Dear Jane: Creating ROI on a Non-Billable Assignment

by 352admin 28. February 2013 13:11

Dear Jane,

An important partner asked me to help him with a speech he will give soon.  I don’t want to do non-billable work because we get no “real” credit for it.

Signed,

Rather Be Sailing

 

Dear Rather Be Sailing,

There may be no way to say no to this partner without detrimentally impacting yourself.  If that is the case, focus on how to create ROI: return on investment.  Will the subject matter of the speech help you establish a go-to expertise?  Can you utilize the research you’ll do for the speech in other ways such as writing an article, speaking on the topic to other practice areas who may have clients interested in the area or writing a client advisory?  Can you turn this exposure to the important client into an opportunity to work with him on a billable project?  If you do this non-billable project, ensure that you understand the returns you will seek and articulate them before the formal evaluation process so others know how both the firm and you benefitted from those hours.

Jane DiRenzo Pigott is the managing director of R3 Group LLC, specializing in working with professional service organizations on leadership and change in connection with diversity and inclusion. Before founding R3 Group, she practiced law for more than two decades at large law firms where she chaired a practice group, served on the executive management and compensation committees, and founded and ran diversity initiatives and affinity groups.

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Career Advice | Dear Jane

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