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Searching For Galahad (Succession Planning – Part II)

By Joryn Jenkins

We’re looking for our Galahad, the perfect knight to complete our ideal collaborative team. Someone who can eventually succeed into leadership of our practice group, membership on the board of our statewide collaborative organization, the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals (FACP), and even service on FACP’s executive committee. In Part I, we’ve discussed humility, but there are two other attributes required of the ideal team player, both hunger and smarts.

So, let’s talk about hunger. Hunger for what?

Self-Selection – Hunger

Ideal team players are always looking for more. More to learn to increase their knowledge. More responsibility to improve their practice. More collaborative matters to improve their skills. Hungry professionals are self-motivated and diligent, always seeking the next step forward and the next opportunity to make a difference.

Don’t get me wrong; hungry people don’t let work consume them. The right hunger is simply a drive to be the best, to go above and beyond. Hungry professionals are passionate about their services and will volunteer when others won’t. They do what they love for a living.

Such hunger will manifest in collaborative practice as a passion for achieving the right results for the team’s clients, rather than for themselves. This is not an ego driven trait; it is not a drive to be better than others, but a drive to provide a better result.

I have a close friend who’s a CPA. She regularly works late into the night crunching numbers and compiling tables to explain those numbers to clients. She’s an effective communicator and my clients love her. We’ve worked together on several divorces, and she labors long and hard to get them ready to settle before they go to final hearing.

But my colleague is focused solely on making enough money to retire early. She is not passionate about her services, but fanatical about buying a place to live in the Caribbean. So, while she’s certainly hungry, it’s not in the sense I mean here.

How Do We Find the Hungry Professional?

So, you already know that you’re taking this professional out for bite to eat or a drink to explore the possibilities in a relaxed environment. As I’ve said before, good for you; that’s best for what you’re about to do.

Listen actively: be observant; be attentive; be curious.

Ask questions. Don’t ask what she thinks of herself. Ask instead what her staff/friends/family would or do say about her. Does she:

  • Do more than is required in her job?
  • Have passion for the “mission” of her office, or practice, or team?
  • Feel personally responsible for the overall success of her team or group?
  • Find it difficult to leave her work at the end of the day?
  • Take on tedious or challenging tasks whenever necessary?
  • Look for opportunities to contribute outside of her area of responsibility?

We all have worked on teams, sharing a commitment to purpose and path, either at work, in school, or at home. So, find clarity by asking:

  • Are you more productive working on your own or as a part of the team?
  • What makes you a good team player?
  • What frustrates you about working on a team?
  • Have you ever been told you work too hard? Why? Or why not?
  • Tell me a few pros and cons of working on a team.
  • Tell me a story about yourself working with a team.

There’s no right or wrong answer to these inquiries, but you will find they improve the value and depth of your conversations! And her responses should guide you in discerning whether your friend is hungry enough to be an ideal team member.

And in identifying the next leader for our statewide collaborative practice.

I hope sharing my thoughts with you was insightful and productive. Look for my next blog on how to discern smart professionals who will work well with people to share the magic of collaborative divorce. And share your own ideas. Reach out to me at Joryn@OpenPalmLaw.com. The more we discuss our disappointments and our successes, the closer we come to making the collaborative approach the preferred practice in the State of Florida. And we are leading the way in these United States!

Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.

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