Nurture Relationships so Serendipity Happens

Lawyers should focus on nurturing relationships and not rushing back to the office so that serendipitous good fortune can have a chance.

I just read Ellen Florian’s interview with Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com in the April 30, 2012 edition of Fortune magazine.  The piece was for The Best Advice I Ever Got column.  It was the right article for me to read at this time.

I recently was a co-facilitator for a Building Buzz for Women Lawyers workshop here in Seattle, and I was disappointed with how few of the women lawyers stayed to network after the workshop. Isn’t that ironic?

They came to learn how to build buzz (interest so they could grow their law practice) around their practice and then left. They could have started to create buzz with other women at this perfect networking portion of the event.  I expect they were rushing back to their office because they had pressing client matters, but I still feel it was important for them to have carved out the additional time to connect with others.

The workshop was extremely well received with lots of interaction and positive feedback, so I don’t think the exodus was a negative reflection on the workshop.

Create Your Own Luck in Your Practice

You never know who you might meet that will lead to that next amazing opportunity.  It’s important to put yourself in the position to create your own luck.  You need to keep nurturing all your relationships and keep opening doors to meet new people so that you can nurture those relationships.  You never know what new luck that new relationship might result in for you and your practice.

So, why do I say I read the article at the right time?  Because Hsieh highlighted why I was disappointed – the women who left immediately didn’t stay to build relationships for the sake of building relationships.

Hsieh’s best advice given to him was “to build relationships for the sake of the relationship.” He tells the story of a friendship that Hsieh’s advisor maintained when it didn’t seem to make economic or business sense. The friendship ultimately resulted in the company landing a major client when the advisor’s friend because president of that major client.

If you’re focused on the friendships as its own reward, serendipitous stuff just happens. I know that sounds weird, but I can tell you for our 12 years of existence, it’s actually how a lot of stuff happens.” Tony Hsieh

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