Why A “Figure-outable” Mindset Is An Asset In Legal Practice

Why A “Figure-outable” Mindset Is An Asset In Legal Practice

by Dave Zumpano, with special guest Christen Belcher

The way legal practices do business have changed over the years with the help of technology. It’s a resource that we at Guidr have embraced in the way we work, creating an app to make it easier for clients to get legal documents in order.

However, at Guidr, we know we’d be nothing without a leader to help guide a team of attorneys into the future of law practice. Christen Belcher explains on the Legal Community Podcast how she began to ask the right questions.

How did Christen begin to figure out tech?

Christen’s thirst for knowledge began to take shape at a young age (long before she became the general manager of Guidr). She explored her curiosity by asking her mother 1,000 questions. It drove her mother crazy, as Christen recalls! However, when Christen graduated from college, that level of interest and curiosity landed her a job as a business analyst at a company called Perot Systems.

Christen: “I learned in that role how to use my skill set and ask ‘Why?’ in 1,000 different places. And that allowed me to understand the business that we were working on. At that time, we were building a software platform that managed and monitored assets.

The only way to do that was to ask a lot of questions around what we needed, how we needed, why we needed, what was going to happen with the outcome, and I got good very quickly at root cause analysis.”

Passionately, Christen continued to go into detail about asking “deep dive questions” in her root cause analysis. But we wanted to know how she used her knowledge and expertise to guide teams she was a part of, so they could succeed.

The importance of a “figure-outable” mindset

Christen said that what she took away from the great teams she worked with in the past was the recognition that “everything is figure-outable” (jokingly adding the phrase to her “Christen dictionary”).

Christen: “I think the point in that is that if you don’t give up, there’s an answer. Some answers are great. Some answers aren’t great. And one of the things we’ve learned with a valid positive mindset is that there’s no such thing as failure, just lessons learned. And if I take those lessons and figure out what you did with it, how you move forward with what you learned, it’s figure-outable. I think that’s the key to the successful teams that I’ve been part of, that everybody has that mindset that, yeah, we’ll figure it out.”

We also wanted to hear Christen’s take on how the “figure-outable mindset” applied in the legal space.

Christen: “I think there’s a general, well-founded fear that we have to know a lot more before we make a decision, because of laws, because of litigation, because there are so many rules and regulations put on attorneys that may or may not be in other industries. My background is in financial services, and we all know money is highly regulated.

But we were still able to move change throughout that entire industry. It might have been in a very, very substantial and scary way, but we did it. I think the same is true in the legal industry, it’s just we have to find the right path that makes the majority comfortable with how we do things. It’s going to happen. Change is inevitable, digitization of anything is inevitable. But bringing those two things together on a path and plan that makes everyone as comfortable as possible, is key to this entire situation.

I think the legal industry is no different than other highly regulated industries; we just have to present the argument that shows the least amount of chaos that will come with a change.”

The famous “Why?” question

Even though technology and the digitization of law has its benefits to both clients and attorneys, there is a particular level of fear around those changes.

Some attorneys just haven’t accepted the futurist mindset required for law practices yet. It begs the question of “Why?” to those lawyers who are on the fence about the new way of doing business. However, Christen’s perspective on this “fear” is an interesting one.

Christen: “I think we need to dig into the difference between the fear of change and the fear of an uncorrectable mistake. And I think that’s the difference. So fear of change is human. Fear of a non-undoable mistake is both human and business-related, right, especially for attorneys, because there are significant consequences to the wrong decision.

So I think it’s digging into which of the two they’re leaning towards. At Guidr, we’ve done a really good job getting the ethics complaint, getting the legality of the digitization, and really well founded in fact-based decision-making. We need to examine the fear side of things, more so than the actual business side of things, and understand where that attorney is in that spectrum of emotion and logic.”

Mindset vs. behavior

So, if there is a way of doing things in the legal space that people need to adopt sooner rather than later, what is preventing some attorneys from embracing the times?

This led me to think about the difference between mindset vs. behavior, and how the words “but” and “and” can reveal a person’s true character.

When you say the word “but”, by definition it negates everything you said before it.

Christen won’t let anyone use the word “but”; she chooses to say the word “and” instead. For example, “Okay, that’s a really great idea, and…”, and then express your opinion. I think that goes to mindset too. In terms of behavioral traits, we can actually look to each other and hold each other accountable, and coach each other on behaviors that exhibit positive mindsets.

Everyone now is a tech company

Based on how the world is moving in 2022, having the right mindset is important. It is just the way things are shifting, as more companies embrace technology. However, as Christen puts it, this doesn’t have to be something you fear. In fact, it should be the opposite.

Christen: “Everyone now is becoming a tech-industry company, a company within an industry. I think in six months, you’ll see a difference. I think in six years, it’ll be a completely different picture than what it is here in 2022. And I think that’s all good. I think that’s exciting. What will be amazing is how quickly people stop the fear of change, and jump on the excitement that they can be part of that really exciting, very different, digitized future.”

So, did you like this blog? Do you have any “deep dive” questions of your own? If so, visit lawyerswithpurpose.guidr.legal to give us your perspective on our conversation with Christen.

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