M(erger) – Minus 13 Days: Intuitive v. Intentional

imageThe Sports Dude and I are sitting on a plane right now headed to Chicago. I have had the privilege for the past six months of attending and participating in TheĀ SmithBucklin Leadership Institute, which is culminating this weekend, and we get to bring our +1.

If it wasn’t for the merger, and all the work that took place behind the scenes prior to the merger being announced, I would have written on my experience in the Institute more.

In short, I don’t think I could have provided the assistance to my partners without the lessons and skills I have learned. I have specifically employed new techniques, avoided some pitfalls, and smoothed over some ruffled feathers, all because of my new leadership skills.

As I finish up my final homework assignments, and prepare my final presentations, I am struck most by how prior to the Institute I did a lot of these things, and I knew a lot of these things, but it was instinctive, or by intuition. I had never been taught, or learned it. I picked it up along the way through good examples and incredible mentors, specifically Frank Moon and Steve Barrett; incredible friends and colleagues, like Catherine Alman MacDonagh; and, to be completely candid, some really shitty situations and interactions with some really crappy human beings.

What I am walking away with most from my experience these past six months is a heightened awareness of who I am as a leader, and what that means and looks like within the legal industry, my professional association, my job, with my team, my HOA, Girl Scouts, my family, and the list can go on and on.

If I could sum it all up: I have become more intentional, and less dependent on my intuition and instincts.

So what’s on tap for today? Continue reading

M(erger) – Minus 14 Days: Acceptance is the key

I am in complete acceptance that my waking life is one long continuum right now from the moment my alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. until the moment I crawl into bed at night.

Work. Kids. LMA. Family. Leadership Institute. HOA. Spiritual life. Girl Scouts. All of these things make up my waking hours, yet none of them can be compartmentalized. Right now, all of these areas are fully active, engaging, and demanding of my time. I have to make choices not only daily in regards to my priorities, but sometimes hourly, as to who and what gets my attention.

Some people speak of this “work/life” balance. I am one who does not believe it exists. Something has to give. Somewhere. It just does.

Some days it’s work. Some days it’s my spiritual program. Sadly, some days it’s family (but I try to do that in the least impacting, to them, way). But I am in acceptance that I cannot do it all. That is how I maintain my sanity.

Thank goodness for technology. I can take a call anywhere. I can upload a document to read, or log onto my computer from my iPad, from anywhere. I can work on a plane. At a Girl Scout meeting. The coolest thing ever has to be mobile check deposit. LIFE saver. And the DVR. Woo hoo. All my favorite shows will be there, waiting for me.

I know that the next couple weeks will involve a lot of craziness, and not enough sleep and yoga. But this too shall pass, and somewhere in December it will get really quiet as the attorneys are dealing with year-end, the holidays, and vacations. Seriously. Who wants to do business development in mid-December?

I am already looking forward to the kids being out of school, and Girl Scouts on hiatus. The HOA pipe crisis will be done next week (fingers crossed). And the Sports Dude, kids and I are planning a mini-vacation between Christmas and New Years to regroup as a family.

So, what’s on tap for today?

  • OMG. It’s budget season, too. Oh, this will be fun.
  • Pulling list of open matters for a certain client that is uber-big, and we all worked on that RFP series, so we can transfer the files appropriately to the new firm name.
  • Have I mentioned we’re working on the bios?

Tip: Eat right. Get enough sleep. Keep some good protein bars and snacks in your desk.

M(erger) – Minus 15 Days: #LMA (leave me alone)

keep-calm-only-15-days-leftIt’s Tuesday. Tuesdays for me mean one of two things: I get to enjoy my favorite weekday lunchtime yoga class and then go home after work and enjoy my evening, or Girl Scouts. Let’s just say, no peace or rest for this wicked marketer on this Tuesday.

So here we are. There are 15 days left until the merger takes effect. Right now my focus is on getting the attorney bios done and slotting them into the right service areas. Yes, we can fix this once we go live, but the sense of urgency is now, so I am taking advantage of it.

What is really starting to grate on my nerves are the vendor calls and emails. They just won’t stop, and are picking up speed. Coincidence? I think not. My friend Jaimie Field ranted about it today, A LINKED IN RANT or how not to get my business, and I have to agree with her. I would also say the same rant is directed at those e-mailing me, trying to sell me crap on Twitter, and my voice-mail. Seriously. Don’t leave me voice-mails.

They go like this, “Hey, heard about the merger. Wow. What an exciting time. Can I have five minutes of your time to try and sell you something that you most likely don’t need, but I think you do?”

No. You cannot have five minutes of my time. I don’t have five minutes for my mom — who I had to send to voicemail at 11:50 a.m. today and still haven’t found the time to listen to the message or call her back, and it’s after 9:00 p.m. as I type this — why would I drop everything to speak to a complete stranger who is trolling the Internet looking for prospects?

The only exception would be if 1) I know you, 2) you recognize that you are interrupting me, and, 3) you really know that what you are selling can in some way provide me/us/the firm true value. I’m not talking about BS pitch crap on value, but a compelling story about why, in my over-exhausted day, I should take the two to five minutes to read your email and respond.

Okay. Rant over.

Here’s what’s on tap for today:

  • Finish my homework.
  • LMA Technology Committee meeting. Draft my report for the October board meeting.
  • Find out when we’ll get the new letterhead.
  • Start preparing Marty’s October 1 letter.
  • Damn you Florida bar restrictions. The First Amendment will get you.
  • Attorney bios and service areas.

Off to the doctor with the older kid. I have told everyone in my house: no getting sick or breaking anything until 10/2. Obviously, no one listens to me. I feel like Rodney Dangerfield. I just don’t get any respect.

Tip: If you can’t truly make my life easier or better, leave me alone. Send a nice note. Send some chocolate. Send a masseuse. But otherwise, leave me alone right now.

M(erger) – Minus 16 Days

16Ack. Two weeks and two days to go. It’s busy, so you better have something important — to me – to say to interrupt my day.

On a side note, and to make the Sports Dude happy, I have to say, one nice thing about large office buildings is that I got my oil changed while I worked. Paid through the nose, but it is done.

Here we go:

  • Practice areas for the website. Need to create a spreadsheet for when loading the bios.
  • Another new project. How do we plan an event post-merger?
  • Need to review merger marketing plan.
  • Skipping yoga and lunch to work on my homework for my Leadership Institute class later this week. Almost done.
  • Staff meeting on the merger. Lots of questions answered. I thought it went great.
  • Need to confirm attorneys practice group assignments
  • Emails with lots of questions that need to be answered. How many emails do we send out? Where are our contacts? Those types of details.

Tip: Updating bios is tough. We all know that. This is your chance to make sure everyone reviews and updates their bios. However, get as much done prior to uploading into the new system. I don’t know what October 1 is going to look like, but I don’t want to stop my day to update service areas on attorney bios.

M(erger) – Minus 19: I have peeps!

It’s Friday. Yeah!! I love Fridays. But considering my work/personal life has become just one long continuum, not sure what Fridays get me, other then getting to wear jeans to work. And, yes, I did confirm that the new firm wears jeans on Fridays.

One of the reasons I started this blog, and became very involved in social media, is that I moved from an AmLaw 50 firm to a small boutique. I went from a marketing department of about 50 to a marketing department of 1.25. The trade off of losing a team was worth it. I’ve been working 9-5 most nights and able to be a full and active participant in my kids’ lives, be active in their Girl Scouts (yeah, I’ll be selling stuff soon), LMA leadership, and so much more.

But after a couple phone calls today, I have to say what I am most excited about in the move is that I will be part of a marketing and business development team again.

So what’s on tap today? I’m fighting a cold and I cannot afford to get sick, so I’m working from home.

  • Great chat with the content marketer. Nice to have peeps out there who get my passion for this.
  • Walked through how the diversity statistics are formed, and the programs within the firm.
  • We’re starting to integrate the bios. Need to figure out the procedure on how to update and make changes moving forward.

Tip: Ask questions about process and procedure. Don’t assume a thing, as that will create confusion, and, in worst case scenarios, ill feelings.

Tip: Get off the email and call.

M(erger) – minus 20 days: I’m reflecting

It’s 9/11 and I am reflecting.

Yes. I remember where I was, and what I was doing.

But where I was and what I was doing is not something I need to remember or share.

I choose to remember those who ran into the towers to give aid and comfort that day and never came out.

I choose to remember Father Mychal who died giving last rites.

I choose to remember those who chose to leap to their deaths even though they don’t like to show those pictures on TV.

I choose to remember those who fought and died in the war since, and the war to come against ISIS/L.

I choose not to forget those things and those people today.

So what’s on my plate today? Nothing compared to what those who have been personally touched by 9/11.

I will simply live today for today, and by the wisdom of Father Mychal:

Take me where You want me to go;
Let me meet who You want me to meet;
Tell me what You want me to say,
and keep me out of Your way.

Tip: It is too easy to lose ourselves in the tasks at hand, or the next email. No matter what is going on in your day, don’t forget to take the blinders off to see what others in your life and in your firm are going through. Find the time to be compassionate, and a member of the whole.

M(erger) – Minus 21 Days: My mind is racing

I feel like I am being hit from all directions: the merger integration; regular work that still needs to get done; Girl Scouts; HOA; my family. Kid #2’s cell phone just died … perfect timing with the new iPhones coming out this week. It’s like it knew ….

My head was just racing last night when I got home from work. I am not overwhelmed; I’m just on all the time. The yoga mat seems to be the only place where I can catch a break. It got so bad last night that I even caught up with the Kardashians to try and kill some brain cells. I ended up staying awake well past my bedtime, which allowed me to enjoy the Baker Hostetler skit on The Tonight Show live. I still think Jay’s Mofo attorney skit was better.

I think today I will shut my office door. Get done what I can get done. And go fill up spiritually after work.

So, what’s on tap today?

  • Got my homework assignment for the leadership class in by COB, Chicago time.
  • Sending attorney stats to Chicago. Time to start updating the numbers.
  • A splint and several hours later and we’re home. Time to log in via my iPad. I really need a new laptop.
  • Need to get up to SFO to meet the partners up there. Where to find the time?
  • Kid #1 just twisted her ankle at school. I can’t make this sh** up. Off to the ER we go.
  • Need to find out: do we pay this 2015 conference sponsorship invoice now, or wait until after the merger? What is the policy on approvals? Guess budget time is coming up ASAP.
  • Need to meet with Bob to review his ideas for the new collateral piece.
  • Got Marty’s edits back. We’re off to the races.

Thanks to everyone who asked about kid #1. Bad sprain, but it’s in her growth plate area, which is starting to fuse, so we need the pediatric orthopedic to check it out. Of course they are at a conference this week, and fully booked next week. But I’m sure I’ll persuade someone to see her ASAP. I just never take no for an answer when I know there has to be a work-around.

And perhaps that’s the tip for the day. Don’t take “no” or silence as an answer when you know there is a “yes” or a response that can be made.


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