How to Master Change Management At Your Law Firm
With Smokeball's CQ Hub
Chapter 5: Reviewing and Strategising for the Next Game
Discover the crucial role of reviews in strategy execution. Learn from AFL teams, observing how they leverage player footage and meetings, much like legal toolbox sessions. In the legal field, cultivating a winning team demands consistent reviews and thoughtful adjustments.
Geoff Ebert
November 2023

Performing a comprehensive review stands as the final step in strategy execution, as emphasised by management consultants and echoed in various literature dedicated to effective organisational management. Having a system in place to conduct the review and knowing what to review is the trick.

Game Day Review  

Putting a tape in a VCR and watching the match from end to end, pausing when necessary to closely examine the footage was the way to review an AFL match only a short time ago. More recently, St Kilda Football Club commenced distributing individual player footage to the smartphone of each player. Today, using specific editing software all AFL clubs including the Brisbane Lions create an edit of game coverage from diverse camera angles. These edits are then individually tailored for each player, offering a focused perspective of their contributions during the game. In addition to the individual feedback, the team meets as a group to review the match footage to examine positive outcomes and areas to improve. Before the team meeting the Club coaches also review the team footage to select the critical edits for focus, for example, 30 different edits from a game often shown by AFLW Coach, Craig Starcevich. The edits focus on the team standards being met and any breakdowns that occurred enabling the opposing team to score. The process of individual and team feedback is an important teaching tool and occurs from the Academy u16 team level up to the senior squads.  

In comparison, there are various systems used to review the outcome of a specific legal matter or the daily workflow in a professional office. The mining industry coined the phrase” toolbox talk” referring to the gathering of a mining team to discuss activities or situations, review any incidents, and how to improve outcomes including risk management. Our law firm introduced a weekly toolbox session where we gather as a team to discuss any issues that have arisen, workflow bottlenecks that occur, changes to legislation, or formatting of documents, and generally to build confidence as a group that we are all on the same page and working cohesively. In larger firms that operate in teams, similar “after-action reviews” can be conducted at the conclusion of specific large transactions or pieces of litigation to ascertain areas that went well and areas that might be improved when a similar matter arises.  


A Winning Team  

Building a successful law firm and a winning team requires planning to incorporate a review component to measure the current elements and activities within the firm against what was planned followed by tweaking the systems, the marketing, and/or personnel to reach the lofty ambitions originally set. While leading a law firm, asking “why?” three times will effectively reveal why something is working poorly or working well. Those lessons can then be implemented to improve the collective knowledge of the whole group.  


Having the Right Information from the Beginning  

Wellness pioneer Tony Robbins said, “It's not the lack of resources that causes failure, it's the lack of resourcefulness”. When coaching AFL players, I use the time when we are stretching at the end of training to ask what they think he meant by this statement. We throw a few ideas around, but the consensus is ultimately with the rise of the Internet and electronic means of obtaining information that almost all information/resources are available at our fingertips, and we just need the resourcefulness to then use this information to our best advantage.  

My career as a lawyer began in an era where precedent documents and letters were contained in binders. Now, all of a firm’s key documents (Playbook contents) should be organised in an easily accessible format with clear communication on how to use the resources. Appointing a champion/s to monitor the system and ensure all documents are captured, appropriately indexed, and easily located will ensure the firm’s files, or to use an NFL term, “plays” are executed more consistently and with a better chance of success. When reviewing matters and workflow or planning for the future, having consistent and available internal documentation will improve the speed and accuracy of outcomes along with the enjoyment of the work itself.  


Staying Fit for the Next Game  

Regardless of the role held within an organisation, effective leadership can only stem from effective self-management. To summarise an entire topic in itself, when a player takes a step back to review their own health, family dynamic, level of enjoyment in training, presence of outside interests, and how all these factors intersect then they are following a winning formula to remain injury and mentally free to turn up for the next game. A winning team culture is built when each member checks their own physical and mental health and works to improve the health of those around them. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. Considering how much time we spend at work, getting those five people at work to be the best they can be, will help you become your best.

Written by Geoff Ebert, Your Online Legal Group

Geoff Ebert
Principal, Your Online Legal Group
For over three decades Geoff Ebert has observed the legal industry and elite sports landscape developing a philosophy of embracing empowerment and a growth mindset. The major areas from which he draws his knowledge and experience are:- 15 years as managing partner of a large regional law firm; more recently, founding Australia’s first wholly online divorce practice, currently the leading provider nationally; and decades of coaching youth representative teams in AFL. Along the way he has collected endless threads of wisdom from various sources to share with others in the hope of developing empathy, resilience and growth in business, sport and community leadership.

Smokeball's CQ Hub is Designed to Help Lawyers Navigate Change

Smokeball is a a leading legal practice management software with everything you need to run your best firm.

Learn more