Sunday, November 27, 2016

West Lattitude: Finders Minders Grinders Binders

First, you must watch Randy Pausch's last lecture ... (Family viewing despite the misleading name of the Professor)

80 Years Ago Dale Carnegie Published “How To Win Friends And Influence People”. It’s Still On The Bestseller List

“Why on Earth are people still buying a self-help book from 1936? Carnegie’s principles of relentless positivity are right at home in a culture of ingratiation, from the widespread drive to amass online friends by liking their posts (and thence to become an influencer) to the way every interaction with someone in the service industry feels like the prelude to a customer satisfaction survey. His ideas retain a startling currency in a society whose very drives and mores he helped to create.”

As a young man, Jack Londonthrived among the delinquents on the Oakland waterfront. His stint in the cellar of society shaped his worldview of head fakes 

Awe, terror, and tech. Technological progress promises to solve our problems and turn the world into an Edenic garden. To some of us, that are creepy virtual reality notions  

Finders are those who find the work, better known today as rainmakers.  Minders are those who perform administrative tasks and coordinate the efforts of the finders, grinders, and binders to be sure that the firm will run as a cohesive whole; examples include managing partners, the executive committee, team leaders, etc.  Grinders are those who grind out the client work, and binders are those who bring the members of a firm together by (for example) inviting a small group to lunch or recognizing achievements of the firm’s lawyers.

Chances are that just reading these definitions is enough to let you identify your area of strength.  If not, consider this brief list of questions.

*  Imagine a great opportunity for your firm.  Is the opportunity you thought of more in the practice, marketing, administration, or social area?

*  Do you feel that you’re acting in the highest and best service by being out in the world meeting people, billing time, or working on firm matters?

*  When you think you ought to drop by and congratulate a colleague on bringing in a big new client, winning a case, or receiving some award, do you actually do it?
*  Would you gladly trade billable hours for working on administrative matters?  Is administration important enough to do you take on both tasks?
*  How skilled are you at signing new clients?  Does your marketing tend to yield results fairly quickly?
Answers to these questions will point you toward your area of strength.  Although most of us tend to spend time shoring up our weak areas and working to improve them, studies show that people are much more effective when they spend development time making those strengths even stronger and figuring out how best to use them.  (This is the thesis of Now, Discover Your Strengths by Buckingham and Clifton, among others by Buckingham.)  Accordingly, it’s critical to recognize and leverage your natural abilities.
As recognized in this Altman Weil report, a lawyer today likely doesn’t have the luxury of  existing in only one dimension of the finder/minder/grinder/binder quartet.  (The report is directed to partners, but equally applicable to associates and sole practitioners, albeit in a different context.)  Though exceptions may exist by agreement of the members of a firm, each lawyer is asked to put each of these skills into play.  Though it isn’t necessary to become a virtuoso in each area, it’s critical to have some level of skill.
Frederick Shelton, a legal recruiter, argues persuasively that lawyers acquire these skills at different stages of their development in this article.  (It’s worth noting that Shelton considers minders to be those with responsibility for client contact — a reminder to check definition when somewhat arbitrary terms are being used.)  Although seniority does bring opportunities to develop these skills, even the most junior associate can begin developing them today.  How so? Finders Minders Grinders Binders