choice Magazine

Vanguard Conversation Series: Competition ←→ Collaboration

October 12, 2023 Garry Schleifer
choice Magazine
Vanguard Conversation Series: Competition ←→ Collaboration
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Leaders at the vanguard of ideas and change inspire us to loosen our grip on the comfortable status quo in favor of exploring new possibilities that better align with the altering patterns of our personal and professional lives. As we shape a world where people love their life’s work, this live conversation series showcases global leaders who embody the curiosity and discernment that stimulates a new relationship with change.

Join CEO of inviteCHANGE, Janet M. Harvey, CEO, MA, MCC, ACS, and her co-host, Garry Schleifer, PCC, for everything choice for one or all parts of this 7-event program to build your roadmap for how to have a different kind of conversation with your peers, clients, and communities.

Read the article exploring this tension deeper: shorturl.at/eHQ08
Download the Tensions of Presence Reflection Activities and Register for the Series: invitechange.com/vanguard-conversation-series
See how Suzi worked with the handout: shorturl.at/DPV67
Access the audio, transcript, and chat:shorturl.at/hkHX5
Watch Videos about the Tensions of Presence: youtube.com/@inviteCHANGE-leaders/videos
Grab your free issue of choice Magazine here - https://choice-online.com/

Janet M. Harvey :

Well, welcome everybody to the 2023 Vanguard Conversation Series. I'm Janet M Harvey, CEO of Invite Change, and please join me in expressing a special thank you to our co-host and sponsored choice magazine founder and publishing editor, Garry Schleifer. Yay.

Garry Schleifer:

Thank you very much. Recent issue Healthcare Coaching. Read it even if you're not in the industry.

Janet M. Harvey :

It is a great issue. You did a fabulous job of curating the authors. I have read every single article, really, really enjoyed this one. It's fun to take a deep dive into a vertical industry that way. Maybe that's an idea for future issues, anyway, so what are we doing here at Vanguard? Each of the episodes this year we've brought a different inspirational, global, visionary leader to join us and exploring a thorny problem they faced and how they navigated it. Part of what we're doing and you see this in the instrument that we gave you and I think it will be posted here in chat shortly the Tensions of Presence method was something that I started to notice with leaders that the thorny or the problem, the deeper they needed to be in reflection and I know deeper is kind of a tough word. What the heck does that mean behaviorally? So part of what we're doing here is maybe looking underneath a bit to say what is this skill set of self reflection about what's actually occurring, not what we think or what we assume or what we prefer or maybe historically have accepted is occurring. We all like shortcuts in business, because time is money and sometimes that backfires that we need to pull back for a little perspective and dig a little deeper into some of the reasons and the root causes, that our biases shown up and we're not really understanding the whole story which goes to boy. Aren't we working in unprecedented times? We are absolutely feeling disrupted every time we turn around, and that's actually not a reason to go faster. It's a reason to go a little slower and to spend some quality time and the emotional courage necessary to say I don't have all the answers. I want to lean into the people who have been involved in this, who might see it from a slightly different perspective. And this is the beginning of collaboration which, yes, this is what we're talking about today competition and collaboration. But before we go there, I want to turn it over to Garry, who will also share a few thoughts and introduce our global visionary leader for today.

Garry Schleifer:

Janet, as we've mentioned, Vanguard is, means many things, but to us, being at the forefront of ideas that are emerging so we can proactively disrupt our thinking. Remember that proactively. I have a note up here and it says be provocative and bold, and I'm going to add provocative. One of the easy ways to think about how we don't act or think that way is a tradition of Thanksgiving, turkey and cranberry sauce. So those of you that know American traditions, that's one of them. So what's turkey without cranberry sauce? Well, our conversation focuses on our experience of life today. Rather than a theory, an outcome, a process or a promotion to provide, to buy anything. We invite you to transform your process of listening, to getting something, to giving yourself an opportunity to experiment and learn through practical application that is relevant to your life. My goodness, what can we say about Suzi? So thank you for tossing over to me because I was going to say Suzi Pomerantz, dear, dear friend, known for I don't know what did we say the other day At least 20 years, the co-creator of the Library of Professional Coaching, one of the very first master certified coaches in our profession. Oh, my gosh, I don't know. I just get chills thinking about her. She's a dear friend. We do everything that we can together. She's on the editorial board of choice Magazine. She's our strategic advisor. She is what else? Hold on, there's one more. She's the writer of our Sticky Situation. She's one of the people that weighs in on the Sticky Situations in every issue of choice. What else would you like us to add, Suzi?

Suzi Pomerantz:

That I'm just honored and excited to be invited to be here with you guys and get to play with you.

Garry Schleifer:

Oh, we are too. I can't tell you. When we had you, you were number one on our list of people and we're glad we could match you with this Tension of Presence, and you have a great story coming up and I can't wait.

Suzi Pomerantz:

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Yeah, this Tensions of Presence is really near and dear to my heart because we're looking at going from competition to collaboration. And I've had my coaching business for 30 years now and in the beginning I worked predominantly with lawyers, and lawyers in America are probably the most competitive, I mean, next to professional athletes, right, so they breathe competition. And the story I'm going to share with you is about the business driven necessity for lawyers at one of America's oldest corporations to actually become collaborative. And this happened back in the mid 90s. In the early 1990s, the chairman of the board of DuPont, the chemical company, challenged the company to cut a billion dollars billion with a B in operating costs. They wanted to cut a billion in operating costs. Hard to get our brains around that, those of us that are small businesses, but at the time I was coaching leaders in the law department there and the law department was committed to doing their part to contribute to this billion dollar challenge. And they realized when they started looking at the practice of law inside this corporation that they were going to have to change their thinking. Just to set a little context kind of the way that they were going to change their thinking and what they did in the past. DuPont had operated was kind of at a steady, predictable pace in a contained marketplace, and what they found in the early to mid 1990s is that they had to create some really profound transformational paradigm shifts because they had to deal with suddenly this fast paced connected global economy that was rapidly increasing their legal costs. So let me give you some numbers to make this a little more real. So at the time when they started evaluating and assessing how they were doing the practice of law and what would need to change and what change might look like, they had over 6,000 legal cases on their docket, so 6,000 lawsuits and they were spending in that that year that they looked at it, $97 million on lawsuits. And the cycle time of these lawsuits from filing to resolution was taking them about 40 months 39 to 40 months. That was a long cycle time and they had been working with, in addition to their internal law department, they had over 350 external law firms providing legal services to them. And what they realized when they looked at all of this was they really couldn't afford as a company to be working with and paying 300 law firms and something had to change if they were going to cut costs. So they did this analysis and they looked at the fact that 90% of their cases were settling. However, 80% of their litigation costs were spent in the discovery phase. So for those of you, like me, who are not lawyers, the discovery phases, all of the data sharing, all of the document sharing, all of the research, all of the you know, you give us everything you have, we'll give you everything we have, and we got to learn each other's stuff before we can go to court. So that's the discovery phase. So if they were spending 80% of their litigation costs, 80% of this $97 million was being spent in discovery. They started to analyze well, why? Right, that's, yes, that's the way we've all done it, but what are the underlying beliefs and principles and values that got us here? Was there something, Janet, you wanted to? No, exactly that's exactly.

Janet M. Harvey :

I mean, that's the part of it, right. Don't keep doing the same old thing.

Suzi Pomerantz:

Yeah, and they discovered a number of things actually, but one of the main discoveries in that was that, instead of being focused on the practice of law and trying to be super thorough in analyzing and researching all this discovery material and trying to avoid risk and trying to win each case as if it were a bet, the company kind of a case, they realized maybe we can be more strategic here and maybe we can step back and look at it from a more global perspective and maybe there's other ways to think about this that will help us to reduce the outside law spend, because we're not necessarily focusing on the whole in terms of the practice of law. For DuPont, we are focused on winning each case at all costs, and that's costing us time, money, etc. So how do we get from the competition to collaboration? So here's here's what they did. They created something called the DuPont legal model, and I mean, if you Google it today, there's still tons of stuff about it because it was completely transformational in the field of law at the time. This DuPont legal model basically turned turned the practice of law on its head and, instead of it being just a corporate law department that works with over 300 external law firms. They started to say, okay, what if we create something in the spirit of partnership? What would that look like? What if we reduced our number of outside law firms but did it with specific criteria and made it like a competition where the outside law firms had to get aligned with us in our thinking and in our values and they had to put their money where their mouth is in order to play with us and get to be our law firms. And would that work? Would they be willing to do that? So this convergence they called it convergence this convergence process took about a year and what they ended up doing was coming together with like 34 different primary law firms. They called them primary law firms and what was really fun as a coach in this was to get to see that the primary law firms you know they had. For each one, they had like an engagement partner for each of these 34 primary law firms that were selected and they all had to be aligned around certain core principles, like they wanted. DuPont said we want these primary law firms to value diversity more. We want we want to increase the hiring of diverse legal staff to represent our cases. We want to retain and have more contributions from women and underrepresented groups, and that's going to be important to us. So if you're just giving us the same old white men on every case, we're not going to be counting you as one of our primary law firms, and this created a scramble in the law firm's side of how the law firms realized hey, we haven't been hiring for this, we've been hiring people who remind us of our most successful partners. So we've got a lot of old white dudes and maybe some white women who kind of remind us of our sisters and mothers, right? So this was a big on the law firm side, which, as a coach, you get to hear these kinds of things which was really kind of the fun part for me was was being being able to witness all of this transformation unfolding as they thought through it. So there were. These were the elements. They had to have diverse staffing. They had to embrace technology. The law firms that served with DuPont had to embrace technology because they were going to create a wide area network that everybody was linked on. That DuPont and the law firms that were in this primary law firm group were all linked together through technology, using the same technology. So the law firms were going to have to spend money to do that, which was unheard of at the time. You know this was not a marketing budget. This is not taking your client to a ballgame to get the business. This is now. You have to transform how you practice law to work with this client. Strategic partnering was based on mutual trust. It was based on sharing the risk and reward, collaborating in service of the client. This was a stated objective. Right, you competitive lawyers will collaborate on our behalf. Really bold for a corporation to say that kind of thing and have to. This was the piece that was really interesting to me. Everyone who came into this DuPont legal model had to commit to each other's financial success. That means not just the law firms committing to DuPont's financial success, not just DuPont committing to the law firms financial success, but these competitor law firms committing to each other's financial success. Very interesting belief or philosophy that had to be implemented to be part of this convergence. The other piece was early case assessment. So really doing this kind of analysis of the case like how thorough do we really need to be? Looking at alternative fees, doing value-based billing as opposed to just the hourly billing that they always do, doing some strategic budgeting, but really shifting from being like an order taker legal provider to a business focused, business driven case management partner with the client and with these other law firms. So let me pause there and see if there's questions on kind of what that premise was, because there's a lot of moving parts in there.

Janet M. Harvey :

Well and really a dramatic transformation in how they thought about the business. Definitely competition and collaboration. And I'm curious, you know, as a coach, who have an insider's view, what were some of the beliefs that were coming up Preferences perhaps, maybe some biases that were prevalent in the senior partners who had to sign off on changing these criteria and be able to, you know, stand confidently to say you will make this investment and it will be good for you. You're like it.

Garry Schleifer:

Resistance.

Janet M. Harvey :

What did they have to change in themselves in order to even pitch this to the partners at the outside law firm?

Suzi Pomerantz:

Yeah, I mean the belief that every case is worth taking to. You know, all the way through trying to get to settlement but going in lawsuit to get to settlement the fact they had to. They had beliefs about the lawyers wouldn't want to collaborate because of their competitive nature, so they had to let go of that. They had beliefs that these outside law firms wouldn't want to spend money on technology. They were, there were. One of the habits was clearly the, y ou know, everybody looked the same. There was not much diversity representing these cases. So it was really. It was the kind of thing where it was bold in that it created a lot of grumbling on the part of these 300 law firms that had something to lose and not, you know, if they weren't willing to transform their entire law firm to work in this way with this one client. But there was also the ones that did come on board. We're able to shift to a belief that if this works for this client, this might give us an edge with other clients.

Janet M. Harvey :

Wow, so it becomes an innovation by collaborating and not competing, exactly.

Suzi Pomerantz:

Exactly, there was a quote in, so there was a book that got produced here. I don't know if you guys can see this. Oh, that's legal model and new year. This was produced in the.

Garry Schleifer:

It is in front of you. There you go, right there.

Suzi Pomerantz:

So it was. It was produced in 1999. So we started the legal model. 1992 is when the chairman said cut a billion, and that's when this kind of process began. And then this whole book was put together with all of the aspects of the legal model, and one of the quotes in here is that competition and organizational changes go together. Firms who are unable to implement major organizational changes will slip behind the competition and suffer. Embracing change will be a critical factor for success.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah. So back to what, what Janet was saying the leaders fear of change, Not just resistance, but it's like, yeah, well, don't we all hear stories of fear, fears of change.

Janet M. Harvey :

Yeah, you know this was a very interesting discussion I was having yesterday with a mastermind group about what is it that gets into the psyche of leaders that has them stay so attached to the status quo. If the chairman hadn't said you need to cut a billion dollars, or else If the leaders had DuPont couldn't see. You know what we've got some habits like hiring people that look like us, a bunch of white guys that don't look like our customers, and few more things that you mentioned here. If they hadn't paused to notice, they wouldn't have come up with a new strategy and they would have been the ones that would have been behind the curve, right?

Suzi Pomerantz:

That's exactly right. That is exactly right.

Garry Schleifer:

And I'd love to know who that was, because there's the statement drop a billion dollars. So he knew that would. Probably wasn't him, most likely him. Who was it that took that pause to say what if we transformed the whole business model?

Suzi Pomerantz:

I'll tell you who it was. It was not even that. It wasn't even the head of the law department. It was his second in command. So the head of the law department was supportive of this, of course, but the ideas came from a guy named Tom Sager who was the vice president at the time, and Tom brought in a really a really transformational, consulting, forward thinking guy named Dan Luzak who is no longer living, unfortunately, and Dan Luzak is the really the mastermind behind seeing all of these things. And, as a coach, I came in as part of Dan's team and ended up coaching Tom directly for about 12 years. So it was it really was quite fun to have a front row seat to all of this as Tom's coach, to see his sort of growing awareness throughout this process. Is it? First when Dan started talking about these things with the folks at DuPont, there was quite a bit of resistance, as you can imagine, but Tom was really the first guy who got his brain around. It was able to run with it, was able to spearhead, it was able to connect the dots and get the resources lined up inside DuPont to really make some of this happen, and there were Tom's team. Tom had a huge team of people that went and talked to you know, have the conversations with all of these law firms and brought in the partners and so you said something really interesting there that Dan was able to connect the dots.

Janet M. Harvey :

And I think this is coaches are in this position all the time, where the need for the change gets revealed, right. That gets evoked in the awareness, but it's like, oh my God, now what do we do, right? So how did Dan make it into a connect the dots? To me, is is a little bit like cause and effect, right? So this is what's happening. It's causing this consequence. We want to do something different. That means we need to be different. What dots was he connecting for them that they could stomach collaboration?

Suzi Pomerantz:

So lawyers and business leaders always think bottom line. So Dan was able to point to how these transformational changes were not just nice to have us but directly connected to the bottom line right. So it was hard originally for them to see. Well, if I'm bringing on women and people of color who are going to be younger and less experienced, was the belief right? How are they going to serve our cases? And, by the way, don't we want to reduce our cases? So are we setting up these young women and minorities to fail right, like it was all these layers of what ifs? And Dan was able to cut through that. He was really quite brilliant and he was able to cut through that in a way that connected the dots directly for them in their language about the business results. And let me just jump to the results that got.

Garry Schleifer:

I'm waiting.

Suzi Pomerantz:

he 6000 cases on the docket got cut to 1700 cases. So that's big, the $97 million that it was costing them to do this In the. In the first three years they saved $13 million dollars and continued after that to save between $8 and $12 million per year and at the 15-year mark of the program had saved, they co uld point directly to bottom line savings of $175 million by doing this. DuPont legal model stuff. The cycle time, if you recall, it was like 39 to 40 months. That got reduced down to 22 months of cycle time and the 350 law firms became these 34 primary law firms and some service providers in there as well, and it really became. We had annual and mid-year meetings with all of the primary law firms and service providers and the key people at DuPont legal and as a coach, it was so much fun to see this collaboration form. There was so much bonding that this group really was committed to all these same goals, aligned on all these values in it for the same purposes. It really was an experience of the rising tide raises all ships and everybody was in it together. So it really was such a great feeling of team and then there were some really creative spin-offs that happened as a result. Like there was a minority corporate council at work that was created because all of these people who were coming into this world somewhat for the first time, right in this corporate law world, they got to create their own connections in a network. And then there was a DuPont women lawyers network that got created so that the women could kind of create a parallel universe. And what the fun part about that was, the women did things around marketing and business development in collaboration with their competitors that were so transformational in the field of law that they then got noticed by the bigger DuPont network who said hey, teach us how to do that. You know what is it you figured out over here that looks like a like collaboration on steroids. What is that? So, yeah, really fun to be part of that experience.

Janet M. Harvey :

So that you know. You're really highlighting the tension. Competition doesn't go away, collaboration doesn't replace it. They work in unison, in a different ratio in different contexts, but when we let them both coexist and we can start to think more creatively. I mean, to me this is a lesson in change. That collaborative came up with consistency around goal, values and purpose, and then it opened up the gates and said what do we do? Just brilliant.

Garry Schleifer:

And you know, and I want to say, hearing your story, I had the feeling that Tom and Dan whatever there was that pause that Jana talks about, there was a moment where somebody took a breath and something else entered into their mind, another possibility, Like it's tangible in your story.

Suzi Pomerantz:

That actually happened every time Dan stood up in front of the room and talked. He created pause just in his speaking. He was one of these wow that he would stand up and say something and you could just see like you could physically see minds change. Right, you could see people listening.

Janet M. Harvey :

What did that guy just tell me? Yeah, yeah, it was amazing. So I'd like to give the audience an opportunity to go around, go away and play a little bit and then come back and ask Suzi some clarifying questions and share some comments, if you like, and keep this simple with each other. Maybe you both get to go. You'll have about 10 minutes together. Please say your name, and a way that's really easy to connect is what's a top personal or professional value for yourself. So take a moment to please do that, and then you might think about a thorny problem that you're facing right now and work your way through at least the first of the three steps and then look at the second one and see if, by saying it out loud and having it be witnessed, you realize, oh my God, we have such a preference to doing blah, blah, blah. Right, that's the status quo side of things. Or maybe you recognize that some of the players have a certain bias. So if you can start to get your reflection muscle strengthened a bit when you're working together, just conversationally, and that will put you into pairs and so I know that my colleague Aaron is doing some magic in the background there, you'll get a join button here in just a second and we'll close it at 10 minutes, which means you still have 60 seconds, don't forget, and we'll see you on the other side. Have some fun, enjoy.

Lizanne:

There's going to be one, I think one group of three.

Janet M. Harvey :

Great. Thank you, aaron yeah here we go. Thank you Well, welcome back everyone. While you were working, Garry and Suzi and I continued our conversation a little bit and there are a couple of nuggets that Suzi would like to share. And then floor is open to comment about your experience in the breakout room or ask Suzi a question to amplify something in the story. If you would please go ahead and raise your hand, because it'll help us cue to make sure that we anybody that wants to you're certainly welcome to make a comment, and if you're shy and not feeling like you want to use your voice, feel free to put it into that. All right over to you, Suzi.

Suzi Pomerantz:

Janet, I've already forgotten what was that.

Janet M. Harvey :

I was thinking about. You said to me this was my first corporate assignment. As a comment.

Suzi Pomerantz:

Oh right, right, so it was. I was a very young coach. I was 24 years old when all of this was happening. It was my very first corporation and my very first corporate law department. And what ended up happening as a result of this work in my coaching business was that for the first, then 10 years of my coaching business, the majority of my clients were all lawyers, and I am not a lawyer. So Janet was saying you know, as far as niche for those of you who are coaches who are worried about you know, choosing your niche, I did not choose that niche. I would not have chosen that niche, or need the French way to say it, but it chose me and ended up being really quite a lot of fun because they were so brilliant and you know, once I learned kind of how they think and once I learned to be prepared to be in the deposition phase at the beginning of every relationship, and then it ended up being great fun to work with them. But now I work predominantly with CEOs and scientists, oddly enough. But I don't think I have any.

Janet M. Harvey :

I have one lawyer now, one lawyer still, and there's some Suzi that actually Garry was hinting at in the bio, but this was the other part of the story is telling the truth. She walked into Tom's office and he put his glasses down his nose and she said I bet I know what you're thinking. And then what did you say?

Suzi Pomerantz:

Yeah, he was looking at me over his bifocals and when I said I bet I know what you're thinking, he kind of sat back in his chair and crossed his arms and and said oh really, what am I thinking? And I said you're thinking who the hell is this little girl and what is she doing in my office? And he busted out laughing because that's exactly what he was thinking. And that was the beginning of a relationship where I ended up working with him as a coach for the next 12 years Bulls courageous speak.

Janet M. Harvey :

The truth is so always going to win the day. So, thanks for modeling that, Suzi. All right, so questions? I don't see any hands raised. I see a note here from Sarah. Thank you for sharing your about your NGO experience. Oh, that was to add Sarah from Renata Wonderful, oh, you guys are so nice with each other. I appreciate that very much. No questions or comments. Go ahead, Listen. Lisa has her hand up.

Lizanne:

Thank you, I can't find my digital hands, seeing if this works. Hello, I had a fascinating conversation in our breakout room and I'm not sure if we were talking about what we were meant to, but my question that was. I have a question that's pulling at my attention from the situation you described and it had to do with how Dan was able to connect the dots and was able to speak to leadership from the bottom line, and I was wondering about the ethics of having a mandate to hire minorities and what we know about how minorities are not treated equally with pay and the goal was to reduce pay. Just how that? Like was that the language he was speaking to leadership to get the message through? And then I'm just calling myself out of my own bias. Like is, that is not a terrible thing to say about people, but how do I balance this goal to reduce costs and mandate to hire minorities when we know what we know about how unequitable it is?

Suzi Pomerantz:

That's a great question. That actually was not part of the conversation at that time, not explicitly. That I heard, and what it was more the bias of. There was a belief amongst the old school guys that they wouldn't be able to find talent with the same qualifications as who they were used to hiring. That was the bigger concern, which got proven wrong again and again and again. So, of course, as we know right. So if typically, just like in any field, at least my observation or my bias at this point is that if you're a person of color, you've had to work twice or three times as hard to get half as far as every you know, as these other people that are blocking your way, and typically what we find is exceptional talent when bringing in underrepresented minorities. So the cost, that wasn't one of the connecting of the dots, to directly answer your question, Lizanne. It was like it's like you know how do you get from it's the right thing to do versus how does that translate into business? Because the whole shift was about becoming more business focused.

Janet M. Harvey :

It does seem to me, maybe Suzi I'm reading too much into it that the fact that they were able to hire diversity and those people who came in in those 34 final law firms were committed to collaboration, they actually increased revenue. It did Just about saving the billion, it was about actually up leveling the entire experience of DuPont and I think that's a connect the dots.

Suzi Pomerantz:

That's super important and upleveled the law firms as well, because they realized that that was a blind spot that they hadn't been aware of. And just I should specify this was not an exercise in getting rid of the white guys, right, like there were still plenty of old white guys around. It was just bringing in more diversity. Beautiful yeah.

Garry Schleifer:

Beautiful. On behalf of the old white guys. Thank you, Go ahead, Bruce.

Bruce:

Thank you, hi Janet, hi Sarah. I was with Garita and we were able to pace ourselves and get through the entire thing. Garita asked me a question at the end. We ran out of time. So how do you feel and I thought that was an interesting question, and where that takes me is to this whole balance between curiosity and judgment, because I can see how in some situations and I was referencing an organization that I worked with, not myself it could create defensiveness, and yet there's something that's structured, it's kind of like the appreciative inquiry, you know the questions, that kind of save questions, the reflective questions, and I'm just curious, how do you deal with that balance of helping the client stay on the side of curiosity rather than judgment?

Janet M. Harvey :

And how do you do it, Bruce?

Bruce:

Oh God, she's my previous teacher, no wonder.

Garry Schleifer:

She's everybody's teacher Bruce.

Bruce:

Yeah, okay, I can make something up, right.

Janet M. Harvey :

Well, it would be better to drop it to your own experience, right? What do you do when you're faced with someone who's being judgmental?

Bruce:

I think that it helps if the client is coming to coaching experience and pain, that there's something there that they were unable to resolve themselves and to be able to frame it as well. You know, it sounds like you tried this, this and this. What if we tried that? Or you tried that, why don't we try this? It's just an experiment. That would be one way we approach it.

Janet M. Harvey :

Yeah, possibly a reframe.

Garry Schleifer:

I hear also the opportunity for reflection, mirroring back.

Janet M. Harvey :

And they've come right. I think that's the thing to remember. Clients come, they come with something that's a dilemma. They're unable, without the benefit of the dialogue between us that's open and available for anything, to emerge. Like you came here, what are you available? To set on the bench for a moment and, in the pause moment, see what emerges and give them back their autonomy?

Suzi Pomerantz:

Yeah, building on that, Janet, the reflective inquiry piece I find just feeding their words back to them, either in a synopsis form or just as a reflection allows them to keep going with that train of thought and hear themselves say the answer they came to you for. Often I don't say much of anything in a coaching conversation and they get there themselves.

Garry Schleifer:

Silence is active, that's usually what happens the best coaching sessions ever is when I hardly say a thing. At the end they go oh my gosh, you have such wonderful questions. I'm like just listen to you go through your process.

Janet M. Harvey :

And Miss Grace. You've patiently been waiting for these jump in.

Speaker 6:

Thank you, thank you, Janet, and thank you Suzi, that this case was a particularly interesting because this living up to aligning with the value of our diversity rewarded with a financial reward at the end. My question is based on your relationship, long relationship, with Tom. What if this plan didn't yield this immediate financial reward? Next year, the next, what do you think how this case will, what will happen?

Suzi Pomerantz:

Well, the thing about lawyers is that, in addition to being extremely competitive and bright, they are what I like to think of as the a plus students, right. So if they're given a challenge or a task, they want to get an a grade in doing it. So if the task was we are going to do these elements of the DuPont legal model and we are going to have that result in not only cost savings for our clients but increases in revenue for our partnering law firms, and they were all in and creating that result, it couldn't fail. So they didn't even consider the what if it fails? Because their lawyers they like to win, and the win in this case was not settling a lawsuit, it was achieving all of these objectives of the legal model.

Janet M. Harvey :

Suzi you're reminding me of. Most people are either afraid of success, afraid of failure or afraid of mediocrity. And this is where can competition and collaboration. If you hold it as an either or I'm either competitive or I'm collaborative, that's where we're standing. Fair success or failure or fear of mediocrity. And if we can hold both right, let my competitive spirit keeps seeking another answer. Even when we hit a dead end, it's like oh, that was dead end, let's back up three steps and turn left. That begins that process of collaboration. Trusting in both is really where the answer lies.

Suzi Pomerantz:

So it ended up not being all rainbows and fireworks in terms of equality in diverse representation. So hence the creation that I mentioned before of these separate networks, the minority network as well as the women's network, because they said, okay, we get the point and we see that you are trying to bring in more of us into your cases and we can be more collaborative with each other in service of that and feed recommendations if we have our own network going on over here. So you know, it's not that it it didn't fail, it's just it didn't take off as quickly as people had hoped around, specifically around the the diverse representation. But then these other networks helped advance that ball and did some great collaborating along the way.

Janet M. Harvey :

I love Mona's comment here. If you all didn't see brothers, that is a remarkable film and it is with absolutely. There's a question from Sarah for you. Suzi, what was the impact on the average billables for those firms that were retained in the smaller group?

Suzi Pomerantz:

I don't know, I don't know, I don't know that that was reported. Let me see. I have kind of a summary of results here, but it's all from the DuPont side. I mean, obviously, the primary law firms, the 34 law firms, stayed for the most part. There were some that dropped out and other new ones that came in and ultimately, I guess about a few years later, it was a group of 40 primary law firms. So it grew a little bit, but but the ones that stayed obviously were achieving advances in their own revenues, or they wouldn't. They were saying right and you can imagine, just in serving DuPont right, if you've got 300 law firms who have a piece of the pie of 6000 cases, that now gets whittled down to 1700 cases, that only 34 law firms have a piece of the pie. They're getting a bigger piece of the pie even though the docket has become smaller.

Garry Schleifer:

Yeah, that's, that's what. I was thinking that's.

Janet M. Harvey :

And Fred's comment I think is also something you were hinting to, Suzi this notion of the systemic context that Dan and Tom were able to speak to, both internally at DuPont and externally with the partners, that being able to set the picture big enough. You know, we think about this in one on one coaching for sure, like if we can hold the bigger dream, then the client can dream yet, they'll step into it. And and I think that's the difference between the single threaded problem that's brought and helping clients look systemically you live inside of a system and that system lives inside of a system. What are all the influences? Even that simple question opens up the imagination.

Suzi Pomerantz:

And even expanding, just the continually expanding dive into what's possible now, right, so we've achieved this. Now what's possible? Right, it's, and that's that ever expanding systemic view.

Janet M. Harvey :

Exactly, exactly. Well, we have Suzi's write up for you Aaron will put that into the chat for you and also some contact information for Suzi. Suzi, what would you like to leave them with? As with We are approaching the top of the hour here. Would you like to say to complete the story?

Suzi Pomerantz:

J ust because of this experience that I was honored to participate in, I really do hold the tensions of collaboration and competition as one in the same, their two sides of the same coin, and I have that this as a lived experience of it. Right, it's, it's one thing to have, that is a theoretical underpinning, but to see it in action in a corporation that's over 200 years old and really stayed in its ways of being, was really revolutionary. So just that they do these there doesn't need to be attention, because they coexist and their two sides of the same point.

Janet M. Harvey :

Exactly and and ultimately I think it for me, a definition of hope I heard recently is confident expectation. I think that the when we can hear a story, Suzi like what you've brought it reminds us that even when we're in the mess of something is not quite working out. Pay attention, because somewhere in that tension is the gold mine and gold thread of answers and it's staying with it and remembering it is possible.

Suzi Pomerantz:

Right, yeah, and I'll leave you with my lot, my favorite Dan Luzak quote. So Dan was the visionary. I actually have this hanging on my bulletin board because I love it so much. He said life sure does throw us curveballs, or maybe life is curveballs. We keep expecting to be straight.

Garry Schleifer:

Good one.

Janet M. Harvey :

I think that's great. And now a dance. Last name is spelled L

Suzi Pomerantz:

L-U-Z -A-K Luzak, there we go there you go, folks, it's in chat.

Janet M. Harvey :

If you want to copy and paste it, that is excellent, all right, everybody, we have one more in the series this year. It will be on November 7. We hope you will come back. It will be looking at control and agility.

Suzi Pomerantz:

Thank you.

Garry Schleifer:

Thanks for being here Suzi, thanks everyone for coming. Have a great weekend. Like I said, if you're Canadian, enjoy Thanksgiving. If you're not just give thanks somewhere and think of your favorite Canadian maybe it's me.

Janet M. Harvey :

Bye everybody.

Bruce:

Thank you.

Janet M. Harvey :

Thank you.

Competition to Collaboration
Transformation in Legal Industry Collaboration
Coaching Experiences and Ethical Dilemmas
Diversity Leading to Business Success