Our goal was to drive alignment of the work in the in-house team to our business goals, and to
maximize results by working on these goals across Europe as a team. We measure progress toward
these goals through satisfaction surveys with the business, and also through the in-house legal
performance review process.
As part of the VGSM approach, measures are built into every strategy, so we are clear about what we
seek to achieve, and how we will measure results.
Roles and action steps
1. As General Counsel, I annually propose a skeleton approach, suggesting strategies. We obtain the
Europe VGSM and the VGSM for the local businesses across Europe. This is circulated to Europe
in-house lawyers to review; we circulate suggestions and ideas.
2. We then have a planning session (about one day). One lawyer is responsible for each focus area.
The construct at this stage is primarily on building our pillars, such as risk mitigation. We then
go through it on a local and pan-European level, with everyone contributing to the ideas and
drafting. After the first time doing this, it comes together relatively quickly.
3. We also input views and goals from the global Heinz general counsel, and incorporate strategies
and measures for the goals he proposes. We look at which risks to mitigate and how we will
measure them. We prioritize and are as specific as possible. So, for example, if it’s an IP
rationalization strategy, we will note that 100 percent of all trademarks be reviewed for very
4. We then have a good draft of strategies and measures, and begin finalizing. We get input from the
business lawyers who also take it to local business leaders for input, and then it is reviewed by all
key parties in our legal function.
5. Then, every in-house lawyer draws up a personal detailed action plan, which describes how the
strategies will be followed, and sets personal goals connected to the VGSM that each person takes
accountability for locally. For example, the country in-house lawyer may include in her action
plan to work with the IP lead lawyer on rationalizing the IP portfolio in a particular country. The
Europe general counsel reviews for thoroughness and to avoid overlaps.
6. Each in-house lawyer tracks and scores progress, relating to measures that have been set and
We recognize much more dynamic progress, and we have been achieving our individual measures set
out in the VGSM. It gives a specific framework for in-house lawyer performance reviews and makes
review discussions more meaningful. It has provided structure to how our legal professionals focus
their time, keeping them far more focused on their strategies and measures. Internal business clients
have commented that they now view us as more professional and business-like, and see us as far more
aligned with them. In turn, our legal team is motivated by feeling more connected to the business.