprising circumstances from which we find growth and learn lessons about life and leadership.

The Dilemma: Do I Stay or Do I Go?

On Wednesday, a couple of days before Norma made landfall, I became aware that the location of our stay was within the forecasted path of the storm. Upon this realization, I took the initiative to independently gather more information regarding the severity of the impending threat. However, the messages I received were conflicting, adding complexity to the decision-making process.

Leadership Lesson: Decisive action or strategic non-action is paramount in navigating complex situations. Continuously reassess the situation and, as new information emerges, be prepared to adjust the course of action accordingly. In this case, the decision to stay or evacuate was not clear-cut and required constant evaluation of changing circumstances. As leaders, we must be prepared to make difficult decisions in the face of uncertainty and trust our instincts while being open to new information.

Avoiding the Lull: The Calm Before the Storm

On Thursday morning, as we waited for Norma’s arrival, there was an eerie calmness in the air. The ocean was still, and the winds were manageable, giving us a false sense of security. We used this time to prepare our team and property for potential damage and created a contingency plan in case we needed to evacuate. Little did we know that this brief period of calmness would be followed by relentless wind and rain that would wreak havoc on our surroundings.

Leadership Lesson: It’s crucial to be proactive and prepare for the worst-case scenario, even when everything seems calm and under control. When faced with a potential crisis, leaders must take charge and create a plan of action to mitigate risk. This requires foresight, teamwork, and quick decision-making skills.

Preparedness: Facing the Storm Head-On

On Friday, a noticeable increase in wind speed and the gradual darkening of the sky occurred. The resort initiated precautionary measures, moving outdoor furniture, fastening light fixtures, covering windows, and reducing personpower to a skeleton crew. Hurricane Norma was predicted to be a category 3 storm. The resort was engineered to withstand up to a category 5 storm, so this mitigated concerns about the necessity of relocation.

Leadership Lesson: Effective leadership in crises relies on proactive preparedness. Law firms need to identify potential threats – events like cybersecurity risks, natural disasters, and physical harm. Ask yourself: are you adequately prepared for these challenges? Avoid the trap of assuming, “It won’t happen to us.

Seeking Guidance: A Different Perspective

Unable to find a local news outlet to help me navigate the situation and struggling with the Weather Channel app that was covering a few different storms, I phoned a friend, my teammate Pam Travis. She lives on the east coast of North Carolina, so she’s intimately familiar with hurricane weather conditions. She was my north star through all of this, providing insights into what I was observing and offering guidance for what I should expect as the storm unfolded. The most comforting news she delivered was that the storm had weakened to a category 1.

Leadership Lesson: Seek guidance and support from a colleague or mentor when navigating challenging or unfamiliar situations. It is even better if they have lived through a similar situation before. Their perspective can be invaluable and provide a sense of direction when we feel lost or overwhelmed. As leaders, it’s essential to recognize that we don’t have all the answers, and seeking guidance is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Stepping Up: Embracing the Small Stuff

As anticipated, the on-site restaurants were closed, but room service was still offered with a modified menu. When I ordered breakfast, I anticipated a brief and transactional delivery experience. However, the reality exceeded expectations as a composed team member delivered my food, meticulously unpacked it on the table, and poured my coffee. They provided a brief but reassuring calmness and grounding to my day, even providing comforting assurances that the resort had been through this before and was prepared and confident. This encounter emphasized the importance of maintaining composure in challenging situations.

Leadership Lesson: Even during challenging times, it’s important to uphold unwavering customer service standards. Small gestures, like the one from the room service team member, can have a significant impact on customers and provide them with a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos. As leaders, we must set an example for our team by remaining calm, composed, and focused even in the face of adversity. Our actions influence those around us and can make all the difference in how a situation is perceived.

Stay Moving: Redefining Idleness

Lingering in a state of idleness tends to usher in unwarranted concerns. Especially in a chaotic or scary situation, sitting still can simply heighten the fear. Recognizing this tendency, I redirected my focus by engaging in activities such as organizing my belongings, praying, and calling my family.

Leadership Lesson: The ability to redirect focus and engage in positive actions during challenging times not only enhances personal well-being but also sets a productive example for others to follow. As leaders, it’s essential to stay active and focus on the tasks at hand, even when faced with uncertainty. This mindset can be contagious and inspire others to do the same, creating a sense of productivity and progress even in difficult situations.

The Power of Connection: Finding Thanks in the Storm

Throughout the storm, my team maintained a group text, lightening the weight of Mother Nature’s might. We bunked together in rooms, spent quality time connecting, and found ways to laugh in the rain. We shared the struggles of minimal generator power, oppressive heat, leaky ceilings, and barely masked fear during the worst of the rattling wind and unrelenting rain. We provided the listening ear, the ready laugh, and the welcome distraction, and our solidarity served to center me. We know this — we’re better together.

Leadership Lesson: Your circle of influence matters! The support and connection within a team can significantly impact resilience. As leaders, it’s essential to foster a sense of camaraderie and connection within our teams because when faced with challenges, we are stronger together. Taking the time to build strong relationships and cultivate a positive team dynamic can make all the difference in how we face and overcome adversity.

The Aftermath: Picking Up the Pieces

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Hurricane Norma passed over us with full force. As the storm subsided, we emerged from our shelters to assess the damage. We found that we were lucky compared to some of our neighboring resorts, and everyone was safe. We were all able to secure flights that would leave the next day. Sometimes, survival can be thrilling.

Leadership Lesson: The true test of leadership comes in the aftermath of a crisis. It’s essential to remain calm and focused, assess the situation objectively, and work with your team to rebuild and recover. As leaders, it’s crucial to remain resilient and inspire resilience in others during challenging times. Adversity can bring out the best in individuals and teams, providing opportunities for growth and learning.

Continuing the Journey: Lessons Learned

The experience of facing Hurricane Norma taught us valuable lessons about leadership in crisis situations. After returning home, it took my nervous system a good week to find its equilibrium. Owning a beach house has officially been crossed off my dream home list, but in its place, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation and newfound humility toward the vast nature of the ocean.

In the face of uncertainty and challenges, leaders who embody these lessons not only guide their teams through storms but also inspire them to emerge stronger on the other side. Just as the eye of a hurricane is a temporary respite, effective leadership provides a stable center from which teams can find strength and direction, no matter what challenges come their way.

The Role That’s Revolutionizing Law Firms: Does My Firm Need a Medical Care Coordinator?

A critical element of a personal injury claim is the client’s medical care and resulting records that help to support their claim for losses. A growing number of plaintiff law firms are taking a proactive stance in this regard, guiding their clients through the maze of medical care with intentionality and innovation. It’s a partnership that has proven to be a win-win situation. On one hand, clients are relieved of an added burden during an already tumultuous time in their lives. On the other, attorneys are empowered to secure the maximum possible compensation on their client’s behalf.

And how are law firms stepping up to assist their clients in this area? Let’s delve into these questions.

Defining the Medical Care Coordinator Position

In order to help clients manage medical care, many law firms are adding a medical care coordinator position to their team. We have seen success using registered nurses to fill this nuanced position. They have the benefit of being able to decipher the client’s medical records and determine what additional care and treatment may be appropriate for the client to receive. This position works well if the medical care coordinator is responsible for reviewing all new cases within 30 days. Ideally, they review the file and pertinent medical records, ensuring that the firm has obtained all test results and applicable records. As we know, sometimes clients present with multiple injuries, and the more severe injuries take precedence.

A dedicated medical care coordinator can ensure that all injuries have been documented and the pertinent records obtained. This provides a full-scope, 360-degree view of the client’s condition as it relates to their personal injury claim. It also provides critical information the medical care coordinator would need in order to follow up with the client and ensure they are receiving the treatment they need for all their injuries.

Taking the time to properly onboard your clients is important. A medical care coordinator can set the stage for a client relationship that allows them to be comfortable sharing information. Remember, you’re relying on your client to be willing to open up to you about intimate details regarding their health and overall medical condition. That can be tough for some people. Setting the right tone at the very beginning will go a long way toward creating a healthy, productive relationship. A medical care coordinator can develop a comprehensive onboarding process that will ensure clients share information regarding all of their injuries, not just the ones they were treated for in the emergency room.

In addition to medical record review and follow-up, a firm’s medical care coordinator should be knowledgeable and be able to provide clients with information like:

Why Having a Dedicated Medical Care Coordinator is Critical

Creating a medical care coordinator position at your firm also serves to eliminate the “public bathroom cleaning problem.” Here’s the idea: If everyone’s responsible for cleaning the bathroom, then no one’s responsible, and it will likely end up not getting done. Paralegals, legal assistants, case managers, and attorneys deal with heavy caseloads requiring lots of time and attention. If there is some responsibility placed on all of your team members for the critical task of medical records review and medical care coordination, it’s possible that no one is really giving it the necessary amount of attention.

Sometimes, the process of nuanced medical record review and effective coordination of a client’s care can get lost in the already enormous to-do piles on other team members’ desks. They may not have the medical knowledge needed to spot red flags in medical records or pick up on potentially overlooked complaints your client has. If you don’t have a dedicated position at your firm that serves to ensure clients’ medical care is a priority, then you have a team of people who may be thinking someone else is taking care of the task!

The medical care coordinator should also work to build relationships with medical providers and grow that core network so your firm is better able to serve your clients. This involves establishing relationships with doctors’ offices and medical facilities and building trust and a reliable rapport with them. Being able to get appointments quickly is key to avoiding gaps in treatment and unnecessary pain. This is incredibly important since many medical offices are struggling with staffing issues post-pandemic.

Having a medical care coordinator can also forge the kind of relationship where the provider’s office calls us if our client isn’t being compliant with treatment. That will allow us to reach out to the client and have a conversation about their treatment. We can ask questions like:

This may help determine the root cause of why a client is not appearing for their appointments and help ensure they remain compliant with medical treatment. Again, a dedicated team member who is able to focus on critical issues like these and create the kind of relationships that are needed to provide critical insight is hugely beneficial.

Ongoing Team Training Elevates Your Firm

Filling this position at your firm doesn’t mean you can ignore training for your other team members. Ensuring your team is educated on medical terminology is vital. You don’t want adjusters to be the ones to educate your team members on medical terminology! The more your team understands, the better able to assist and support clients they’ll be. If you hire a nurse to fill the medical care coordinator position at your firm, they are the logical choice to help train your team. They can develop a training program for the case management and intake team that covers common medical terminology, how to assist with medical referrals, and what to look for in medical records.

When these teams know what to look and listen for, they can be a powerful ally to your medical care coordinator. They will be better equipped to know when to have the medical care coordinator conduct another file review or bring them back into the fold on a particular case if needed. This approach may even add value to the case, as multiple parties are speaking with the client about their treatment and injuries. It helps ensure no red flag symptom or diagnosis slips through the cracks or does not make it into the demand. Also, your team will be able to develop more empathy for the client as they gain a real understanding of what each client is going through. It will help to strengthen their connections and relationships with clients. It can be easy to become desensitized over the years, as a legal team member, to the pain and hardships our clients are forced to endure through no fault of their own. Allowing your team space to understand, on a deeper level, what their clients are going through is impactful.

Sometimes, clients are embarrassed to admit that they’re in pain or that their pain is going unmanaged. When you have a team that is well-equipped to listen to and understand your clients, you will be better able to serve and support them. If a client knows that your firm has a medical care coordinator, they will feel less like they’re alone and more open to discussing their issues. Their issues may be related to medical concerns, an inability to pay a copay, concerns about ongoing medical costs, or difficulty getting to and from appointments. No matter what the issue is, having a sympathetic and knowledgeable person to turn to will help to improve the client experience drastically.

Focusing on Client Needs

The ultimate goal of the medical care coordinator position is to ensure that the client’s treatment is on schedule, their pain is being managed, and that the client is compliant with their treatment. Your firm aims to get your clients fairly compensated for their injuries. The road to recovery for many clients is long and difficult. Supporting them throughout this process is vital. In doing so, you’ll create raving fans of your brand, team, and law firm. Ultimately, that’s the kind of reputation and experience you want to create. The addition of a medical care coordinator can make all the difference in achieving this goal. So, continue building your team, defining roles, and investing in their education and development. It will pay off tenfold when you see happier clients, better case outcomes, and a thriving law firm.

Top Five Worst Mistakes an Intake Department Can Make

Mistakes made by your intake team can be damaging. Systemic issues that exist within an intake department can not only result in missed opportunities to sign clients, but they can also, if not addressed, negatively affect your firm’s reputation. The goal of plaintiff law firms is to turn every client and potential client into a raving fan of your firm, regardless of the outcome of the claim. How do you do that? You create a client experience that serves to make people feel heard, informed, and important. This is accomplished by mitigating the common team mistakes through training and ongoing education and by ingraining your firm’s mission, vision, and values into your team.

Over the past decade, Vista has had the honor of getting to work with many amazing law firms. This wide lens perspective has allowed us to identify and counter mistakes firms (both big and small) make in their intake department. Here are the top five worst mistakes we see intake departments make and how you can avoid them:

#1. They Don’t Treat Every New Call/Lead with the Utmost Urgency.

The importance of this cannot be overstated. Potential clients are often juggling multiple concerns, seeking the quickest and most reassuring legal support. If your firm doesn’t respond promptly, they may easily turn to your competitors.

The team should not only respond rapidly but also exude warmth and professionalism in every interaction. When every call or inquiry is treated with a sense of urgency, it communicates respect for the caller’s situation, time, and needs. It assures them that they are valued and that their case is a priority. Every call should be treated as if it’s the most important task of the day because, to the person on the other end of the line, it truly is.

#2. They Don’t Make Every Effort to Sign the Potential Client Up on the First Call.

This might be the first time the potential client has been injured and needs representation. They may be afraid of hiring an attorney right away. If it’s a case you want, but they need more time to think about it, let them speak with another team member.

Answer their questions, ensure they feel heard, and explain the process so that it feels less daunting and unfamiliar. It could simply be that they need to hear another voice reassuring them that they are taking the right next step. And it doesn’t have to be an attorney. Consider escalating the call to a peer or Intake Manager. Too, train your team to have rebuttals at the ready for common objections. Sometimes being armed with the right words is all it takes for your team, and the potential client, to feel confident.

#3. They Miss Out on Using Quality Control as a Coaching/Training Tool.

A great way to continue to grow and develop your team is by listening to call recordings and providing feedback. Sometimes, team members don’t know what they don’t know. They may not even realize there’s a better way to handle a common situation or question.

Listening to call recordings together as a team can help identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. Use these sessions to provide feedback and training on tone, language, and the overall client experience. Allowing your intake team members to listen to their own calls with a discerning eye can be incredibly impactful. Even long-tenured team members can begin to sound mechanical over time. This is a great way to get ahead of that and have confidence that your firm is changing the way people see lawyers one call at a time.

Quality control isn’t just about identifying mistakes or shortcomings; it’s also a space to acknowledge and celebrate success. When your intake team members execute a call flawlessly, use that call recording in your training sessions to exemplify best practices. This not only boosts their morale but also sets a clear benchmark for others to strive towards.

These feedback sessions should be a safe, non-judgmental space where team members feel comfortable discussing their challenges and seeking advice. It’s important to foster an environment of continuous learning, where every interaction is seen as an opportunity to improve and refine skills. Regular quality control checks and feedback sessions ensure that your firm’s mission, vision, and values are consistently reflected in every interaction your intake team has with potential clients. This consistency in client interaction helps to build trust and credibility, which are crucial in turning potential clients into lifelong advocates of your firm.

#4. They Fail to Brand-Build on Every Call.

Professionalism and kindness should be the consistent tone throughout every call, regardless of the outcome. You may not be able to help every new caller, but every caller should feel heard and supported.

The team should always communicate your firm’s brand values and mission during every interaction, even if you are unable to assist with their specific concern. Provide information about the areas of law your firm specializes in, and offer advice or referrals to other resources if appropriate. In some cases, callers may not have a case that fits your firm’s expertise, but they could in the future, or they may know someone who does. By presenting your firm as a helpful and knowledgeable resource, you can leave a lasting positive impression.

Every phone call is an opportunity for branding, even if it doesn’t result in immediate business. Include them in marketing efforts like newsletters and birthday greetings. They’ll remember your name, and, if the need ever arises, you’ll be the first firm they reach out to.

#5. They Don’t Know Their Numbers!

What is your conversion rate? Wanted rate? Attrition rate? The best firms measure and analyze their numbers…then improve upon their personal best. Law firms produce huge amounts of data on a daily basis.

It’s essential to track and analyze this data to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your intake process. By knowing your numbers, you can identify areas for improvement, measure success, and make data-driven decisions.

Tracking your conversion rate (the percentage of leads that turn into clients) is crucial in understanding the effectiveness of your intake process. A low conversion rate may indicate issues with your team’s response time, communication skills, or follow-up procedures. It can also signal that there are gaps in the services you offer or in the way you market your firm to potential clients.

Similarly, tracking the wanted rate (the percentage of cases that meet your desired criteria) and attrition rate (the percentage of potential clients who do not sign up with your firm) can provide valuable insights into the quality of your leads and the effectiveness of your intake process. By monitoring these numbers, you can make strategic changes to improve your firm’s overall success.

The best, most successful firms are using that data to drive business decisions, develop and hone standard operating procedures, and motivate team members to raise the bar. Your intake team should be aware of their key performance indicators (KPIs), and they should aim to meet their goals every month.

The good news?

Fixing these huge mistakes and improving your processes doesn’t have to be something earth-shattering. A small tweak can turn a stumbling block into a stepping stone. Take the time to work with your team to ensure they have the tools, training, and expectations to deliver top-quality client service day in and day out.

Your intake team can help your firm build on its stellar reputation. They should truly see themselves as brand ambassadors who are on the front lines. If they embrace this role, your firm will land the leads they want and surpass once-distant milestones.

Your intake team is the first point of contact that potential clients have with your firm and first impressions matter. An efficient, professional, and empathetic intake team can differentiate your firm from the competition, enhancing your reputation and improving client satisfaction. So, invest time in training your team, listen to their concerns, and help them understand their role in creating a positive client experience. Your effort will not only drive the success of your intake process but also contribute significantly to the overall growth of your firm.

Driving Ambition: Understanding the Motivational Factors for Generation Z

Generation Z, those folks born between 1996 and 2010, has uniquely thrived in the digital age, demonstrated resilience in the face of climate challenges, adapted to evolving financial landscapes, and demonstrated remarkable strength during the COVID-19 era. As the second-youngest generation, they are surrounded by the wisdom of millennials ahead of them and the bright future of Generation Alpha following in their footsteps.

In the pursuit of nurturing a stronger sense of connectivity within the ranks of their organizations, forward-thinking law firm owners seek insight into the motivations and values of Generation Z to facilitate enhanced engagement and productivity.

Through teachings and observations, I’ve gleaned wisdom into some of these key motivating factors. Then, it struck me like a bolt of lightning illuminating the darkness. My children are Generation Z, so why not consult the very stars that cast light upon my life’s path? As fate would have it, or perhaps the universe’s wry sense of humor, our family beach trip was coming up, presenting seven hours of confined car time to pose my question. With everyone nestled in their seats and nothing but the open road stretched ahead, I curiously asked, “What motivates you to work?” I couldn’t help but be fascinated with their opinions and revelations on the inner workings of motivation in the modern workplace.

Here’s what I learned are the top motivators for the unique members of Generation Z:

Culture and Genuine Passion

Both of these ingredients are non-negotiable. This generation values an environment that embodies a positive and inclusive culture where their unique perspectives are respected and celebrated. Beyond that, Gen Z is driven by a profound desire to do work that truly matters to them. They seek purpose and fulfillment in their careers and endeavors, driven by a deep-seated belief that they can make a meaningful impact on the world. And they want their workmates to be equally passionate about their work, too. That means they tend to motivate others and bring out the best in their colleagues.

Fair Pay

Competitive compensation is essential to motivate Generation Z. They’ve done their homework and researched industry standards to ensure their salary and benefits packages align with market rates. Take note: This generation is willing to do the research and hold you accountable based on what they find. Compensation that reflects their contributions motivates them to perform at their best. Equally remarkable is their proclivity to explore alternative career avenues should they perceive that their current employer underestimates their worth.

Realistic Expectations

This generation has a firm grasp on what can reasonably be accomplished in a work day. Organizations that set and uphold realistic expectations around productivity and performance provide Gen Z’ers with a workplace where they thrive. By recognizing the value of balance and ensuring that tasks align with the available time and resources, employers empower their teams to excel without undue stress. This approach not only fosters a positive work environment, but also leads to more sustainable success and accomplishments that are truly meaningful.

Customer-Focused

This generation highly values brands that are customer-centric and socially responsible. Being part of a customer-focused team allows them to contribute to building a positive brand image. Plus, customer-focused work allows them to directly see the impact of their efforts on real people, aligning with their desire for meaningful work. One of my children initiated a conversation with their employer, which led to identifying an inefficient process that could be streamlined and automated. This optimization would result in increased customer interaction and connection. This discovery exemplified their employer’s commitment to customer-centric practices.

Training and Accountability

These two critical practices hold a special place in the hearts of Generation Z. They understand that continuous learning is the key to staying relevant and excelling in a fast-paced world. By valuing training, Gen Z can acquire new skills and adapt to evolving challenges with ease. They are lifelong learners at heart! What a powerful asset to have on your team. Moreover, they appreciate accountability because it instills a sense of responsibility and ownership in their endeavors, empowering them to make a meaningful impact. In a world where change is constant, Gen Z’s commitment to training and accountability ensures they remain agile, competent, and ready to tackle any challenge that comes their way.

Embrace Technology

Generation Z boasts remarkable tech-savviness and embraces the seamless integration of technology within the workplace. In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, the wisdom of experience meets the promise of innovation. Embracing new technology isn’t just a choice; it’s a strategic imperative. For the older generation entrusted with the helm of firm technology, this is the moment to harness the power of the digital age. By embracing new technology, you unlock the potential for efficiency, improved decision-making, and expanded horizons. It’s a testament to adaptability, a commitment to progress, and a legacy of leadership. Seize the opportunity, for in this fusion of age-old expertise and cutting-edge tools rests the formula for future success.

Relaxed Dress Code

Cutting back on overly stringent dress requirements is a welcome relief for this generation that values comfort, individuality, and practicality. It eliminates the stress of adhering to rigid clothing norms, allowing them to focus their energy on tasks and strategic thinking rather than their attire. Bonus: they look forward to casual Fridays, proudly showcasing company-branded attire. If your organization is still clinging to outdated dress code practices, it may be a good time to sit down and take a closer look at the policy and the why behind it.

Team Bonding

This generation loves fellowship and connection. For them, outside the office is more than just fun; it’s this generation’s secret sauce for success. It’s a chance to break down barriers, strengthen connections, and foster a sense of camaraderie that transcends the workplace. Law firms that choose to lean into this trait reap the benefits of a stronger and more connected organization. Go team!

Modern Office

It’s more than just a workplace for Gen Z. A state-of-the-art facility is a canvas for creativity and innovation, a reflection of their spirit. It’s also a welcoming environment where extending warm greetings to guests and visitors is a breeze.

Communication and Transparency

Both of these organizational attributes are paramount to Generation Z. Raised in a digital age of instant information and connectivity, this generation places a high premium on open, honest, and authentic communication. They crave transparency because it aligns with their values of trust and fairness. In a world where misinformation and hidden agendas are all too common, Gen Z seeks clarity and authenticity in relationships and their workplace.

It’s important to note that motivations can be highly individualized, and not all members of Generation Z will be driven by the same factors. Also, motivations can evolve over time as individuals’ goals and life chapters change. I wholeheartedly urge you to initiate candid conversations with your team. Seek out members from every generation that comprise your organization. Ask them questions that can help you understand what drives them, like:

  • What are they looking for?
  • What motivates them?
  • What are you doing right?
  • What can you do better?

These dialogues become the pathway to unite generations and unveil the distinct motivators inspiring each team member. By taking this proactive stance, you pave the way for a workforce united in harmony and motivation, fostering an environment of empathy and teamwork that enriches us all.

The Overthinker's Odyssey: Unraveling the Knots of the Mind

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an overthinker. I once wore that characteristic about myself like a badge of honor. That I was gifted at perfect decision-making by believing that if my mind played through every possible scenario, the end result would be shock and awe with the best solution. That I was ready for whatever life tossed my way, and I wouldn’t ever be caught napping. Resources were preserved, and only those who needed to be involved were.

Years ago, I learned that not every brain is programmed this way (nor should it be). That it’s possible to be presented with an opportunity, make a decision, and then move on. Excuse me? No unpacking every detail from every viewpoint or second-guessing decisions long after they’ve happened? No thinking about it until you exhaust yourself with scenarios and then procrastinate on taking action because you’re paralyzed with “what if” fear? Who are these magical creatures who just make decisions as if the fate of the world does not hang in the balance?

In truth, as I advanced in my professional career, I felt like I had to keep my overthinking to myself – like a secret no one could know. Frequently, there seemed to be more time spent thinking than doing. I would quietly play through all the possible scenarios in my head, making a thoughtful, albeit, slow, decision before moving on to the next one. When I realized this was happening and that it was impacting my potential and productivity, I knew something had to change about how I managed my thinking.

Hacks from a former overthinker

Navigating the vast landscape of our minds can be a daunting task, especially when it’s teeming with wild thoughts, fears, paralytic habits, and doubts. These unwelcome intruders often gallop freely, causing chaos and clouding our clarity. But fear not, for I have found ways to tame this mental wilderness. So, saddle up as I share my personal strategies. When my unbridled thoughts start running wild with my fears and doubts, here’s what I do to wrangle my ruminating mind:

Remind yourself about yourself

I’ve created a running list of the things — varying in degrees of difficulty — that I’ve overcome or accomplished, both personally and professionally. I’m of the belief that overthinking manifests itself in all areas of my life. Some of the events on that list are — surviving a plane losing an engine mid-flight, presenting in front of an audience without passing out from public speaking, and navigating my way through high-courage conversations. After I read my (more robust) list, I’m reminded that this isn’t the first time I’ve had similar doubts about my ability or skillset. Yet, those premature thoughts did not keep me from lacing up to blaze a trail. Plus, looking back at what you’ve already experienced is a huge confidence boost. Now what does the desired outcome for this look like? Once I have that visual, I reverse engineer the steps to get me there and channel my finite time and energy into decision-making and productive action.

Positive words from friends

Maybe I’m a party of one, but jotting down positive words to describe myself doesn’t come naturally or with ease. As part of my mental well-being plan for 2022, I started seeing a therapist. This endeavor has been enlightening for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest benefits has been an improvement in my communication skills – with others and with myself.

During one of my sessions, my therapist asked me what my strengths were. Easy question, right? Not for me. At that moment, no words sprung to mind. All I could offer was a deer-in-headlights look. To get me to blink, she asked me to do an exercise. Ask my closest friends to provide me with a list of my strengths and areas for improvement. Easy enough. I sent a message to three of my friends, asking them for complete honesty since I have thick-ish skin, and explained what I needed from them to complete this exercise. The responses they provided were humbling, and I’ll share one from each list with you:

Strengths
“Kindness and empathy – I always marvel at your kindness, and it inspires me to do better.”

Areas for improvement
“Overthinks and overanalyzes situations/interactions, even minor ones.” Oof!

Good friends will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. On my desk is a printed copy of their collective responses. I reference the list when I need to be reminded of what I’m putting out into the universe. That my strengths outweigh my opportunities for improvement, so channel those to keep rocking forward.

I encourage you to deposit positive words in those moving through life with you – friends, family, team members, your neighbors, and so on. Whether it’s similar to the exercise I did with my friends or in everyday greetings, positive words have a positive impact.

Seek out inspiration

There’s something incredibly potent about the right combination of words. They have the power to uplift, motivate, and transform our thoughts and actions. Great quotes are my go-to source for inspiration. They act like a shot of espresso to my weary mind, rejuvenating me with their wisdom and insight.

Every time I read a powerful quote, it gives me pause. It’s as if time stands still for a moment, allowing the profound meaning to sink in. These quotes can be transformative, pushing me to question my perspectives, challenge my assumptions, and expand my horizons. They make me ponder upon life’s complexities and simplicities and often lead me to unearth valuable insights about myself and the world around me.

Motivational quotes, in particular, act as a catalyst, spurring me on when the going gets tough. They remind me of my strength and resilience and fuel my determination to overcome obstacles. They’re like invisible cheerleaders, silently yet persistently cheering me on from the sidelines.

Other quotes make me slow down and reflect. In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters. These thought-provoking quotes act as gentle reminders, nudging me to reevaluate my priorities and realign my actions with my values.

I usually have several go-to quotes that I reference regularly. Some of them are scribbled on Post-it notes stuck on my mirror, some are saved on my phone, while others are etched in my memory. Each one serves a unique purpose – to inspire, motivate, provoke thought, or simply to remind me of the beauty and wonder of life.

Remember: Words are powerful. As a serial student, I am constantly seeking knowledge and wisdom to grow and evolve. My quest is to become a better version of myself with each passing day. While the future may hold uncertainties and things beyond my control, one thing I’m certain of is my own potential and resolve. As I look ahead, I see the woman I’m striving to become. She’s confident, resilient, and unafraid to chase her dreams. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that she’s got this!

Interrupt the loop

From time to time, a conversation I had or a decision I made plays on a loop between my ears. When this happens, I’ll ask myself some self-reflection questions:

Was there something I should have done differently to prepare for this?

Is there an unknown that I need clarity on?

If not, it’s time to move on (which is easier said than done sometimes.) Engaging in an activity such as walking, baking, or yoga helps me busy my brain with something else and refocus my perspective. Physical activities, whether it’s a brisk walk in the park, time spent cleaning the house, or a tranquil yoga session, can serve as a potent antidote to a restless mind. Finding ways to move your body releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters, helping to alleviate stress and promote a sense of well-being. These practices of grounding help to declutter my mind, transforming the cacophony of my fears into a symphony of serenity.

Turn down the dial

Remember, it’s perfectly normal to have fears and doubts. They’re part of the human experience. But by employing these strategies and developing ones unique to you, you can harness your overthinking mind and steer it towards positivity and peace. With time, I’ve learned what healthy thinking is and to trust that based on what is known to me, I made the right decision at the right time. I’ve embraced where I am and acknowledge that I’m a work in progress. When the noise gets too loud, remember to draw strength from past experiences and the positive words provided by your circle of influence. It’s eye-opening how silencing that can be and how far it will propel you.

Expand Your Reach: How to Grow your Referral Network

In preparation for writing this blog, I did some research about referrals. Hold the side-eye. This referrals subject matter expert comes in peace and armed with a deep understanding of referrals from my time served in the legal industry and medical field. But knowledge is like fashion; some principles are timeless, and others go out of style and begin to fade in their power and reach. In this blog, I’ll focus on the principles that have stood the test of time – those core values that can help your firm build a wide and strong referral network.

Do I need a network?

A general consensus says referral marketing is the most influential form of advertising. Here are some statistics that illustrate how meaningful referral marketing is to the brands that leverage word-of-mouth referrals:

My experience working in and with law firms suggests that referred leads have a higher conversion rate. And some of the biggest cases settled come from a word-of-mouth referral source. Firms are putting a premium on building and nurturing their referral networks to generate high-quality leads and retain past and present clients.

The trust factor

Underscored in the articles I read was trust. It was said that trust is the foundational principle that holds all relationships and the true currency for all businesses. That trust is a bilateral relationship – one trusts, and the other is trusted.

Cambridge University Press & Assessment’s definition of trust – is “to believe that someone is good and honest and will not harm you, or that something is safe and reliable.” This a great reminder of how delicate and beautiful trust is and why it influences referrals in such a powerful way. If someone knows and trusts your brand and makes a word-of-mouth referral, it has a superpower!

Clearly, people trust recommendations from their friends, family, and peers. It’s much more likely that their recommendation will be taken seriously and lead to a conversion.

First things first

Referral marketing is a great way to leverage the power of word-of-mouth and get more customers. People are more likely to trust recommendations from their friends and family, so it’s important to make sure that your brand is share-worthy. Your brand should be creating and delivering a service that people will want to share with their friends and family. Providing quality work and excellent customer service will ensure that your customers have a positive experience with your company, which in turn will encourage them to spread the word about you organically. This positive client journey will be vital to building a solid referral network and getting high-quality referral leads.

Anatomy of a referral network

A referral network is a group of brand champions who refer your firm to interested leads. Your network might include your team, client base, and attorneys outside your firm.

Your Team: Who knows and trusts your brand better than your team? They are intimately involved in the case-handling process and understand the challenges clients face after a crash. Most firms encourage and incentivize personal referrals. Personal referral incentives might be an hour of PTO time for “X” number of personal referrals in a given time period. Firms also typically expect each attorney to have “X” number of attorney referrals in a given period of time. That expectation is memorialized in the attorney scorecard.

Client Base: A prime time to ask clients for a referral is at the settlement meeting. Happy clients want to do something to thank you for helping them. You must tell them what you want! What you want is the referral of a friend, family member, or peer should a legal need arise. Consider targeted training for your team members for this process. While it comes as second nature to some, it may not to others. Provide team members with a short script to use and allow them creative license to modify how they see fit, so it feels natural to them.

Market to your entire database to stay top of mind for legal needs: current clients, former clients, and anyone who has ever contacted your firm. It must be said that you should be capturing (in your case management system) all demographic information (name, address, phone number, email, and date of birth) for all leads that come into your firm, regardless of the case type they’re calling about or the disposition of the intake screening for ongoing marketing initiatives. Marketing initiatives might be email drip campaigns or snail mail campaigns – such as birthday cards, newsletters, etc.

Outside Attorneys: Firms recognize the value in adding attorneys outside their core practice area or jurisdiction to their network. Some suggested ways to grow your attorney referral network are:

  • Reconnect with your law school acquaintances.
  • Provide a monthly budget for your team of attorneys for them to take someone to lunch or dinner or join a club. An itemized statement should be submitted to accounting for all expenses. Memorialize the budget in their scorecard and encourage them to use it.
  • Connect with other attendees at CLEs, conferences, or mastermind meetings.
  • Present at conferences or local bar association meetings to gain recognition.
  • Revive old partnerships.

Once a referral partnership is established, memorialize the terms and expectations in writing, prior to the referral of your first client. Consider questions like:

  • What is the attorney fee split?
  • Who pays expenses?
  • How often will your firm be providing case status updates?
  • How will status updates be provided?

For firms that are referring cases to your office on an annual basis, make sure the firm is in good standing and get an updated copy of their malpractice insurance.

Keeping them in the loop

Develop a system of reporting back to your attorney referral sources. By proactively reporting to the referring firm, you stay top of mind for additional referrals and provide the firm with peace of mind that you are actively working on the case. It also reassures them that you haven’t forgotten their interest in the case.

Once a case reaches a positive resolution, firms include a copy of the signed settlement memo to show the distribution of all funds, the referral fee check, and a personalized thank you for the referral note.

Valuing the relationship

Don’t ever forget to recognize their trust in you. Handwritten thank you notes for your best advocates expressing your sincere gratitude go a long way. You might also consider sending gifts as a token of your appreciation. Many firms send gifts towards the end of the year around the holidays. Firms are breaking from tradition and getting really creative by sending something unique and local to their area. For reference, at Vista, a Louisiana based business, we send King Cakes in February in celebration of Mardi Gras. The pictures we get from our clients are GOLD, and it’s always fun to learn who got the baby!

Brand Ambassador

Now that you’ve built an army of brand champions, let’s make sure someone is at the helm of referral relations. This designated team member could double as the client relations and co-counsel partner relations ambassador to build and nurture referral relationships. The ambassador should be responsible for the following:

  • Sending out regular updates (monthly or quarterly) on firm achievements, attorney recognitions, and new services.
  • Conducting check-in calls with referring attorneys to ensure their referral needs are being met and that communication lines remain open.
  • Implementing a thank you program to reward advocates and thank them for their support. This could include an annual lunch, tickets to a local sporting event, or a charitable donation in the firm’s name.
  • Developing strategic partnerships with other firms to create a mutually beneficial referral network.

By developing and nurturing relationships with attorney referral sources, you can expect more repeat referrals and create an army of brand champions who are as passionate about your practice as you are. Building relationships takes time, but once established, the results will be worth it! Now go tell a friend to tell a friend and partner up!

Where did the time go?: Tips for Effective Time Management

I believe it’s safe to say that we’ve all experienced the woes of getting to the end of the day and asking ourselves, where did the time go? Everybody gets the same 24 hours each day, but too often, we feel like we must be missing hours. As professionals in a fast-paced, high-pressure industry, it’s critical that we maximize our time and end the day feeling productive and accomplished. Managing your time effectively is an important skill to develop. In this blog, I’ll cover some of the most effective strategies I’ve found to help you get the most out of every minute, streamline your workday, and optimize your time.

Perform a time-audit:

Try diligently tracking where you are investing your time by logging your activities every day for one week to get a good overview. I tracked my time and activities by creating a Daily Momentum Log in Excel. You’ll want to create five worksheets, one for each day of the week. The first column was the time of day, and the second was the task or project I was working on. I suggest making an entry every 30 minutes to identify what you are working on. If you wait until the end of the day, you may not remember all your task movements and how much time you devoted to completing them. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re head down working, so I set a timer on my phone to alert me every thirty minutes as a reminder. The interruptions were painful, but the juice was worth the squeeze.

What you’ll glean from this is: 

  • Identifying where your time is being spent.
  • Discovering tasks that can be delegated.
  • Honing in on skills you want to grow and develop.

An exercise such as this may seem like something for professional rookies. It’s not! It benefits all people – rookies and veterans alike. It’s an eye-opening exercise that I perform every December.

Use a daily agenda:

At the end of every day, try to prepare your next day’s agenda. Doing so may keep you from tossing and turning at night, thinking about what you want to accomplish the next day. If you can’t do it the day before, prepare it as soon as you arrive at the office. Creating a written schedule creates some personal accountability. You’ll also find that a plan helps jumpstart your day and keeps you from toggling between tasks…or, worse, wasting time or energy trying to decide what to start working on first.

Try to assemble your high-priority activities when you are most productive. Some people are most energized and efficient in the morning, while others focus more effectively in the afternoon. There are online resources that can help you identify your “peak times” of the day.

Using online resources and self-reflection, I learned that I was my most creative self in the morning. Therefore, my mornings are primarily dedicated to working on to-dos such as writing or creating project content and visuals. I then use the afternoon for other tasks and scheduled calls. When are you your most creative self? Does your agenda reflect that?

As part of your planning, use time blocking to provide additional structure. Time blocking divides your day into smaller blocks. Each task will have a dedicated amount of time and help keep you task-focused.

Let’s face it: our days often contain surprises, obstacles, and crisis-level situations. Add contingency time on your schedule for the “unexpected.” As new tasks emerge, jot them down on a sticky note. Writing it down helps keep you grounded on the task at hand and ensures nothing falls through the cracks. Work on those new to-dos during the buffer time on your schedule. Doing so will help you stay on track and complete work timely.

Playing the email game:

The average professional receives one hundred and twenty-one emails per day.  Whenever you stop what you’re working on to check your email, it can take up to 20 minutes to reorientate yourself and get back on track. That’s some staggering data that proves emails can be a huge time suck and can limit your productivity! They have the capacity to wreak havoc on your daily workflow.

If you review and respond to emails as they come in, consider time blocking to help combat the disruption. I work from my email three times a day for 30 minutes. I’ve also silenced my new email notifications.

Communication with your team is critical to time blocking. Let them know that this is your email workflow. If something comes up that needs your immediate attention, ask them to call or text you instead of sending you an email that will leave them waiting for you to reply.

Celebrate your wins:

Whether it’s a small task or an enormous task, completing a to-do feels good! I try to celebrate wins, and for me, the reward for success comes in various shapes and sizes. I feel a sufficient amount of happiness when striking out a completed task (call me old-fashioned, but I use a paper agenda.) For a task that consumes a lot of brain power, I might take a break and go outside to get fresh air in my lungs to recharge my energy level. I work from home, so for tasks completed with teammates, I like sending (and receiving) air high-fives by email.

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn 

Words have power. And these 10 words strung together inspired change within me. It started with being honest with myself and acknowledging that the day was running me (which was a bitter taste!) My day was primarily managed by outside influences, which meant I was reacting to incoming requests and allowing those needs to take priority over advancing my daily goals. While I recognize that from time to time, there will be days where we play defense rather than offense, I believe that should be the exception, not the rule.

I made a commitment to myself to regain control of my time and energy. I said goodbye to the familiar and old mindsets that were creating inefficiencies in my workflow and curated a more efficient daily work plan that was wholesome for me, my clients, and my team. Noteworthy: there are moments when I find myself slipping back into old habits. I speak to myself with kindness and give myself grace…after all, old habits die hard. I recognize it for what it is, a moment to slow down and refocus myself. My best advice? Take baby steps. Start with one new habit in your daily workflow. Once it becomes routine, congratulate yourself and incorporate another. Getting organized is a marathon, not a sprint – pace yourself to avoid fatigue. Now go take back control of your day!

Guides for Greatness: Tips for Coaching Your Intake Team

Most of my childhood memories revolve around playing sports. Softball once ruled my spring and summer, then basketball ruled my fall and winter. As I reflect on those days, so many moments come flooding back – long days of practice, big wins, crushing losses, and the bond I shared with teammates. What tied all those moments together was my coach for many of those years, Coach Abney. By definition, a coach is a passionate, dedicated individual who unlocks hidden potential and maximizes a team’s performance by believing, encouraging, and developing. And boy, he was passionate about the game and dedicated to his players! I spent many, many days developing and growing as a player in practice performing play after play, drill after drill, under his supervision and guidance. He also had a unique gift of seeing skill and potential and encouraging me to believe in my ability even when I couldn’t yet see it. On game days, he was in full game-on mode. Maybe you recall a coach you had during your youth that springs to mind as you read this? Did someone leave an indelible mark on you too? Hopefully, their influence was as meaningful and positive as mine. So why should coaching stop there? Why not bring coaching into our adult life in the workplace?

Coach my intake team?

Yes! A workplace coach is someone who reaffirms high performers, rescues low performers, and provides resources and guidance to the team to improve performance and productivity. Every business needs coaches! Coaches help teams develop and deliver. They also create the vision for the department’s future and share it with each team member, so everyone knows their key role in its success.

The intake team consists of your frontline workers at the firm, fielding call after call from injured victims. Each client has a story that can weigh heavily on your team. Sometimes this role can become heavy, and we’ve heard from many intake specialists who desperately need a coach. They need someone who understands their plight and is willing to spend the time and effort helping them grow, stay motivated, and become better through skill development, assessment, and continuous education. One-on-one coaching sessions also allow checking in with team members to see how they are doing.

Finding your coach

Who’s the right person to coach and develop your team? Take it back to the basics: Remember the attributes of those great coaches from your youth? Those are the same attributes you’ll look for in your Intake Team Coach. Be cautious, though. Great coaches don’t grow on trees. They can be as hard to find as any other exceptional leader. Take the time to find the right candidate. Be on the lookout for someone who:

  • Has the respect of your team
  • Understands the position and (ideally) has done it before
  • Cares about the firm as a whole
  • Is capable of delivering positive, motivating, and effective coaching
  • Embraces and embodies the firm’s mission, vision, and values

Once you’ve identified a right-fit candidate, be intentional about their role; don’t just hope they start coaching. Have a candid conversation with them about what you’d like them to do. Does the role also include a promotion into a leadership position? If so, or if not, explain that clearly. Then, provide them with any coaching, mentoring, or education they may need in order to fulfill their new role. Coaching a team is a big task! Don’t minimize it. If you want them to succeed (and remember, their success is your success), then make sure they are set up to shine.

Making coaching sessions count

New coaches should first set the rhythm for team meetings. If this is something new to the firm, start meeting once a month with an hour limit. Less than that, your meeting might feel rushed. More than that and the meeting may become counterproductive, and participants start to disengage.

Create a focused agenda. Knowing ahead of time what you plan to cover is key to running a successful meeting that’s both efficient and effective. Be sure to share the agenda (and any other materials) with the team member before the meeting, so they have time to review and prepare. Here are some suggested agenda topics:

Goals

Review last month’s goals and set new ones for the upcoming month. These might be individual goals or team goals such as increasing the number of calls they answer or decreasing the number of calls that roll over to the backup Intake team.

KPIs

Discuss the team members’ objectives for the month. If they hit their target, really rally behind that and give praise! If they fell short, provide words of encouragement, straightforward feedback, and insight aimed at helping them grow professionally and improve their performance.

Introduce a new lesson

The lesson can be a soft skill such as clear communication or conflict resolution or a hard skill such as software features or writing. It’s okay to have the same lesson for all team members. While the lesson may be the same, remember that individual learning styles may vary. Curate your appropriate materials for visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic learners.

Coaching is a way to help team members develop personally and professionally. These meetings should allow for the free flow of both ideas and constructive feedback between the coach and team members, so be mindful of the space in which you conduct these meetings. Can other team members see or hear you? Are the phones ringing or causing a distraction? Both the coach and team member have invested their time into planning and preparing for this meeting, so make sure it’s uninterrupted so both can be fully engaged during this one-on-one time together.

Team members’ readiness to be coached

The team member has an active role in the success of the session. They should review the agenda and provided materials ahead of time, come ready to learn, and be open to positive and constructive feedback. Should you, as the coach, pick up on nonverbal cues or body language that indicate the team member is disengaged or becoming frustrated, take a moment to pause the session and get curious as to why that might be.

The team member may need a minute to digest what is being discussed or need some additional time to process their thoughts. Consider a separate, one-on-one session for team members who are struggling to embrace coaching.

Invest in your intake team and firm as a whole

With a coach dedicated to the success of their team and individual team members engaged and open to coaching, workplace coaching can offer several benefits. Some of the many benefits include:

  • Improves overall performance
  • Fosters your firm’s desired culture
  • Portrays the firm’s commitment to team member growth and development
  • Increases team member accountability
  • Helps retain the most valued team members
  • Helps identify team members’ strengths and weaknesses
  • Helps identify organizational strengths and weaknesses
  • Increases engagement and collaboration amongst team members

Coaching can benefit anyone, not just athletes. As Bill Gates said: “Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player. We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.

Today’s team members want frequent feedback – are they meeting the firm’s expectations? Is the firm meeting their expectations? Am I doing a good job? Don’t leave it up to the team member to fill in these blanks on their own. Everyone needs a coach and work that gives them purpose. Give your team what they’re hungry for!

Does My Firm Need a Medical Care Coordinator?

A critical element of a personal injury claim is the client’s medical care and resulting records that help to support their claim for losses. More and more plaintiff law firms are helping their clients manage their medical care in intentional, creative, and productive ways. This has proven mutually beneficial because the client is relieved of a stressor during a rough time, and the attorneys are able to get as much compensation as possible on behalf of their client.

In order to help clients manage medical care, many law firms are adding a medical care coordinator position to their team. We have seen success using registered nurses to fill this nuanced position. They have the benefit of being able to decipher the client’s medical records and determine what additional care and treatment may be appropriate for the client to receive. This position works well if the medical care coordinator is responsible for reviewing all new cases within 30 days. Ideally, they review the file and pertinent medical records, ensuring that the firm has obtained all test results and applicable records. As we know, sometimes clients present with multiple injuries, and the more severe injuries take precedence.

However, a medical care coordinator can ensure that all injuries have been documented and the pertinent records obtained. This provides a full-scope, 360-degree view of the client’s condition as it relates to their personal injury claim. It also provides critical information the medical care coordinator would need in order to follow up with the client and ensure they are receiving the treatment they need for all their injuries. In addition to medical record review and follow-up, a firm’s medical care coordinator should be knowledgeable and be able to provide clients with information like:

Where the medical facility or doctor’s office is located
The business hours of the medical care facility, specialty office, or doctor’s office
If any other clients have received treatment there (of course, we would not provide specifics, but sometimes clients feel comfortable knowing the firm has a relationship with the facility and that other clients have had a positive experience there)

Creating a medical care coordinator position at your firm also serves to eliminate the “bathroom cleaning problem.” Here’s the idea: If everyone’s responsible for cleaning the bathroom, no one’s responsible. Paralegals, legal assistants, case managers, and attorneys deal with heavy caseloads requiring lots of time and attention. If there is some responsibility placed on all of your team members for the critical task of medical records review and medical care coordination, it’s possible that no one is really giving it the necessary amount of attention.

Sometimes the process of nuanced medical record review and effective coordination of a client’s care can get lost in the already enormous to-do piles on other team members’ desks. Too, they may not have the medical knowledge needed to spot red flags in medical records or pick up on potentially overlooked complaints your client has. If you don’t have a dedicated position at your firm that serves to ensure clients’ medical care is a priority, then you have a team of people who may be thinking someone else is taking care of the task!

Filling this position at your firm doesn’t mean you can ignore training for your other team members. Ensuring your team is educated on medical terminology is vital. You don’t want adjusters being the ones to educate your team members on medical terminology! The more your team understands, the better able to assist and support clients they’ll be. If you hired a nurse to fill the medical care coordinator position at your firm, they are the logical choice to help train your team. They can develop a training program for the case management and intake team that covers common medical terminology, how to assist with medical referrals, and what to look for in medical records.

When these teams know what to look and listen for, they can be a powerful ally to your medical care coordinator. They will be better equipped to know when to have the medical care coordinator conduct another file review or bring them back into the fold on a particular case if needed. This approach may even add value to the case, as multiple parties are speaking with the client about their treatment and injuries. It helps ensure no red flag symptom or diagnosis slips through the cracks or does not make it into the demand. Also, your team will be able to develop more empathy for the client as they gain a real understanding of what each client is going through. It will help to strengthen their connections and relationships with clients. It can be easy to become desensitized over the years, as a member of a legal team, to the pain and hardships our clients are forced to endure through no fault of their own. Allowing your team space to understand, on a deeper level, what their clients are going through is impactful.

Sometimes, clients are embarrassed to admit that they’re in pain or that their pain is going unmanaged. When you have a team that is well-equipped to listen to and understand your clients, you will be better able to serve and support them. If a client knows that your firm has a medical care coordinator, they will feel less like they’re alone and be more open to reach out and discuss their issues. Their issues may be related to medical concerns, an inability to pay a copay, concerns about ongoing medical costs, or difficulty getting to and from appointments. No matter what the issue is, having a sympathetic and knowledgeable person to turn to will help to improve the client experience drastically.

The medical care coordinator should also work to build relationships with medical providers and grow that core network so your firm is better able to serve your clients. This involves establishing relationships with doctors’ offices and medical facilities and building trust and a reliable rapport with them. Being able to get appointments quickly is key to avoiding gaps in treatment and unnecessary pain. This is incredibly important since many medical offices are struggling with staffing issues post-pandemic.

It’s also important that we’ve created the kind of relationship where the provider’s office calls us if our client isn’t being compliant with treatment. That will allow us to reach out to the client and have a conversation about their treatment. We can ask questions like:

Are you having trouble with appointment times?
Are you struggling to establish a good relationship with your doctor?
Is the location of the facility making it difficult for you to make it to your appointments?

This may help determine the root cause of why a client is not appearing for their appointments and help ensure they remain compliant with medical treatment.

Taking the time to properly onboard your clients is important. This means that you set the stage for a relationship that allows them to be comfortable sharing information with you. Remember, you’re relying on them to be willing to open up to you about intimate details regarding their health and overall medical condition. That can be tough for some people. Setting the right tone at the very beginning will go a long way towards creating a healthy, productive relationship. A comprehensive onboarding process will ensure that clients share information regarding all of their injuries, not just the ones they were treated for in the emergency room.

The ultimate goal of the medical care coordinator position is to ensure that the client’s treatment is on schedule, their pain is being managed, and that the client is compliant with their treatment. Your firm aims to get your clients fairly compensated for their injuries. The road to recovery for many clients is long and difficult. Supporting them throughout this process is vital. In doing so, you’ll create raving fans of your brand, your team, and your law firm.