Archive for July, 2010

With all the demands on our time to keep up with exponential complexity, it seems that moving forward with our personal development, business and career goals are perennially postponed.

Sometimes we get lucky and are our day-to-day activities actually produces a much sought after goal without a conscious strategy.  But we hardly know how to replicate those circumstances as we perceive them outside of our control.  For example, the proverbial: I was asked to work on this project by my boss because no one else wanted it and I did it.  I earned a reputation in the company, received a promotion, bonuses and was then hired by a competitor double for  my salary. Something like that….. 🙂

When it comes to goals, some people are quite capable of just ignoring everything and everyone to accomplish a goal. They have to make up later for having few friends or an estranged spouse and family. It seems that every time you commit to a goal with single-minded purpose, sacrifices to the god of accomplishment are needed.  Maybe not as dramatic as a virgin, or a first-born, but some aspect of your free time for recreation or relationships is sacrificed to make a focused and committed leap towards accomplishing a goal.  Some have solved this by turning their hobbies into work and their friends come from the same pool of activities.  Either way, one must let go of one’s previous friends and activities to make this change.

I was in a lifeline group of 4.  On the whole, we were weak at holding each other accountable. It seemed no one wanted to alienate the others by firmly holding them accountable to their goals. Maybe this was driven by a secret desire not to be held accountable ourselves. 😉   Despite some measurable success, it is no surprise that our year long lifeline group lost a key member last week.

Holding someone accountable is a genuine skill. It requires creating enough discomfort in the person whilst not alienating them or shaming them. It requires creativity in knowing how to help your friend or colleague solve the problem and inspire them to consistent action. There has to be some level of respect for each other and discomfort to NOT comply.  What is clear is that trust is an essential aspect of being held accountable. Trust that allows you to know that they are not trying to hurt you, but to help you. Trust to know they want you to succeed as much as you do. Trust to know that you’re safe and can be vulnerable without results being compromised.

When all of these elements are present, that relationship is priceless! May you inspire and invite someone to care enough to hold you accountable.


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A good friend recently asked me what the value proposition of The Online Bar is. Anytime a new way of organizing and working is introduced this question comes up. What to me is remarkable is how few of us ask that same question of our broken down institutions and modes of organization. Better the devil you know! 🙂

The Online Bar is primarily a community of trust. Dee Hock (Founder of Visa) gives a practical explanation of community below, which helps me express why The Online Bar is focused on building trust through community.

The essence of community, it’s very heart and soul, is the nonmonetary exchange of value…. The nonmonetary exchange of value does not arise solely from altruistic motives. It arises from deep, intuitive, understanding that self-interest is inseparably connected with community interest…that all things are simultaneously independent, interdependent, and intradependent. It requires only ordinary, caring people.” Edited from Dee Hock’s book, One From Many: Visa and the Rise of Chaordic Organization.

Money, markets and measurement have their place. They are important tools indeed. We should honor them and use them.  But they don’t deserve deification…..only fools worship their tools.”  Dee Hock

I see many lawyers broken and on their knees deifying money and technology. Sadly, they remain on their knees with work, lack of friends and a poor quality of life.  No fun, no joy and all hard work describes most lawyers today.

We are certain that a global community of lawyers built on a platform of trust can build anything it desires.

The fastest way to get what you want is to build trust with generosity – without demanding a reward – and collaborate.  Anything else is simply a deferred monetary bargain – a transaction. Trust relies on not keeping score.  Even if one quietly expects a direct monetary reward, trust will eventually be eroded. Sooner or later that person will demand their just rewards (with spam or a pitch) or feel terribly disappointed. Meanwhile for that  person any possibility of doing business at the speed of trust, of designing new and more enjoyable ways of practicing law and organizing is lost.

Don’ be that person. The world will leave you behind in a red ocean of all against all. A world where a bloody triumph will last but seconds before it is snatched by another that is faster and stronger.

Community is a marketplace of trust and generosity. Global collaboration between lawyers requires nothing less than trust and shared values of community.  A desire to have fun, meet, listen and learn from others also helps. 🙂 The Online Bar is evolving as do all communities of trust. Everyone in a community is responsible to lead, hence why where we are going is up to all of US.

Can we have some fun now? 🙂

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