“Peace in the world” — now that has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? So, all we have to do is stir the light in the soul and we’ll find peace in the world? That sounds easy! Wait…what? Yes, light in the soul. In other words, are you following your passion, living your bliss, or any of the other clichéd expressions which translate to, “are you happy?”
Here we are at the holidays, a time for real celebration, where many of us get giddy in our eggnog (spiked or otherwise) and enjoy a slower pace at the office to bring the personal time to a roar. The amount of energy available seems to rise as the social time increases and the world is lit up
(literally and figuratively) with kindness (other than Black Friday…that’s another story!)
The legal industry is not rooted in passion for performance. In fact, many times when passion emerges in some people, others retreat or retrace, or belittle or put down. There is a tremendous societal pressure to perform by going through others rather than going with others. Name a company, let alone a law firm, that has compensation built on collaboration, that reviews performance by team rather than individual, or that trains in teams and groups with design on peak performance for each employee. It’s very tough to find one. Most of us have experience where our performance is measured against others and our salary increase/decrease is explained by comparison, not compliment.
The American economic structure isn’t crafted on collaboration. And, taking that a step further, many employers ask you to check your personal life at the door, communicating that showing up with all that you are isn’t a good idea at all. People underperform because there isn’t an incentive to “play full out”.
This time of year many of us are setting forth 2016 goals, New Year’s resolutions, or other markers for how next year will be different than this one. I’m suggesting one goal is to show up and stay out, and I’m offering you how to get there:
It’s a trifecta: physical, mental and spiritual. All are components of the person and the business. It’s a threesome that makes it possible to blast through limitations — set by ourselves and set by others.
PHYSICAL Our jobs require us to achieve operational objectives, employ strategy and process to accomplish our tasks and goals. Running a business, or running your desk requires some specific physical skills. We know what lurks when we show up in the morning. And, it could be what we dread about coming to work. Ever heard this before? “I don’t have to bring all of me to the physical aspects of my job, some of them I can do in my sleep.” According to the Gallup Organization, less than 30% of employees are fully engaged at work. That’s a lot of productivity left on the table, or at the door. Let the only thing at the door be a coat rack. The physical aspects of productivity climb as we become more and more engaged at work. Being engaged at work means bringing forward our passion and infusing it into the assignments and interactions we have in the office. Full self.
MENTAL We all underperform at something. Knowing that line where it’s “enough to get by” in an area where we aren’t particularly stimulated creates a low level of engagement. At home, it’s doing dishes or laundry. I’ll get it done, but I sure don’t sing and dance while I’m doing it. Now add in some education or training and the challenge rises. Put me in front of a front-loading, energy-efficient washing machine and I’m challenged to understand all those dials and settings. In the workplace, cross-training is like that new washer, the stimulation causes performance to increase. Training programs which bring new thinking or break through commonly held beliefs are perfect stimulus to affect performance. Getting employees to step outside their routine is a terrific way to increase productivity and performance levels.
Shake up the norm. Think in new ways about old problems. Ask the question, ‘what else applies’ or ‘how else can we do this’ to invite creativity and collaboration. The past few years have proven that our old models are no longer working. What can we add to our engines to get them revved up at this faster pace? What about creating internal mastermind groups where there is cross-practice group interaction and sharing of ideas and solutions?
SPIRITUAL This is a tough word in the business world. And yet, most leaders in the business community are seeking to be inspired, energized, and motivated. Inspired = in-spirited. Raise the discussion about inspiration as a personal conversation where it is non-threatening and influential. Throw in a mix of integrated culture, so your strategic plan now embraces all aspects of people and now we are building a vision of the organization where performance reaches potential, where the spirit is thriving.
The trifecta — applying small changes can create big energy. When we have more energy, our confidence rises, our engagement rises, and our fears subside. Aligning performance and potential — for the person and the organization. Win-win. I love that.
Like everything else, all we can do is practice and play. Step one foot in front of the other and inspire yourself to take your performance and potential to the next level. Good luck, light your soul and let it shine!
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