Executives’ views of the law department compared to other staff functions

A leading consumer products company surveyed its 400 top executives. It asked them, among other questions, the extent to which they felt each of the staff functions added value to the company. In the one instance I know about, the law department scored the second highest on that scale.

I question whether that question and the resulting metrics or rankings are worth pursuing. The term “adding value” carries enormous subjectivity, in the first place; the aggregate scores don’t help the staff units know what they should do to improve, in the second place; and it breeds nonsensical competitiveness in the third place.

“How well have they served you” is probably the question the executives were really answering, rather than some effort to understand the contributions of the different staff groups and how much they contribute to the success of the company.

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