Many of us return to work in January with the best of intentions to use this traditionally quieter time to think about what we want to achieve over the course of the year. We write a long to do list (the first half of which is copied over from last year’s list) and resolve that this year we WILL get them done!
The typical to do list for a General Counsel will include a number of business improvement initiatives or compliance tasks such as precedent development, AML and privacy audits, review of the company’s compliance program, review of legal team’s technology and business processes.
Unfortunately, our business new year resolutions often end the same way as our personal resolution to “go to the gym five times a week”. In part, that’s because we typically focus on making big changes that will ultimately improve our experiences and reflect our priorities, which take time and resources.
In a Harvard Business Review article called “How to Keep your New Year Resolutions” author Peter Bregman says “the great myth of time management is that you can get it all done. And it’s very, very important to shatter that myth.” He goes on to suggest the first thing you need to do is make strategic choices about how you want to use limited resources, which involves deciding what we will do, what we will delegate and what we won’t do.
The strategic decision about undertaking many business improvement initiatives and compliance tasks is usually made during the business planning process at the start of the year. So with the strategic decision made, and delivery against the plan yet to be achieved, the question invariably becomes who and when.
We suggest prioritising two to three big ticket items and investing in achieving those before moving down the list. In determining how to resource those items it may be that one of your team members is best equipped to tackle a particular task but that team member will need to be relieved from their day to day tasks for a few months. One way to achieve this is to look at backfilling the team member’s role to allow them time to focus on the task. Or it may be that the team doesn’t have the type of expertise to complete the task so another option may be to engage a contractor with the specialist skills or experience required to complete the task and allow the team to focus on BAU.
The reality is unless you invest in the project it’s likely it will make its way onto next year’s list.
As of 6 January there are only 125 working days until the end of the financial year and even less until the performance review cycle begins. So, 3, 2, 1, go!
If you’re looking for a flexible and practical legal resourcing solution on an urgent project or a temporary gap in your legal team, email or call Greg Monks for a confidential conversation on how Orbit can work for you.
Head of Orbit
Phone: +61 3 9672 3187