Think back to the first day of summer when you were a child. What was around the corner? Chances are, the possibilities felt endless, and you were brimming with ideas for how to play. This desire to investigate, explore and learn is the very definition of curiosity. .
“Executive presence” is for many people I talk to in law firms a “know-it-when-you-see-it” kind of thing. While they may be confident that they can tell you who has it, or more often in the context of lawyer coaching, who doesn’t, they may struggle to define it clearly.
If you are a partner or senior manager, you have likely had the experience of finding an associate standing in your doorway with that sheepish look suggestive of an impending admission. Unfortunately, something has gone terribly wrong.
Let’s face it. We all need feedback. Otherwise we have no choice but to guess and make assumptions about how we are seen by our colleagues, and about whether we are meeting their expectations. It’s unwise to adopt the mantra of “No news is good news”! If you have one of those managers who takes the view that they will only say something if they have to (perhaps electing not to say anything until the annual performance review), you’re unlucky. But a lack of explicit focus by others on your development does not give you a free pass in the context of feedback.
Partner Diane Costigan quoted in Law360.
It is part of the human condition to assess and evaluate others. As a result, in working with colleagues, we often have an internal dialogue monologue in which our thoughts and comments on their performance surface. And yet, that’s more often than not how we leave things – internal and unspoken. Our inside voice may be loud. But our colleagues can’t hear us.
Despite recent headlines suggesting that the days of conventional performance evaluations are numbered, it seems that performance reviews are alive and well, at least in the legal industry. And, it’s that time of year.
I don’t know who came up with the expression “elevator pitch” but I have come to the conclusion that its (over)use is a turn-off for many of the lawyers we coach. This set me thinking. Undoubtedly, “elevator pitch” is a cliché but there’s another problem with it: An undue emphasis on the concept and its readiness for use with new contacts distracts from the reality that our networks are as much about the people we already know (or with whom we have a link) as they are about strangers.
In short, the answer is when it’s about communication.
As we made ourselves coffee in our new office near Wall Street, Diane Costigan was sharing some coaching advice she had been giving about managing expectations (of colleagues and clients). Diane is working up some new material around goal setting and how, inadvertently, lawyers sometimes set themselves up to fail.