The Secret Ingredient
The Secret Ingredient
In my last couple of posts, I’ve talked about two different insights I’ve had about how interacting with the legal system causes tension for people who look to establish high trust win-win relationships to support their business. This approach to relationships with a business’ stakeholders is a core principle for conscious business practices, so it certainly is a part of conscious business law. But regardless of whether you call yourself a “conscious” business person, if you think win-win relationships are important in your business then these insights apply to you.
First, we looked at the way the law handles putting business relationships together, by contract. We learned that the protection you get from a standard legal contract paper-based and that if you value your relationships, you should focus on People over Paper. One process we learned to help bring that focus, was Conscious Contracts which help people establish a solid principled foundation for their business relationships.
Then we looked at how the law handles business relationships in conflict, through the hammer of adversarial litigation. We learned that this approach is designed to look backward at past conduct and determine whether someone is to blame for harm caused to another, and, if so, to decide on a consequence. Regardless of who is to blame though, this backward-looking approach is not geared towards generating solutions and is very hard on relationships. Since people who value a relational approach to business are generally more interested in finding solutions than casting blame, they need a better process, like collaborative law, to guide them through their conflicts.
Looking back, I realize that once I discovered these processes, I thought I understood conscious business law. After all, I had a process for building relationships, and I had a process for guiding them through conflict. That should be all I need, right?
But there was still something that was missing. My understanding of conscious business law was still incomplete. One day, that missing puzzle piece made an appearance. I was at a conference of conscious business leaders, and I was sitting by a fire pit talking with a friend about how I was having trouble figuring out the missing ingredient. This friend is really good at asking questions and drawing out things you don’t know (or won’t admit) are there. In this conversation, he kept drilling down to get to what this was truly about and finally I just blurted out, “It’s about bringing love into the law.”
Holy crap, what had just come out of my mouth?! I instantly knew that I had hit on a core truth and I started to think it through. Several years before, I had realized that collaborative processes like mediation would not work at their best if the people using the collaborative process approached the work with adversarial thinking. What I mean by that is if you use a collaborative process but your thinking is still along the lines of dominating the other person and getting as much win for you as you can without concern for whether the other person gets their win, then your “collaborative” process will work like an adversarial process. You won’t get the benefits of creative problem solving and you will be risking harm to your relationship instead of supporting it. Quite simply, the mindset that people bring to their work together controls how the work unfolds much more than the actual rules for doing the work.
Once I understood that mindset really drove process outcomes, I knew that adversarial thinking was something to avoid in working with conscious business relationships. But what I had never done until that evening sitting by the fire pit, was put words into defining the mindset that would serve those relationships. I had left it in my head as the need to be non-adversarial, but to really understand where to go, I needed to understand what the mindset was, not what it wasn’t. Now, I had put a word towards that definition, love.
At first, it seemed crazy to connect the ideas of love and law. Quickly though, I realized that it only seemed crazy through the lens of almost three decades working in the adversarially dominated system. When I thought about things in terms of how my work could be in support of business relationships though, love made perfect sense. My vision was legal work that would support high trust relationships where everyone was invested in each other’s success and where everyone grew and benefited from the relationship. I thought about the personal relationships in my life that fit that description of relationships and there was a definite common thread through all of them. They were all people that I felt love for. That’s what had come to me that night at the fire pit, the realization that the missing ingredient, the key to building and protecting these critical relationships in business was love.
There was something else through that still didn’t seem complete. Once I got past the initial rush of realizing that love needed to come into the law, I got confused about how that would work. After all, when I think of love, what first comes to mind is romantic love, mushy love, kissing and hugging love. I was frustrated because I was soooo close to a deeper understanding of this idea, I needed another level of insight. Fortunately for me, after that conversation at the fire pit, there was slam poetry on the evening’s agenda.
We headed in from the fire pit to watch a performance from National Poetry Slam Champion, In-Q. He began with a poem called The Only Reason We’re Alive. The poem tells the story of a man who falls in love at the age of 85, and at first, the story is very romantic and sweet. Eventually, the path for the couple in the poem takes a much tougher turn. You see, our hero’s partner gets sick. And that’s when In-Q describes what he calls “real love, dude.” He calls it, “push comes to shove love, not when it’s convenient love, hospital bed love, … pull the plug love.”
Later on, when recalling that poem, the importance of love in our legal and business relationships finally clicked fully into place for me. You see, when you really love someone, you derive strength and power from that love. It’s the kind of strength that pulls you through situations where you don’t really want to be there and you don’t know if you’ve got what it takes to work things out. It’s the strength that can pull you through conflict and leave you stronger on the other side. That’s the power of love that needs to be added to allow business and legal relationships to truly flourish. If you would like to learn more about how the power of love can serve your business relationships, then fill out the contact form below and ask to schedule a 30 minute discovery call.
The Conscious Business Lawyer
Glenn Meier, Esq.
Conscious Business Lawyer
"I'm at my best," Glenn notes, "when I’m helping my clients make their business relationships work better. Sometimes that means helping them build the relationship from scratch and sometimes it means helping them restore a damaged relationship. Regardless of the entry point, I work with people to strengthen those relationships and design legal agreements that support them."
Mr. Meier is a shareholder with the Las Vegas Law firm of Holley, Driggs, Walch Fine, Puzey, & Thompson. All engagements for services discussed on this site are contracted through the Holley Driggs firm.
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