Last week I was on the phone chatting with my friend, Shimmy (Shimmy is the guy in the video with me). We were talking about football and more specifically, I was talking about my Philadelphia Eagles. I was explaining to Shimmy that I am disappointed in my team this year because they are so inconsistent. In the course of making my point, I used an analogy to litigation support — imagine that!
One of the most important factors in the success of a litigation support professional is consistency. The job takes a bunch of turns and has a lot of moving parts. It can be a tedious job. We need to be reliable in many ways and one of them is the consistency with which tasks are completed.
When the Eagles quarterback can't consistently get a first down every time the offense is on the field, we begin to lose faith in him. When the Eagles defense doesn't do their job and the other team's offense is able to slip right through, the entire workflow of the Eagles team falls short. When an Eagles receiver doesn't quite catch the ball after everyone else on the team did their part, the quarterback may become hesitant to rely on him next time.
Here are some areas to focus being consistent in litigation support.
1) Be reliable in responding to communications from the legal teams in a timely fashion.
2) Prepare deliverables in a consistent manner so that the opposing party doesn't have to send an e-mail to the lead attorney asking for the missing information.
3) Manage expectations consistently throughout the project so that things don't spiral out of control.
4) Handle the electronic data consistently so that team members can easily follow behind if needed.
5) Be consistent in the instructions you give to the vendor so that there is less room for human error.
6) Keep a consistent workflow to a certain degree within the department making it easier for everyone to remember what happened and for newbies to learn the process.
When the Eagles quarterback decides to run with the ball over and over instead of relying on his team mates to do their part, it really irks me. One person can't do everything on the team and you need to fine tune your skill sets so they can be relied upon when the requests come in. Give your team mates some credit and trust them to make their contribution to the team. There is nothing more enjoyable than being part of a well oiled team. Consistency is key and good things will come to those that practice their skills on an ongoing basis.