The world has never been more in need of other-focused problem-solving. As I recently shared, the pandemic and its lingering effects have wreaked havoc on our lives while all of the other challenges of life–divorce, aging parents, sick children, work stress, burnout, parenting worries, relationship struggles—continue to happen. We are in the midst of a mental health crisis, and we need to show up for each other.
Showing up for others isn’t something to be relegated to our personal lives but something that we need in our workplaces, professional relationships, and business strategies as well. To do so, we need love.
When I say “love,” I don’t mean starry-eyed romantic love, but a deep sense of compassion and a belief that we are worthy and valued—and so is everyone else. Since its inception, our mission at GrowthPlay has been to inspire firms to transform how they operate by embracing sales as an act of service. By commercializing love through other-focused problem-solving, businesses can be profitable and have a meaningful impact on the world. Moreover, by operationalizing love into their business model and strategy, firms can prosper while also empowering others to flourish.
“Everyone already knows that love is a fantastic feeling and that it can create wonders. So, shouldn’t it be part of the business world too?” Tim Sanders writes in his book Love is the Killer App. “However, when we talk about love connected to the business, we are talking about the linkage of three intangible qualities: compassion, knowledge, and network.”
3 Ways to Incorporate Other-Focused Problem Solving into Your Firm Culture
- Focus on what you can give rather than what you can get. To show up for others, lawyers and law firms should take a broader inventory of the problems they can solve. When lawyers and other service providers have a myopic approach to client service, they are less resourceful to their clients. But by considering the ways they can support and resource others in areas outside of their professional expertise, they can be an other-focused problem-solver. Perhaps a lawyer can share resources with a client who has a child with special needs, or they could provide a recommendation for a therapist. Maybe a lawyer could ask for an extension to the next round of contract negotiations when a client is sick instead of asking them for their feedback on the latest draft documents. Maybe a colleague would appreciate a gift basket after working long hours on a project. Asking “what can I give?” instead of “what can I get?” will benefit both people.
- Help individuals flourish so that businesses can also flourish. This sounds simple enough, but too often, people presume that companies need to be cut-throat to succeed and that businesses need to focus on the “bottom line” to drive positive economic outcomes. And there is a way for businesses and individuals to flourish and drive positive economic outcomes. For law firms and other service providers whose product is client service, showing up for people is critical to business success. This doesn’t just mean helping individual clients thrive either; it also means helping employees and colleagues thrive as well. If a colleague is caring for an aging parent, a lawyer could connect them with someone in their network who’s in the home health care field. If a client has recently returned from parental leave, perhaps the firm could arrange for a few meals to be delivered to the client’s home. If an employee is struggling to find childcare, the firm could discuss a flexible work arrangement.
- Embody an abundance mindset rather than a scarcity mindset. With a scarcity mindset, people can become consumed by the fear there isn’t enough to go around. So, they scramble and hustle, taking what they can because they fear there won’t be enough. But with an abundance mindset, people trust that they have enough and that they are enough. They share resources. They connect people in their network. They strive to help others succeed because they know that when others succeed, they do too.
As mentioned above, at GrowthPlay, our coaching is centered around the core belief that sales is an act of service. Rather than viewing sales through a narrow transactional lens, we challenge our clients to expand their view of interactions with colleagues, clients, and potential clients. By asking, “what problems can I solve for this person?” and acting in the spirit of service without necessarily knowing whether that decision will pay off, we can ignite a spirit of generosity and spark new possibilities through a cycle of love and kindness.
As Tim Sanders wrote, “Always remember that when you are sharing business love, although you may not always gain something, you never lose anything.”
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