4 Ways to Maximize Your Upward Review Investment

When it comes to creating exceptional global law firms, the value of regular, periodic upward reviews can hardly be overstated. Bringing together frank feedback and supportive, developmental reports, they fuel superlative leadership and a culture of openness. To get the most comprehensive benefits, it’s critical to optimize your operational readiness first. Here are four practices that we’ve seen drive upward review success for our clients.

1. Get clear on your goals

The firms who derive the greatest benefits from upward reviews know their “why” because they’ve spent time upfront in forging internal consensus on the insights they seek. A shared vision will propel precision and efficiency as you work with our team to develop your custom interview questions, and further help them pinpoint the feedback most valuable to your firm. 

As part of defining your goals, be sure to think about how you intend to apply the insights you glean from the review. How will you support individual leaders in their growth? In what ways can you use the data to improve firm policies and procedures? What actions will you take to let participants know how their feedback has provided value?

2. Assemble your team

It takes a village to run an impactful upward review. You’ll want capacity for planning and encouraging participation, as well as resources to help leaders implement change. Just as importantly, you’ll need firm champions to encourage strong engagement: leaders, partners, associates, committees and professional staff who want to help the project succeed. Our team does most of the heavy lifting, but nothing can replace the enthusiasm of your internal stakeholders in driving excitement within the firm. 

3. Start sharing the value

People new to upward reviews are sometimes reluctant to take part, and it’s important to understand why so you can address any concerns head-on. For example, some dislike filling out surveys but appreciate the option for one-on-one interviews where they have a chance to speak freely in a supportive environment. Emphasizing that feedback is kept confidential can help participants feel empowered to share candid feedback. You might also reassure supervisors that upward reviews are neither negative nor punitive; instead, the feedback enables positive, developmental growth for individuals. Finally, be sure to communicate your commitment to using feedback to drive positive change across the firm; that’s something that benefits everyone.

4. Don’t rush the process

Excellent talent development is a long game. Take the time to explore your goals, assemble a team and prepare to communicate the value of your upward review initiative. Don’t shortchange yourself; invest the time necessary to lay the foundation for a fruitful upward review, as well as the steps you’ll take afterward to put the feedback gathered to positive use. 

Our team of experts is poised to guide you through every stage of your upward review — including your advance preparation. The steps you take now to ensure your readiness will pave the way for success and ultimately facilitate ever-greater firm achievement and prosperity.