The Exceptional Lawyer

August 27, 2008

Your Pit Crew

Filed under: Uncategorized — joshuahornick @ 1:22 pm

Law is increasingly a team sport.  The team includes colleagues, those people with whom you kick around ideas, and your pit crew, the people with whom you work shoulder to shoulder or who support you.  For your work to be exceptional, your pit crew must be

  • skilled,
  • loyal, and
  • enthusiastic.

For the moment, I want to focus on loyalty and enthusiasm.  Emerson said that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.  That’s true.  For your work to be great, you must be enthusiastic.  If your pit crew is not enthusiastic, it will detract from the quality of your service.

Some people are enthusiastic by nature.  Most people, however, only become enthusiastic when their environment, their circumstances, call it forward.  Some pit crew will be enthusiastic because they are ambitious, others because they really believe in what they are doing, and others (most, I think) because of their relationships with the people around them.  Most enthusiastic pit crew become that way because of the relationship they have with you and the enthusiasm that you bring to the process.  That is, they become enthusiastic because they really want to help you or because your enthusiasm is contagious and they get caught up in it.

A loyal pit crew shows up.  And, tends to show up enthusiastically.  A loyal pit crew applies its best efforts.  It doesn’t let things slide.  Your best work requires that your pit crew will burn the midnight oils on occasion and do it enthusiastically.  The loyal pit crew does not let you down in terms of quantity or quality.  Loyalty is the characteristic that underlies the desire to show up and do their best all the time, even more than personal integrity.

The quality of your relationships with your pit crew can make all the difference in their being loyal and enthusiastic.  While you don’t have to be all lovey dovey with them, it is important that you treat them with courtesy and–most importantly–respect their humanity, see them as whole human beings, not merely workers.  This means having their best interests at heart and acting accordingly.  It requires knowing more about their lives and taking steps to support them in personal ways.  That could mean giving appropriate X-mas presents or noticing a down mood and suggesting someone take the afternoon off.  Such a sensitive approach engenders the high levels of loyalty that will help make your work exceptional.

This type of loyalty also increases the likelihood that your pit crew stay in tact over time.  Retention of a good pit crew is very valuable.  You work better with a group with whom you have experience.  It also creates the opportunity for the pit crew to build its skills to meet your needs.

[This entry was inspired by a conversation I had with a partner in a large (for VT) Vermont firm.]

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