creating a connection culture in the law
A little while back, I wrote a post on creating a more fulfilling legal career. It conveyed my thoughts on a New York Times article describing the diminishing lure of the law.
One of the resonant complaints I hear from lawyers is that they feel very disconnected from their colleagues and firms. They attribute their sense of isolation to, among other things, the competitive nature of the business and long working hours. These kinds of complaints inspired me to write posts like:
Their common theme is connection – the damage caused by its absence and ways to build it in the legal profession.
Connection is also the theme of a new ChangeThis manifesto by leadership expert Michael Lee Stallard. Titled The Connection Culture: A New Source of Competitive Advantage (pdf), the manifesto poses the compelling question: What is it about connection that makes it so powerful?
Stallard offers up this gem of an answer:
“[W]e are humans, not machines. We have emotions. We have hopes and dreams. We have a conscience. We have deeply felt human needs to be respected, to be recognized for our talents, to belong. [ ] When we work in an environment that recognizes these realities of our human nature, we thrive. [ ] When we work in an environment that fails to recognize this, it is damaging to our mental and physical health.”
He then explains and explores the core elements of a workplace Connection Culture:
- Vision (“everyone in an organization is motivated by the organization’s mission, united by its values, and proud of its reputation”)
- Value (“everyone in an organization understands the universal nature of people, appreciates the unique contribution of each person, and helps them achieve their potential”)
- Voice (“everyone in an organization participates in an open, honest and safe environment where people share their opinions in order to understand one another and seek the best ideas”)
Stallard aids our understanding, and amplifies his message, by giving examples of businesses and business leaders who have successfully embraced these core components.