Definitely Mabey

Love the one you are with

I think we should change the names of folks in their 50s and 60s to Baby Doomers from Baby Boomers. My basis for this is the simple premise that we have drilled into our children's head that they can do anything they want if they just try.

Stephen Mabey Author

The negative results of this well-meaning mantra are two-fold:

  1. If they are not doing what they want they must be failures; and

  2. They can ignore economic reality in their quest to do whatever they desire.

As Ken Blanchard (co-author of One Minute Manager) articulated, “the fact is that in the real world there are conditions which prevent us from chasing the perfect, ideal job.” This includes things like financial and family obligations or simply being too busy being stressed out to maintain the energy required to find it and even if you find it, the courage to make the leap of faith required by most real changes in life.

It seems to me in discussions with law firm leaders and other consultants that the sense of entrapment and not entitlement is causing the most angst and anxiety across all strata of lawyers in law firms today. This sense of being trapped is one of the most difficult challenges firms face and, at the same time, one they misguidedly feel the least equipped to handle.

As careers evolve and dissolve, one simple theme seems to surface repeatedly—even if there is no choice about the work itself that you do, there is always a choice about the way you do your work! Seems so simple, but is incredibly hard to live up to in the onslaught of the stresses and emotions we all deal with on a regular basis.

More years ago then I choose to share, a couple of us were exposed to a book by Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen titled Fish! A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results. We became so caught up in the philosophy that videos were bought; presentations to staff and lawyers alike were made; copies of the book were forced on anyone who even appeared remotely interested, reminder cards of the four underlying points of the Fish philosophy were printed; etc. But sadly we all got caught up in our work and personal lives and it became another well-intentioned change lost along life's journey.

This past spring, my wife and I travelled to Seattle to see the grandkids and when my son-in-law (who is an incredible stay-at-home dad) suggested we go tour Pike's Place market I remembered this was the site of the famous fish market talked about in the book. So I was keen to go not just because of the bakeries and food stalls.

If you ever read the book and wonder if it is true or imaginary—it is true. I stood and watched guys having more fun working in a damp, smelly (not a fish lover obviously), breezy outdoor market than I could ever recall having in my climate controlled, scent-free, view of the harbour office earning well above the minimum wage. They were having fun throwing fish around (over patron's heads), convincing the shoppers to try throwing the fish, stopping and having their pictures taken, stopping and chatting with onlookers even if they were not going to be buying anything, and the whole time aware of where they were at and what they were doing.

The four basic tenets of the fish market are:

The rest of this article is available in Stephen Mabey's new Book

Book Cover - Leading and Managing a Sustainable Law Firm - Tactics & Strategies for a Rapidly Changing Profession by Stephen Mabey

Available for purchase on BookBaby.




Until next year, in the words of James Agate,

"My New Year’s Resolution is to tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time."

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First Published in Canadian Lawyer December 2012. Copyright © Applied Strategies Inc.

Legal Strategy Consultant