Welcome to the Leadership Corner of the Dirt Law blog! This is my space to write about topics that aren’t legal per se, but that do–or should–have a place in not only the legal profession, but any industry or profession. This first entry will serve primarily to set out my concept, but my goal for future posts is to cover subjects such as leadership, mentoring, and communication, and the benefits of what I call organic interactions. I think about these things a lot but write about them only periodically, so check this space every few weeks to see what’s on my mind.
The idea for this blog came to me as I was reading “Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How to Heal” by U.S. Senator Ben Sasse. The premise of “Them” is that Americans are dying of loneliness, and the cure is to recapture what Senator Sasse calls the “hometown-gym-on-a-Friday-night feeling.” I won’t recap the book here, but it got me thinking about where and how we interact with each other within our professions; how much that differs, at least in my experience, between the public and private sectors; and how we can build new habits to increase and improve our interactions with each other.
Speaking of my experience, for 14 years I served as an officer in the Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. The Navy, of course, is a federal agency and therefore is federally funded, and must abide by the rules regarding expenditure of those funds. The reality of this is that not every undertaking happens as part of a formal, funded program. Many necessary “intangibles,” such as mentoring, happen at least in part as a result of the organic interactions I alluded to earlier.
Fast-forward to my present incarnation as a private-practice attorney. Money is still an issue–when is it not, really?–albeit for reasons other than federal fiscal law. What I’ve noticed, though, is that in the private sector, there is an emphasis on formal programs with demonstrated return on investment. Organic interactions still happen, but people seem to be less aware of them, and they aren’t nurtured to the extent I had perhaps come to expect. The reasons for this, and some potential solutions, are what I plan to explore in the Leadership Corner.
The examples I use in my posts will come from the two professions that I know–law and arms. This is not to say that good, or even better, examples don’t exist in other industries or professions; it’s just that I can’t speak to them because I don’t possess that perspective. Moreover, my thoughts are meant only to start a discussion, not to dictate methods or results–though ideally they will help to make my profession and yours richer and more interconnected. I hope you’ll join me!
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