Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chair of NCBA YLD


  1. I thought that you might find this illuminating...a wise lawyer recently related this story.

    As usual, George missed the point.

    George Costanza was one of Jerry Seinfeld’s eclectic friends in the hit television show, Seinfeld. George spent a lot of his time missing points large and small. In one episode, George and a girlfriend had ordered at lunch a salad for Elaine, who could not make the lunch date. George paid for the salad but later on his girlfriend handed the salad to Elaine as if she had bought it. George filled out the rest of the scene clumsily—and over and over—trying to make sure he got credit for the gesture, since he paid for the salad.

    The fine art of letting small things a little out of alignment go by would be a good idea to explore sometime. But the idea of who gets credit, or folded into that question, does not get credit, is a larger issue, especially in unlocking the skill set necessary to true leadership and getting hard things done.

    The credit dilemma is an important one, especially for leaders on the rise. Ambition is (largely) a very good thing. Talented people on the rise want recognition that breaks them out of the pack. Sometimes they fail to see that ego, a powerful force that can overtake us in ways science and experts are still unpacking, can turn a collective “our” effort into a “my” effort. Finding the formula that allows you to develop into a confident and able leader, and yet a leader that fully keeps the focus on the collective effort, is harder than we realize.

    Many times it is not in our nature to seek special praise. But the concern that our skills and special contributions may not be fully recognized, or even recognized at all, is very much with us. What if they do not know what we contributed?

    Sometimes George’s credit dilemma is our dilemma. Be prepared for the effort in which the time that you spend, the idea that you have, or your leadership accomplishment, is lost in the shuffle. And sometimes someone else gets the credit, unwittingly or by design.

    What solves the credit dilemma is this: in matters large and small, people want to be part of something bigger than they are. They want to believe in something. They want a purpose, and they want to be inspired to believe they can accomplish something that matters. When the friction of individual egos is lessened in the gears of a common enterprise, you just get more done. And it is the way very hard things get done.

    What I’ve learned about life on the way to the courthouse is this: Do not worry about those times when the credit calculus leads to an unrecognized contribution. Keep your eye on the other guy. Give credit to others as much as you can, as often as you can, and in as many ways as you can. This is the surest path to a good result. Over time the credit concern will just not matter. That’s when your leadership style will take a measurable surge.

    Besides, when everyone stands up in success, trust me, they will know how they got there.

    Or, if you are part of a really successful enterprise, maybe not.

  2. Someone is snarky. Nice to know you can cut and paste my dad's article. I guess you think it is wrong to say when you are chair of the YLD. Not sure what I did to provoke your anonymous hostility.