Booz Allen calls them “organizational DNA” according to Consulting, Vol. 7, Nov./Dec. 2005 at 36.
Structure – the most visible, such as where people are located and to whom do they report.
Decisions right – where does the buck stop and who can call the coin toss.
Information – metrics and getting the information to support the decisions.
Motivators – carrots that keep people coming to work.
Together, these four elements make up the culture of a firm, and, I propose, also of a law department (See my post of Feb. 4, 2006 on culture.).
A law department’s genetic makeup, therefore, includes the org chart, office locations, and scope of responsibility – structure. It includes who signs off, informal approval rules, and under what circumstances – decisions. The budgets, case counts, staffing numbers, form files, databases and other data – information. Fourth, titles, compensation, recognition, office locations and assignments – motivators. Can you deny DNA?