Asked and Answered
By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC
Q. I am the managing partner in an eight attorney general practice firm in Tulsa, Okla. A year and a half ago we hired our first legal administrator to run all business aspects of our practice. We decided that we wanted more than an office manager - we wanted an administrator to serve in the capacity of a COO. We hired an experienced administrator at a good salary, developed a well-conceived job description, and the work began. My partners and I are frustrated. We have to follow-up on projects and task assignments, do not see the leadership that we had hoped for, and have concerns that our administrator may not be up to the tasks. We just realized we have not had a performance review since he started. I would appreciate your suggestions.
A. Sounds like you did a good job clarifying the role and initially laying out your expectations. However, you cannot stop there. You have not conducted a performance review and I suspect that he has received little feedback regarding his performance. During the first year feedback needs to be ongoing with a mini review every 90 days and ongoing coaching and follow-up. You need to conduct a review with him ASAP, layout expectations and compare to actual performance, discuss gaps, and reach an agreement as to a plan with milestones and dates to resolve performance gaps. Then you will have a better picture as to whether your administrator was the right hire or not.
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