“Tools” defined and as used in this blog, by category

This blog’s writer cares about whatever aids those who manage corporate legal functions. “Tools” are one category of aids, but the term “tool” turns out to be hard to define (See my posts of Aug. 13, 2006 and April 14, 2005 about tools generally; Oct. 18, 2006 [“The term “tools” covers all the (a) tangible instrumentalities and (b) techniques that help those in a law department accomplish processes.”].). Contrary to what I put forth earlier (See my post of April 17, 1006 on decision tools, in which category I too-broadly included information, training and empowerment) I now think a narrower concept should delimit “tools.”

Starting very broadly, it seems useful to distinguish management tools that enhance management’s evaluations and analysis of the department or provide insights to plan. All of my categories save one consist of management tools.

Client satisfaction: July 25, 2005 – balanced scorecards; Sept. 4, 2005 – benchmarking; April 18, 2005 – client satisfaction surveys; Jan. 27, 2006 – internal budgets; and Oct. 2, 2006 – self-assessment for Boards.

Productivity: Aug. 5, 2005 –databases; Sept. 10, 2005 – document management systems; Aug. 27, 2005 – extranets; April 13, 2006 – interactive training software; March 1, 2007 – intranets; Sept. 21, 2005 – matter management systems; July 5, 2006 – on-line legal and compliance training; Oct. 31, 2005 – mission statements; Feb. 25, 2007 – knowledge management by video recording; Sept. 22, 2006 – OCRs; Dec. 20, 2005 – real options; Dec. 9, 2005 – strategic planning; Aug. 28, 2005 – SWOT analysis; Aug. 14, 2005 – “technology” and examples; and Dec. 21, 2005 – work analysis.

Outside counsel: Sept. 17, 2006 – alternative fee arrangements; Feb. 18, 2007 – budgets; Dec. 14, 2005 – competitive bidding for major litigation; Aug. 3, 2005 – convergence; Sept. 14, 2005 – early case assessment; Nov. 5, 2006 and Feb. 20, 2007– engagement letters, outside counsel guidelines and related documents; Nov. 16, 2005 and Feb. 25, 2007 – evaluations of outside counsel; Nov. 14, 2005 – outsourcing and offshoring; Jan. 18, 2007 – DuPont’s EDGE; May 14, 2005 – strategic alliances.

Talent management: Jan. 1, 2006 – assessment instruments; Oct. 19, 2005 – communication methods; May 14, 2005 – core competencies; May 7, 2006 – nine diversity tools; March 12, 2006 – electronic voting software; April 8, 2005 – employee satisfaction surveys; Aug. 24, 2006 – exit interviews; March 22, 2006 – organization charts; Feb. 7, 2006 – Group Development Questionnaire; Sept. 25, 2005 – high impact learning maps; Oct. 1, 2005 – Johari window; Nov. 6, 2006 and March 9, 2007 #3 – organizational network analysis; June 21, 2006 – position descriptions; March 25, 2005 – retreats; July 5, 2006 #3 – rich pictures; Feb. 15, 2006 – five HR tools; Oct. 21, 2005 – psychometric instruments; Nov. 22, 2006 – personality tests; Feb. 19, 2007 – Job Diagnostic Survey; June 12, 2005 – stress assessment; Feb. 7, 2006 – values assessment.

As a second broad category there are productivity tools that make personnel more productive – essentially they increase the output of a given amount of resources.

Decisions and cognitive style: Feb. 23, 2006 – argument diagrams; Dec. 4, 2005 – catastrophe modeling; Oct. 24, 2005 and Jan. 17, 2006 – decision trees; Oct. 22, 2006 – Gini coefficients; Aug. 30, 2006 – grid analysis; May 15, 2005 – Monte Carlo simulations; Feb. 1, 2007 – nine-box analysis; Aug. 30, 2006 – paired comparisons; – statistics; Aug. 17, 2006, Dec. 9, 2005, and Feb. 16, 2006 – spreadsheets, graphics, and visualization software; April 2, 2006 – Franklin T’s and other decision aids; July 31, 2005 and March 7, 2006 – Six Sigma and its many techniques; and Jan. 3, 2007 – Venn diagrams.

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