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Professional Development Program

Proposal for [name of firm]

prepared by:
Kathleen Bradley Chouaї
7005 Girard St.
McLean, VA 22101
Tel: 703.442.0771

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


All Rights Reserved
Proposal Contents
 Introduction
 Why Invest in Professional Development?
 ROI for Professional Development
 The Role of a Director
 Strategic Function
 Job Description
 Interfaces
 Other Issues
 Title and/or Interfaces
 Getting Started
 Phase One: Needs Assessment
 Phase Two: Developing a Firm-wide Action Plan
 Phase Three: Implementation of Action Plan

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


All Rights Reserved
Proposal Contents
 Endless Possibilities
 Training Programs for New Associates
 Training Programs for All Associates
 Training Programs for Senior Associates
 Training Programs for New Partners
 Training Programs for All Partners
 Training Programs for Department and Office Heads
 Training Programs for Lateral Attorney Hires
 Some Additional Thoughts
 A Broader View of Attorney Development
 Attorney Evaluations
 Interface with Knowledge Information System
 “Options” and “Possibilities”
 Resources
© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005
All Rights Reserved
Introduction

"Outstanding firms are consistently able to identify, attract,


and retain star performers; to get stars committed to their
firm's strategy; to manage stars across geographic distance,
business lines, and generations; to govern and lead so that
both the organization and its stars prosper and feel
rewarded."
~ Jay W. Lorsch, Thomas J. Tierney, ”Aligning the Stars”
"An empowered organization is one in which individuals have
the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally
succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational
success.“
~ Stephen R. Covey

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Why Invest in Professional Development?
 According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Co., the most
important corporate resource over the next 20 years will be talent.
Yet, even as the demand for the best and brightest goes up, the
supply will go down.
 With people being the prime source of competitive advantage, it is
more crucial than ever not only to recruit the best but also to retain
the ones already onboard.
 Today’s law school graduates care more about training, education
and mentoring than about salary. Law firms can therefore no longer
rely on high salaries to attract and retain the stars.
 Firms that are most likely to succeed into the 21st century are the
ones that spend the most energy on attracting, developing and
retaining talent.

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Why Invest in Professional Development?

 Law schools do not adequately prepare students for practice and the
students know this. Today’s young lawyers demand an environment in
which they can develop marketable skills.
 Intellectual capital is a law firm’s most valuable commodity. It’s people
will make or break business results. It therefore needs to be:
 nurtured and developed; and
 leveraged by:
 passing on expertise to junior lawyers

 capturing, preserving and re-tailoring know-how for cost

effectiveness
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to
become what they are capable of being.” ~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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Why Invest in Professional Development?

 In a large firm with offices in multiple locations, development should


be consistent across offices and departments.
 By having a focused and efficient professional development program,
skills and knowledge of associates can be better benchmarked and
monitored.
 Clients are less willing to pay “double” for the time of a senior lawyer
and a junior associate.
 Formal programs decrease time required to be spent by senior lawyers
on training and mentoring.
 Mentors are often ill equipped and disposed to provide truly
meaningful training.

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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ROI for Professional Development
 Improved ability to attract the best and brightest
 Improved associate job satisfaction and retention
 Increased client satisfaction and loyalty
 Decreased risk of malpractice claims resulting from inadequate training
and supervision
 Improved attorney performance and capability
 Shorter learning curve for new lawyers, making them more productive
at an earlier stage
 Early cultivation of business and management skills that will over time
result in development of a receptive atmosphere for devoting time,
attention and effort to issues that are becoming more and more
important to successful practice management

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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The Role of a Director: Strategic Function
 What is the role of the professional development function:
 “overhead” relegated to the back office; or
 an integral part of the firm’s business, with a strategic role?
 What will be the level of authority of the director of professional
development (e.g., will the director sit on Executive Board or
Committees)?
 What are Executive Management’s expectations with regard to the
professional development function?

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The Role of a Director: Strategic Function
 To support the vision of the firm and its leaders
“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision.”
~ Theodore Hesburg
“You do not lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not
leadership.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
 To serve as a catalyst for the firm’s leaders
"I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a
"transformer" in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that
can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect,
persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.“ ~ Stephen R.
Covey

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The Role of a Director: Job Description
 Focal point for:
 overseeing the development of ongoing strategies and initiatives
with regard to recruitment, retention, development and succession;
 assisting with the development of a skills and knowledge checklist
on practice group levels; and
 integrating laterals and junior associates.
 Responsible for nurturing and keeping the best and brightest lawyers
for the firm.
 A neutral party for young lawyers in a competitive environment where
conflict is the norm.
 Ombudsman for monitoring the treatment of associates.
 Provide confidential coaching/mentoring to associates and partners.

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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The Role of a Director: Job Description
 Monitor the individual growth and development of associates by
ensuring that associates:
 get the breadth and diversity of work assignments that they need
in order to develop their substantive skills;
 get sufficient client contact for the purpose of developing client
relationship and development skills; and
 get to work with a variety of partners.
 Enhance and monitor associate evaluations on a firm-wide basis.
 Assist in the development of business, management and leadership
skills in partners.
 Administer programs for recognition of achievement by associates to
demonstrate that individual efforts on behalf of the firm are noticed
and appreciated.
 Administer CLE requirements.
© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005
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The Role of a Director: Interfaces

 The professional development function should have constant interface


with:
 Executive management (particularly with regard to strategic
decisions)
 Recruitment
 Information technology
 Information management/library
 Staff support

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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The Role of a Director: Other Issues
 Budget for training and development programs?
 Support staff for director?
 Definition of firm’s culture/vision with regard to professional
development?
 How is this communicated to lawyers and staff? More importantly,
how is it evidenced throughout the firm?
 How committed are senior lawyers and partners to taking part in
formal training programs for junior lawyers?
 Is there an internal policy manual with regard to training,
mentoring, ethics, quality, etc.?

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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The Role of a Director: Title and/or
Interfaces
 Director of Professional Development
 Director for Talent Development
 Director of Associate Relations/Retention
 Director of Strategic Planning and Initiatives
 Director of Leadership Development
 Director of Recruitment

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking
we were at when we created them.“ ~ Albert Einstein

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Getting Started: Phase One – Needs
Assessment
 Detailed inventory of existing training and development opportunities
 Courses offered firm-wide and by offices and practice groups
 Summer associate training
 Orientation/induction training
 Allocation of work assignments to associates
 Performance review policies and procedures
 Benchmarks for associates at all stages, including at assessment
for partnership
 Firm policies regarding use of outside training providers (CLE)
 Recruiting criteria/assessment
 Quality control measures
 Preservation and use of know-how (information technology and
management)
© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005
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Getting Started: Phase One – Needs
Assessment
 Assessment of perceptions of firm’s attorneys with regard to
training and development programs and needs
 Confidential in-person interviews of selected management,
supervising attorneys and junior attorneys
 Identification of needs
 Identification of what is and is not working
 Assessment of gaps
 Assessment of any formal mentor program and/or process of
partner level oversight of associate professional development

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Getting Started: Phase Two – Developing
a Firm-wide Action Plan
 Identify detailed steps to be taken to implement program
 Action Plan to consider
 Substantive training requirements at all levels
 Skills training (management/business skills and soft skills)
 Transactional, cross-departmental training
 Ethics and professional responsibility training
 Quality control
 Orientation
 Allocation of work assignments to associates
 Mentoring and coaching
 Attorney performance benchmarks and evaluations
 Staffing needs
© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005
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Getting Started: Phase Two – Developing
a Firm-wide Action Plan
 Make specific recommendations as to
 Training to be provided in-house and externally
 Training videos
 eLearning
 Senior lawyers available and appropriate for conducting in-
house training programs
 Integration of training and development with mentoring and
review
 Collaboration with IT and Information Management
 Internal support required to implement Action Plan
 Set timetable for implementing processes and programs
 Work with Executive Committee on means for communicating
commitment and goals to associates
© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005
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Getting Started: Phase Three –
Implementation of Action Plan
 Design results-oriented programs in substantive areas of law, business
and management skills and soft skills based on Needs Assessment and
Action Plan
 Design orientation programs for new lawyers and lateral hires
 Recruit and develop senior lawyers as in-house faculty
 Develop annual schedule of available programs
 Enlist crucial support of Management firm-wide
 Train Mentors (and possibly Career Development Partners) on
requirements
 Evaluate and improve existing training on a systematic basis
 Coordinate with outside training providers and manage CLE credit
 Communicate benchmarks to associates

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Endless Possibilities
There are endless possibilities for training programs for
lawyers at all levels. Ultimately, the programs should be
tailored to the specific needs identified by the
Professional Development Director, working with
Executive Management of the firm and the head of each
practice group and office.

“The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become
obvious.” ~ Samuel Johnson
"All things are possible until they are proved impossible - and even the
impossible may only be so, as of now." ~ Pearl S. Buck

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Endless Possibilities: Training Programs
for New Associates
 Orientation/Induction
 Firm culture/vision (image to be portrayed by both individual
attorneys and firm as a whole)
 Firm governance; management structure
 Ethics and professional standards
 Attorney relations (i.e., senior associates and partners; tips for
taking advantage of mentoring relationship)
 HR policies and benefits; incentive programs
 Expectations with regard to billing and time recording
 Staff relations; library; technology; etc.
 Substantive Skills
 Initially, a general overview
 Subsequently, in-depth foundation courses

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Endless Possibilities: Training Programs
for All Associates
 Continuing substantive skill training
 Oral and written communication
 Presentation skills
 Negotiating skills
 Business and management skills
 Client relationship skills
 Client development skills
 General business skills
 Firm operations and procedures
 Management and supervisory skills
 Managing one’s own work (e.g., case/transaction organization; time
and stress management)
 Managing and supervising other’s work

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Endless Possibilities: Training Programs
for Senior Associates
 Leadership skills, including
 How to lead a deal or case
 Delegation skills; supervising junior lawyers and staff
 Communication skills; providing meaningful feedback
 Building firm loyalty; motivating and mentoring junior lawyers
 How to nurture partnership potential; firm expectations regarding
partnership candidates; business planning
 Marketing skills
 Business management skills (e.g., quoting for work, budgeting,
collections)

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Endless Possibilities: Training Programs
for New Partners
 New partner orientation
 Leadership and management
 Marketing skills
 Enhancing communication skills in the areas of supervision, giving
feedback, delegation, interviewing, evaluations
 Coaching and mentoring skills
 Interviewing skills
 Developing effective teams

"Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you


must be without one, be without the strategy.“ ~ Gen. H. Norman
Schwartzkopf

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Endless Possibilities: Training Programs
for All Partners
 Ongoing development of skills in:
 Substantive areas
 Leadership
 Business and management
 Team building
 Marketing
 Communications

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say "I." And that's
not because they have trained themselves not to say "I." They don't think "I."
They think "we"; they think "team." They understand their job to be to make
the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but "we"
gets the credit…. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task
done.” ~ Peter Drucker

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Endless Possibilities: Training Programs
for Department and Office Heads
 Leadership and management
 How to run an office or department
 Systems and procedures
 Business and marketing plans
 Oversight
 Reporting requirements of head office
 Staffing

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want


done because he wants to do it.“ ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Inventories can be managed, but people must be led.” ~ Ross Perot

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Endless Possibilities: Training Programs
for Lateral Attorney Hires

 Orientation program similar to program for new


associates, but geared toward more experienced
attorneys

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Some Additional Thoughts: A Broader
View of Attorney Development
 It is no longer sufficient for lawyers to be superb specialists in their
substantive areas of practice; they must also have good:
 business and management skills; and
 leadership skills.
 Most lawyers coming to a law firm straight from law school have
none of these skills.
 In order to provide high quality service to their clients, lawyers
much develop and implement business and management practices
appropriate to the complex and dynamic nature of today’s legal
environment.

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Some Additional Thoughts: A Broader
View of Attorney Development
 Why business and management skills?
 Clients demand that their lawyers have this knowledge.
 Lawyers need to be able to adapt to the complex and every-
changing demands of the marketplace.
 Lack of business knowledge and skills creates:
 significant legal and managerial problems for the firm,
resulting in lost profits; and
 an organizational climate within the firm resistant or
indifferent to the development and implementation of good
business practices.

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Some Additional Thoughts: A Broader
View of Attorney Development
 Why leadership skills?
 Lawyers at top tier firms all have high IQs. So what is the
difference between those that excel and those that are mediocre?
Recent studies comparing star performers with average ones in
senior leadership positions indicate that nearly 90% of the
difference in their profiles was attributable to emotional intelligence
factors (EQ) rather than cognitive abilities.
 EQ includes
 self-management skills, i.e., self-awareness, self-regulation and
motivation; and
 the ability to relate to others, i.e., empathy and social skill.
 Unlike IQ, which is fixed at birth, EQ can be learned with the help of a
coach and a sincere desire and concerted effort on the part of the
individual.

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Some Additional Thoughts: A Broader
View of Attorney Development
Some thoughts on leadership development:
“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born -- that
there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people
simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That's
nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than
born.” ~ Warren G. Bennis
“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is
the only means.” ~ Albert Einstein
"In organizations, real power and energy is generated through
relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form
them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions. “
~ Margaret Wheatly

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Some Additional Thoughts: Attorney
Evaluations
 Does each practice group have established benchmarks for the skills,
knowledge, experience and training (both legal and non-legal) that
associates need to meet at different stages of their careers?
 Are these benchmarks uniform across offices and practice groups? Are
evaluations recorded on a uniform basis?
 Do individual associates set their own development goals and take
responsibility for achieving them?
 When a weakness is identified, what support is given to the individual
attorney to develop strength in that area?
 Is there a formal process for associates to learn about partnership
potential?

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Some Additional Thoughts: Interface with
Knowledge Information Program
 The practice of law in the 21st century requires highly educated lawyers
with highly refined tools.
 Technology should be integrated into every lawyer’s day-to-day practice
in a way that fundamentally improves how they learn and work.
 A cross-disciplinary team composed of leaders of the firm’s education,
technology and library functions should work to coordinate these
functions and to integrate technology for increased lawyer efficiency.
 Practice groups should have representatives that work with the
education, technology and library functions to streamline the use of
forms, precedents, etc.
 Lawyers need to be trained not only in emerging technologies of
practice, but also in how best to work and learn in the changing
technological environment.

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Some Additional Thoughts: “Options” and
“Possibilities”
 Law firms need to focus on the realm of “possibility”, not be limited
by “options”.
 Everyone has options. They are a fixed set of predetermined
scenarios, points of view, perceived limitations that already reside in
your data bank. If you depend on your options to formulate your
future, that future will be no more than a rearrangement of your
past.
 Possibilities are completely different. When you ask, “What is
possible?”, you must stretch your imagination out of the confines of
the familiar.
 To build a business in the 21st century, ask not, “What are my
options?” but “What is possible?”. When you ask the right question,
the possibilities are endless!
© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005
All Rights Reserved
Resources
 Law Firm Practice
 “Economic Recovery May Re-Ignite the Talent Wars”, Sidebar for Law
Leaders, January 2003, http://www.nalpfoundation.org/webmodules/
archive/gallery.asp?categoryid=3
 “Report on the Task Force on Lawyers’ Quality of Life”, prepared by The
Task Force on Lawyers’ Quality of Life of the Association of the Bar of the
City of New York, http://www.abcny.org/taskforce.html
 Carlson, Marian, “Making the Most of Professional Growth”, The Docket, Vol.
25, No. 8, September 2003, www.denbar.o9eg.docket.2003/
september/professionalgrowth.htm
 Chester, Simon and Tarlton, Marilyn Astin, “The Territory Ahead: 25 Trends
to Watch in the Business of Practicing Law”, ABA Law Practice Management
Magazine, 1999, http://library.lp.findlaw.com/articles/file/00964/006623/
title/Subject/topic/Legal%20Practice_Other/filename/legalpractice_1_331

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Resources
 Law Firm Practice
 Chitwood, Stephen R. and Cottlieb, Anita F., “Teach Your Associates Well:
Developing a Business and Management Skills Curriculum for Law Firm
Associates”, Association of Legal Administrators, http://www.alanet.org/
periodicals/pf_article.html
 Cotterman, James D, “Practice Management Primer”, ABA Law Practice
Today, December 2003, http://www.abanet.org/lpm/lpt/
articles/mgt12033.html
 Lorsch, Jay W. and Tierney, Thomas J, “Aligning the Stars”
 Richards, Larry, You’ve Got Personality: Managers Harness Strong Lawyer
Personalities to Create the Greatest Attorneys”, Association of Legal
Administrators, http://www.alanet.org/periodicals/jul_aug_article1.html
 Tarlton, Merrilyn Astin, “Big Idea: Getting Invested in Professional
Development”, ABA Law Practice Management, www.abanet.org/lpm/mo
/premium-ep/magazine/articles/v29is7an15.html

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Resources
 Talent Acquisition, Development and Retention
 “The Care and Feeding of Talent”, FastCompany,
www.fastcommjpany.com/ftalk/carefeeding.html
 Fishman, “The War for Talent”, FastCompany, Issue 16 August 1998,
www.fastcompany.com/magazine/16/mckinsey.html
 Herzberg, Frederick, “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?”,
Harvard Business Review, January 2003
 Reingold, Jennifer, “What Counts in a Job Now”, FastCompany Web
Exclusives June 2001, www.fastcompany.com/articles/
2001/06/whatcounts.html
 Schwartz, Tony, “How Do You Feel”, FastCompany, Issue 35 June 2000,
www.fastcompany.com/magazine/35/emotion.html

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Resources
 Career Development and Management
 Drucker, Peter F., “Managing Oneself”, Harvard Business Review, March-April
1999
 Loehr, Jim and Schwartz, Tony, “The Making of a Corporate Athlete”,
Harvard Business Review, January 2001
 Keegan, Robert and Lahey, Lisa Laskow, “The Real Reason People Won’t
Change”, Harvard Business Review, November 2001
 Argyris, Chris, “Teaching Smart People How to Learn”, Harvard Business
Review, May 1991

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Resources
 Leadership
 Collins, Jim, “Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce
Resolve,” Harvard Business Review, January 2001
 Goleman, Daniel, Boyatzis, Richard and McKee, Annie, “Primal Leadership:
Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence”, HBS Press Book (2002)
 Goleman, Daniel, “Leadership that Gets Results”, Harvard Business Review,
August 2000
 Goleman, Daniel, “What Makes a Leader”, Harvard Business Review,
November-December 1998

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Resources
 Communication Skills
 Drucker, Peter F., “The Information Executives Truly Need”, Harvard
Business Review, January-February 1995
 Jackson, Jay M. and Strober, Myra H., “Fear of Feedback”, Harvard Business
Review, April 2003
 Tannen, Deborah, “The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why”, Harvard
Business Review, September 1995

 Teamwork
 Katzenback, Jon R. and Smith, Douglas K., “The Wisdom of Teams”, Harvard
Business School Press (1994)

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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Resources
 General Business
 Collins, Jim, “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and
Others Don’t”
 Goleman, Daniel, McKee, Annie and Boyatzis, Richard E., “Primal
Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence”

© Kathleen Bradley Chouai, 2005


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