Ducks overlooking outside scenery on bridge.

Smarter thinking from your travel companion on the journey from Baseline to Brilliance

23 September 2015

For most of us, by the time that we get to our mid-30s, much of the desired general direction of our professional life has been set –

law firm lawyers are hoping for partnership in an area of law in a firm that they like, and in-house lawyers are settling into a preferred sector and deciding whether to aim to be a subject matter expert lead or to aim for a General Counsel role via the intermediate step of being a business partner lawyer.

It's at this point we start to realise that, far from travelling alone on our journey, there are actually maybe 100 people following parallel-ish tracks where our interests coalesce with theirs intermittently over the remaining 30-40 years of our careers; and maybe 30-50 people whose tracks are so aligned that we see them and engage with them regularly.

And once we have this realisation then we start to think about two related insights:

  1. that these "cadre peers" will often be having very similar or identical experiences and issues to the ones that we face; and
  2. that socialising our experiences and issues will, at the very least, give us the reassurance that we are not alone in seeing a problem that we need to address – and at the best, might provide answers from others' experiences to the problems that we currently face or know that we might face in future.

And what logically follows from these insights is the desire to find safe and efficient settings within which to have focused socialisation of and thinking about relevant topics…

Which is why the Corporate Counsel Forum (CCF) has become such an essential fixture in the thinking GC's calendar.

RPC is delighted to be the principal sponsor of this event again this year. We see the value that if offers to GCs and we would rather put resources towards doing something that is genuinely helpful to you and which allows us the privilege, as a parallel traveller over the remaining years of your career, to make sure that we really understand what matters to you and why it matters. After all sports events are good fun…

            …but helping to make your job easier, more interesting, more enjoyable - that's hopefully useful and value added as well.

We are always striving to be more proactive, more thoughtful, more connected and more empathetic in our relationships with our parallel travelling GCs – how else can we be a helpful and trusted advisor and career journey travel companion who can help you to grow and to excel over the rest of your trip?

Law does not exist in isolation. It exists in your business context. Your business geographies, service lines, management attitudes, staff attitudes, budgets, systems, processes… and your personal needs, aspirations and characteristics.

            It's your baseline.

            It's your brilliance.

And, individually and collectively that must also be true for each member of your team because, as a leader, your brilliance is largely achieved through enabling, motivating, coordinating and directing your team.

This issue of team management and performance is key, and close to my heart. That's why, as well as sponsoring the event, I've chosen to chair what I hope will be one of the most interesting, characterful and energetic of the sessions at the CCF as we ask four very experienced and very different GCs to draw on past experiences to define a sustainable route for them and for their teams to enhanced future performance. It promises to be an interesting and lively session.

As Bruce Macmillan, a seasoned GC, put it after I was chatting with him at last year's event:"The CCF normally hits the "thirds rule" for a good conference: one third learning; one third reminding (of things we know and should be using better/more often), and one third reassuring (we actually know and are using some good practice in our day to day lives!)."

I hope and, looking at the agenda, I am confident that the "thirds rule" will apply for most people who participate this year and am greatly looking forward to the next couple of days.

I know that there will be some readers of this blog who cannot attend the CCF this year so I will provide a summary of key themes that I identified in another blog soon after the event. I hope to inspire enough that I will meet you there next year!