Ben Franklin, before he was this freakin’ magic scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur, was something else. He was an apprentice. He learned the printing business by being mentored rather well for a lot of years working under someone who had mastered their craft. This used to be the norm around here…
Yesterday, during practice 48, the lawyer had an epiphany. He decided to do some investigative work with his own practice so to speak. He’s going to go around interviewing some of the young lad’s and laddies and decide if they are being well mentored or even have one, for goodness sakes. He works in a system that touts mentoring with their mouth, but tolerates a lack of discipline by both mentor and mentees by their inaction. The lawyer does not work in an unhealthy system, however. He works in a healthy system that can get a whole lot healthier by making baby steps in a disciplined fashion. This is true for you and your system, friend.
Remember, we do not learn to do hard things well by waiting around until we’ve learned enough to attempt them. We do hard things well by doing hard things not so well, and learning with every attempt. We do hard things well by baby stepping into them. Normal people wait until it’s way too late. Normal people think they need one more piece of data before they decide. Do not be normal. Yesterday, the lawyer had a moment. It will be a MOT (moment of truth) if he acted on it. Most MOT come and go without action. We call these wasted insights, wasted opportunities, and sins of omission. The older we get the more we regret what we didn’t do.
Today, during another freakin’ magic practice with worldwide Bob, my young apprentice (Taylor) answered Bob’s question with cool, calm, clarity. Bob wants to know how to teach others (think mentor) so they avoid making mistakes that come from immaturity. Tay’s answer was that this is very difficult. Most humans learn from experience, especially the experience that doesn’t go so well. He shared that he’s learned the most, not from what I’ve told him about working out and working on himself, but from what I’ve showed him. Tay told Bob to model the way. I almost wept openly. As we talked on the way to our next practice, Tay and I went deeper on how difficult those three words really are.
Model the way.
Nobody will ever model the way perfectly. There will always be moments we wish for a redo. The best among us understands this and keeps working to close down one integrity gap after another. We learn to laugh at our follies and failed attempts and keep working. We continue to model the way as best we can. Whatever we want others to catch, we realize that we must master ourselves. So, lawyer, as you evaluate your system, remember to push your producers to be hard on self but not down on self. Push your fellow producers to model the way. And, don’t be afraid to push your mentees just as hard. Make them do what they can. Stop coddling them. I mean come on man, do you think we can ever shortcut doing hard things well with some, cheap, easy, hack? Nope. There are no shortcuts to mastery, friend. The way to master doing hard things well is to begin by doing hard things not so well. And, learning from each iteration.
When your teammate looks at you, leader, what do they see? Someone modeling the way or someone telling them the way? Model the way. Good…