PART II:VALUE LEVERS IN EUROPE
Chapter 4. Communications
4 A. Before you act, take time to meet and talk
Communication is an essential method and tool to deliver value, and this chapter focuses
on communication in two ways. The first way is to consider how corporate counsel and other
stakeholders can best communicate to share and exchange information and ideas in order to find
the best solutions for deriving more value internally and externally. The second way is to use good
communication techniques for the value effort itself, in order to effectively define, explain and report
progress on value initiatives to each audience.
Communication is essential to achieve buy-in on the effort, and to support and motivate
individuals in achieving results. Communication breakdowns within an in-house legal function or
a law firm in Europe, especially if the function encompasses several countries, can seriously damage
and derail the effort to deliver greater value.
The easiest way to start on your Value Challenge in Europe is for in-house counsel to pick
their three best law firms or practice groups (and for outside counsel to do the same with their three
best clients). Then, arrange a two-hour meeting with a single question for discussion. This is the
premise for the ACC’s Meet. Talk.Act. concept, which you can find in 4G, Tools and Resources.
4 B. Develop your communications plan
How, to whom, and how often will you communicate what you’re doing and how it’s
progressing? It is important to define and develop a plan for communication at the beginning of the
project, to make sure that all stakeholders are sufficiently informed and aware of developments. It
does not have to be long or complicated; in fact, the less complicated the better–people have enough
to read already.
A good communication plan identifies the goal of each communication; the target audience
for that communication; and how the communication can be made most effectively, whether by
meeting, email, report or other. The communications media you choose will depend a great deal on
your audience and your organization’s typical methods of communication.
The plan should also identify those responsible for initiating and tracking each type of
communication, and should state the desired frequency of each communication. Finally, the
communications plan should identify the expected outcomes of the communication and specify
responsibility for following up on any action items.