Understand What Matters

Many smaller firms manage performance and review in a vacuum. Usually this is because Principals are very busy with matters and business building, and anything in the way of structured review is about when I can get to it.

To supervise and assess performance, the starting point is to appreciate what the influences are. The simple model below (based from Adrian Morgan, 1995) shows what matters:


Performance (or lack thereof) can be caused by any number of valid factors.

Does the person know what is expected? Have they received timely and constructive feedback? Do they have the right core skills? Are they supported within the firm? Do their tools work when they need to? And what things might be motivating/demotivating them? (work and personal life are both relevant)

Just declaring – you were $15,000 under budget last month – now do something about it really doesn’t get you anywhere.

You need to work through all the issues in the model and discover the relevant weak link/s – and then look for a solution. Getting improved performance out of people is mainly about knowing the right questions to ask.

Published: Queensland Law Society – September 2o13 (p.56)


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