Eight Core Qualities of General Counsel and How to Achieve Them is my most-read article on this blog, receiving many hits per day and more than 2,500 views since it was published in the late summer of 2016. (Click here to access the article.)

As a coach, I often receive requests from General Counsel, Assistant General Counsel and other in-house attorneys – as well as law firm partners and others who wish to obtain those roles – to coach them on building their capacity and visibility as a business partner within an organization.  Both of these aspects are important – exercising the right proactivity, judgment and skills and being recognized and rewarded by the Board and senior management for such contributions. This involves not only building relationships and moving outside of what is commonly called one’s comfort zone – a lawyer with excellent substantive legal skills – but also learning how to position oneself as a strategic member of the leadership team.

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To succeed as General Counsel, you need not only to build relationships and move outside of what may be your comfort zone – a lawyer with excellent substantive legal skills – but also position yourself as a strategic member of the leadership team.

I intend further explore the expanded General Counsel role in the coming months, so please subscribe to my blog or sign up for my mailing list if this is a topic that moves you. In the meantime, I have started to compile a list of articles around the web from recent years that have addressed the evolving General Counsel role, which I am posting below to help you explore and master the expanded General Counsel relationship.

If you hold a CEO, CIO, CFO, COO, CTO, General Counsel, law firm or other role and would like to post another resource in the comments or join the conversation, I appreciate your input.

I may update this list from time to time. Thanks in advance!

Attorneys – General Counsel and In-House
Vision, Judgment, Capacity Building and Leadership

Eight Core Qualities of Successful General Counsel and How to Achieve Them,” Segal Coaching Blog, Anne Marie Segal.

So You Want to Be General Counsel? How to Maximize Your Chances,” ACC Docket, David M. Love III, Mark Roellig.

Do Lawyers Make Better CEO’s than MBAs?,” Harvard Business Review, by M. Todd Henderson

The General Counsel as Senior Leader: More than “Just a Lawyer,” Korn Ferry Institute, John Amer.

What GCs and CCOs Can Learn from Each Other,” Thomson Reuters, Thomas Kim.

An Open Letter to GCs and Law Firms,” ACC Docket, Daniel Desjardins.

General Counsel: Guardian and Conscience of the Company,” Forbes, Mark A. Cohen.

The Rise of the General Counsel,” Harvard Business Review, Ben W. Heineman, Jr.

General Counsel’s New Role: Business Strategist,” Forbes, Brian Jones.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, writer, resume strategist and former practicing attorney (including as a law firm partner and Deputy General Counsel of a private equity and hedge fund). The majority of her clients are senior attorneys, and she has coached hundreds of professionals across law, finance, engineering, technology, marketing, non-profits, government and other fields.

Anne Marie is also author of Master the Interview and the newly published Know Yourself, Grow Your Career: The Personal Value Proposition Workbookavailable at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retailers. 

Click on a sharing option below to share this post on LinkedIn, Twitter or other social media sites. Please leave a comment if you want to join the conversation or share an article, video or other resource for the list.

Image credit: Adobe Stock.

With everyone pressed for time and email inboxes overflowing, one of the worst things you can do is fire off an email that is unread, left lingering or summarily deleted. Not only do poor emails waste time on both ends – minutes and hours that could be used more productively – but they also may create negative impressions about your ability to think, solve problems and communicate.

If you want to be known as someone who acts strategically, demonstrates leadership and otherwise has a positive professional outlook, writing better emails is a crucial place to start.

 ✔︎ Prepare

 ✔︎ Write

 ✔︎ Review

 ✔︎ Follow-Up

Click here or on the icon below to read my results-driven system to writing effective emails on Forbes.com. Click here to request my 12-point checklist “Write Emails that Get Results.”

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Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, author, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. She is founder of Segal Coaching, author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals (available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and through local booksellers) and a frequent public speaker in New York, Connecticut and beyond.

Image credit: Adobe Images.

As an executive coach and writer, I help people tell their own professional stories and present themselves in the best light.

Among other ways of interacting nowadays, social media is one of the key places we tell our stories. In the professional context, for many of us, a hub of such interactions is LinkedIn, and a personal photo serves as the centerpiece of any well-crafted LinkedIn profile.

Yet many of us give surprisingly little thought to our photos beyond whether they make us “look good.” Hair OK? Check. Don’t look old or fat? Check.  What little thought goes into the analysis – as I often find with friends or clients who ask me to review their photos – is not about expressing a personal brand but rather simply not embarrassing ourselves.

I speak from the heart on this one. Before attending law school (and completing a 15-year career as an attorney that led to executive coaching), I was an art and photography major, and I worked in several art-related settings, putting up “new masters” on the walls of museums, galleries and other locations. The idea of using your profile picture (or any other image) as a means of communication is in my blood.

Beautiful young adult lawyer business woman professional in a suit at the courthouse

I want to impart that knowledge to you, and I would like to do it in stages. Knowing that the best way to teach is to show, rather than start with my analysis of the images in this post, I will let them sit with you for a while. Draw your own conclusions, and feel free to post in the comments about what stories you believe these images tell and whether they appeal to you. Here are some ideas to get you started.

What impression do you have of the person in each of Images 1, 2 and 3?

Would you want to connect with him or her on a professional or personal level?

Does the cropping of the image change how the story is told?

If you saw this image, as a viewer, what recommendations would you make to improve it?

I will check back in next week with more thoughts. Thanks!

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Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership development coach, author, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. She is founder of Segal Coaching, author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals (available on Amazon.com) and a frequent public speaker in New York, Connecticut and beyond. 

Image credits above (other than of me): Adobe Images.

Young woman showing her heartfelt gratitude

For professionals who work day-in and day-out in a macho work environment – where you  “eat what you kill,” and if you don’t produce, you don’t eat – gratitude is often a foreign notion.

More common are words like merit, grit, earning and climbing.

Gratitude can seem soft, vulnerable and passive.

Yet the more mature we become as professionals – and, in fact, as people – the more we can appreciate, if not “what we have been given” (which sounds as though we had no hand in it) then “what we are fortunate to have” (which is the result of luck and hard work).

While we may have made many of our own breaks, we still caught breaks.

Gratitude can indeed be strong and active, as can we when we invite gratitude into our lives. Meditation, playing with young children, hiking, singing, surfing… There are many ways to get ourselves into the right mindset to drop the macho masks we must (or fear we must?) wear every day.

When we are vulnerable, we are also open and approachable. 

We connect with others through shared purpose.

We have the capacity to create, integrate new ideas and expand from our current point of view.

We break out of the negative feedback loops that often plague us.

We can achieve change that is the necessary element of growth.

We realize that we are not in control of every detail in our lives. Rather than fighting against the current, we learn to live and breathe in the natural flow.

What will gratitude teach you this year?

 

Election Day 2014 - Republicans and Democrats in the campaign
Adobe Stock/Elio Gutzemberg.

On this Election Day 2016, most of us have clients, vendors, suppliers, employees, supervisors, colleagues, family and/or friends on both sides of the aisle, Democrat and Republican. And some independents, too.

Professional development tip:

If someone’s giving you a hard time about the election today or acting over the top, there’s a simple response:

Bring your excitement, not your venom.

(In some cases, you may need to say it more than once.)

Be a leader for the greater cause. Tomorrow, we are all one nation again.

 

Hello November sign on blackboard

Hello November! Today marks 61 days to the end of the year!

If you saw my time management posts from last week, you know that productivity or even prioritization is not the ultimate goal. The goal is to spend your time like the precious commodity that it is. 

If you count up the days in November and December, you have 61 days of opportunity before the New Year. That’s 1,464 hours.

1,464 hours to make count on what is meaningful to you. 

Clients often ask me how to make better use of their time. Here’s what I suggest:

Figure out what you want to do most. For example, maybe you want to celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and/or Kwanzaa holidays without interruptions. Then back into what you can do now to get yourself there. What do you know will be lingering over your head, ready to jump out at you, if you don’t address it early?

If you can get ahead of the game, without rushing, not only will your work product be better but also your quality of life.

Again, Happy November! Hope your hours are meaningful, however you choose (or need) to spend them.

Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership coach, author and resume writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. She recently brushed up on her time management skills to finish her first book, Master the Interview. Her short post about what it is like to write a book is here.

Image above from Adobe Images.

Fire alarm push botton

A client recently asked:

If you spend all day putting out so-called fires at your job – in a very reactive environment – how can you possibly plan or address your career pro-actively?

Preliminaries:

First, let’s define some terms:

  1. Pro-active: creating a situation or causing something to happen
  2. Reactive: responding to a situation (rather than creating or controlling it)
  3. Fire alarm: a colloquial way to describe a frantic and urgent situation or deadline in a corporate environment, often one that is a “false alarm” created by lack of planning rather than a true emergency

As Randy Pauch said, in the last few months of his life, “time is the only commodity that matters.” We need to manage our time just as we manage our money, and in fact the time management piece is even more important. In addition, as you may realize already, most leadership roles are only achieved by individuals who have learned to address matters pro-actively, yet most environments today are full of fire alarms that require us to react rather than plan our time.

Answer:

Here are some ways to manage your time, even in a pro-active environment:

  1. Stop the bleeding, then take care of the patient. Sometimes an emergency has pieces that need to be addressed immediately and other parts that can wait. Can you schedule your day so that you can still get the important things done while addressing what is urgent? Are there portions you can delegate?
  2. Block your calendar, and then block it again. In order to plan, you need to block out uninterrupted time on your calendar. If an emergency (real or otherwise) creeps up on you, the first thing to do is to move the blocked time on your calendar a few days out, so it stays scheduled and is not forgotten.
  3. Break things into small steps. While you may not be able to plan the next few months and what you would like to achieve, you can start to plan individual pieces of it. If you only have 10 minutes, you can empower yourself to do one thing that really matters.
  4. “Do the right things, rather than ‘doing things right.'” I owe this quote to Randy Pausch and the lecture I link above. As he said, “You don’t need to clean the underside of the bannister.” In other words, put your efforts where they pack a punch. For more about that generally, see my posts on the 80/20 rule and high profile/high need tasks.
  5. Know and remember the goal(s). Ask why. Start by asking yourself, and then (if appropriate) politely and directly ask the person who created the task. What are the intended benefits of the work you are doing? Don’t just do something because you are told to do it; think about what results you are individually and collectively trying to achieve. This will save you time if you can find more efficient ways to get to a solution – and avoid unnecessary iterations – rather than just following steps assigned (which may not have been well thought out in the first place). It will also keep you focused on the point in #4 above.
  6. Stop wasting time during your day. Be more organized and match your workload to meet your peak energy levels. Also, eliminate distractions. I’ll talk about all of this more in a future post.

Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership coach, author and resume writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. Her first book, Master the Interview, is available on Amazon.com

Image above from Adobe Images.