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Law Firms and ToMo

According to researchers who recently published their findings in the Harvard Business Review, "We've found that answering three questions can help transform culture from a mystery to a science:  1) How does culture drive performance? 2) What is culture worth? 3) What processes in an organization affect culture?".

The future of the legal profession? There are lots if theories-- AI and the integration of technology both get a lot of conversation these days, but for my money it's all about total motivation ("ToMo"), and you know my bias in these weighty matters-- ToMo is most effectively cultivated through the thoughtful design and implementation of mindfulness and meditation programs.

"We built on [other researchers'] framework", said the authors of the article in question, "and adapted it for the modern workplace. The six main reasons people work are: play, purpose, potential, emotional pressure, economic pressure, and inertia". All six of those terms are defined in the text of the subject article. The first three motives tend to increase performance, while the last three tend to decrease performance.

The authors (both of whom are Ivy League MBA grads) conclude that there is no "silver bullet" that impacts ToMo, and I certainly agree. There are lots of different ways to skin that cat, but at root, I believe that it's all about helping people get in touch with their own motivations-- their sense of self. And that can take a lot of reflection-- a lot of stillness and quiet.

I have honestly never thought of either mindfulness or meditation as office culture engineering disciplines but I admit, this particular article got me thinking. Many of us-- especially many of us in the legal profession-- seem to be channeling Missouri, the so-called "show me" state. Show me the statistics, and maybe I'll give you a moment of my attention. Show me the objective research, and maybe I'll listen. But unless and until you can show me in a way I regard as independently verifiable, I'm not interested.

Granted, building a successful work culture is more than taking a leap of faith, but the future of the legal profession will be dramatically influenced by the woman and men who are willing to take a leap-- albeit, in a skillful and thoughtful manner. That's where mindfulness and meditation can play such important roles.

Taking that leap--responding skillfully-- is the secret sauce, when it comes to ToMo, and that is something that we would all be well-served to bear in mind. The researchers who authored the article in question conclude with two sentences that both summarize the content, and grab one's attention: "More and more, organizations are beginning to realize that culture can't be left to chance. Leaders have to treat culture building as an engineering principle, not a magical one".

Are mindfulness and meditation "engineering principles", or are they just "magical" foo foo dust? You know how I feel-- how about you?


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