This season’s Super Bowl has already proved controversial.
The Super Bowl Committee is already warning fans that tailgating will not be tolerated at the New Jersey MetLife stadium in February. And, this will be the first Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium in cold weather in several decades.
Of course, snow is predicted.
But, as much as you prepare (or don’t prepare) for events like the Super Bowl, there are always unanticipated outcomes.
Take, for example, Super Bowl XLV held in Dallas, Texas. Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, had almost four years to prepare, during which time he built a $1.2 billion stadium, complete with a closed roof.
Despite unexpected amounts of snow and sleet, transportation issues, and general chaos, the Packers and Steelers game went off without a hitch. Well, almost.
The Packers had fifteen players on the injured reserve list at game start and two more out by halftime. Nevertheless, with the leadership of Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, the Packers won.
Even more surprising than the events leading up to the Super Bowl is perhaps the events leading up to Aaron Rodgers’ position. Rodgers was attending Butte Community College when he had a lucky break—a Cal recruiter spotted him while recruiting one of Rodgers’ teammates. Rodgers was twenty-fourth in the 2005 draft, and sat for three years as Green Bay’s back up to Brett Favre.
By all numerical accounts, Rodgers should not have been a champion. But, as Rodgers modestly said on the David Letterman Show, “The things you can’t measure give people the most success.”
Law firm managers—like MVPs and sports stars—can’t always rely on rankings and outcomes. In fact, many times intuition about a person’s performance, potential, or aptitude is as important as checking the stats.
In hiring, promotions to leadership positions, or football draft picks, there are multiple factors and features that add up to success that are—literally—impossible to add up.
“The idea of measurement may seem obvious as a point of view, but in the innovation world there is a complication waiting to trip the unwary. That complication is the need to focus on measuring features of the innovation ecosystem, rather than outputs of the innovation ecosystem,” explains Henry Doss, venture capitalist and contributor to Forbes.
“And the science of measuring features—things such as normative trust, win-win value systems, diversity of point of view, and so on—is not as fully developed as our ability to measure output.”
Basically, we trust numbers more than normative ideas, like reputation or reliability.
Why? When you think about it, who is more valuable to your law firm—the 4.0-GPA recent law school grad with book smarts or the mid-to-average law school grad who can think on his feet and hold his own in front of a judge?
In terms of motivation, would your employees become more productive with a monetary incentive or a simple “thank-you” note? Many studies believe that the latter proves more powerful.
Doss would ask law firm managers to answer the following three questions about the incentive system at your firm:
- To what extent does the incentive system create trust?
- To what extent does the incentive system create collaboration?
- To what extent does the incentive system create a “win-win” culture?
It’s time your law firm prioritizes and reinforces some its valuable, but non-measurable assets: a strong corporate culture or identity, loyalty of clients, or trust among its employees.
Although it is important to embrace non-measurable values like trust, reputation, or respect, Doss warns, “Never let the absence of measurement be an excuse to rely solely on judgment.”
So, seek to inspire, innovate, and incentivize normative values at your firm. But, in the long-term, also track your productivity, clients, IT systems, and revenue in numbers.
In American football, like law, the risks you take are both calculated… and not.
Teamwork on and off the football field is also about delegation. Give your law firm professionals C4CM’s guide “Effective Delegation: Strategies to Improve Performance and Productivity” to learn more. Available here.