by Ted Grossnickle
We meet here at JGA once a week on Wednesdays to talk about clients. We call these Practice meetings because they are at the heart of our consulting practice with our clients. The conversations last around 90 minutes which usually turns out to be enough time to keep everyone on our team updated about next steps or big wins or major concerns for each client – as well as a bit of time to catch up with one another, to laugh at something together and to generally “check in.” Once a month, we have a longer weekly meeting called a Client Review – which allows us to dig in deeper on each client situation.
These sessions are critically important to the way we do our work. They’re predicated on the idea that each of our clients really gets the benefit of several minds working or thinking about their situation. When I report on one of the clients for whom I serve as Managing Counsel, the others around the table ask questions like “are you sure that will work?” or “have you tried this?” What usually starts these conversations is when one of us says: “I’m thinking of advising them in the following way; what do you guys think?”
The Practice meeting discussions are also based upon the idea that we are all still students of this profession — and that we don’t have all the answers. One of the deadliest traps into which a consultant can fall is to think they do have all the answers. That usually heads you into formulaic responses and tired ideas or no new ideas…
We don’t talk about it very much, but the way we have regularly met in a Practice Meeting every week – for over 15 years- may well be one of the most important aspects of our work – for clients and with each other as a team.
Sometimes it’s the way we do the basics that means the most.