Respect the Group
One of the principles of the right to collaborate is a team approach to joint problem solving. The team approach to joint problem solving has numerous advantages:
- We’re smarter together: each team member brings a different background and expertise to the team. As the saying goes, an all-rounder is a master of nothing. On a team, each person can be a master in their field and rely on others for knowledge that they cannot cultivate individually. In addition, professional team members sometimes make mistakes as humans. When we are open to feedback from other professionals, there is a greater likelihood that errors will be minimized and corrected, which ultimately provides customers with a better service or product.
- We are better together: Each team member brings different experience to the problem solving. Our experiences shape our ability to empathize with problem solving and to be creative. Different experiences at the table increase the likelihood of recognizing prejudices that could limit our creativity. For example, in a divorce case, it can be helpful to have some team members who have been through a divorce themselves as they may be better able to identify with and explain some of the feelings a customer is expressing. Understanding is an essential step in finding solutions that truly match each participant’s priorities and goals.
- We’re stronger together: Each team member is a resource for other team members and a resource for customers. Difficult problems not only drain the customer’s resources, but also a professional team. The professionals are just as human as the participants and sometimes we have problems in our life that are triggered by the case we are working on. When a professional team supports each other, we improve everyone’s ability to effectively process their emotional responses and focus on problem-solving together.
- We’re faster together: Each team member’s ability to focus on their area of expertise allows multiple projects to move forward at the same time. While it may seem counterintuitive that problem solving is faster with more voices in the mix, effective delegation and coordination can make problem solving more efficient when a team is working together. In a collaborative divorce case, for example, the parties can work with the coach on parenting issues, while at the same time the financial neutrals and lawyers ensure that the financial documentation is processed and appropriate scenarios are created.
The key to all of this work is to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and to respect each team member’s worth. This applies to collaborative legal work as well as to any other team environment. At Skylark Law & Mediation, PC, we rely heavily on the strengths and unique experiences of each and every team member.
Unfortunately, it is all too common for some people to be dismissive or rude to an administrative agent, thinking that the person answering the call is not as important as the lawyer or mediator working on their case. What this person doesn’t understand is that each member of the team is an integral part controlling different pieces of the puzzle. The clients who see the value of the team benefit from lower costs as they spend less time with their attorney and mediator and leverage the entire team for each member’s strengths.
Being rude, disrespectful, or dismissive to a team member will likely cost a customer more in the long run, and ultimately minimize the potential benefits outlined above. It is both polite and in your own best interest to respect the entire team.