Everyone thinks you benchmark to find other law departments’ best practices. The goal is to copy or adopt successes. But the pratfalls of others have instructional value as much can be gleaned from those stumbles. Benchmarking “worst practices” may not occur to general counsel yet it would enable them to learn from others’ shortfalls. The distinction first came to my attention in A New Way to Think: The Best of Rotman Magazine, Vol. 2, at 35.
It is hard to find out management disasters. Whether this be the poor choice of a firm, a flawed legal strategy for an acquisition, a benighted promotion, a churlish style, or bungled technology implementation, people cover up their mistakes. Sometimes, asking about lessons learned coaxes out the missteps.