King & Wood Mallesons Case Study

Creating a shared understanding of the business strategy and a desire to go for it across the whole business – at a time of high opportunity and huge change in the market

The context

KWM is a top tier law firm created by bringing together leading Chinese and Australian law firms and now expanding across the world. The global firm is the first to be headquartered in Asia and brings deep Asian capability, knowhow and opportunities across its global network.

KWM Australia wanted to leverage this and respond to changes in its local market as well as tackling the challenges of commoditisation of lower value work and the increasing expectations of clients for a more commercial and business savvy approach.

What we did

We worked with the Managing Partner and Executive Team of the Australian firm to
create a shared view of the current reality of the market, changing client needs and the Firm’s strategy – and then strengthened this through a dialogue to make all this ready for communication.

A business ‘Playbook’ was created as the core piece of communication for use by
everyone in the Firm. This powerful piece set out the changing market, client expectations, goals, priorities & targets and the things that count most in the Firm’s way of working. (Playbook 2 now incorporates personal goal and objective setting and a framework for the appraisal conversation)

Partners were supported with a series of practical, easy to use conversation tools to
lead conversations with their teams on the key issues affecting the business – including ‘changing times’ – market context and ‘delivering the client promise’ – differentiation.

And as a way of engaging the whole Firm in strengthening its relationships with clients, a week of intensive focus on clients, ‘Client Week’, was held to bring alive all aspects of the client experience. This involved many of the Firm’s clients and included client presentations and panel discussions, client focused workshops, perspectives from other markets & businesses and social events.

Tools that transform

‘Playbooks’ are used by sports teams to get across the various tactics, moves and plays and when to use them – something that is fundamental to the way a team plays and sets out to win. They are increasingly used by progressive businesses to align the way people work in delivering competitive strategies.


Conversation Tool
Presented in a ‘meeting in a box’ format – an interactive tool to help
managers get their people talking about the big issues facing the
business. The compelling visual format draws on neuroscience and
how people learn. The effect promotes mindset shifts and alignment.


The outcome

  • Strengthened the way the business is led by its partners
  • A much clearer direction across the whole business and alignment to this
  • Bringing the ‘outside’ into the firm and placing the client ‘centre stage’
  • Increased market share and profitability