My colleague, Mike Maslanka, an employment law partner and head of the Dallas office for Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP, recently published a great article in the Texas Lawyer called: Seven Mindsets of Effective General Counsel. In it, he highlights that “How lawyers think determines how we act. So, to be truly effective, the wise general counsel does not seek answers but rather seeks useful mindsets.”

Those mindsets include:

  1. All news is good news (“Because then you know where you stand.”)
  2. Pick the hill you want to die on (“Make a stand where it matters, not on a useless cul-de-sac.”)
  3. ABR: Always be re-framing (“Lawyers can’t change the facts, but we can change the story.”)
  4. Fight the fight, not the plan. (“Never get stuck on the original plan, and always deal with what is occurring now, in real time.”)
  5. A GC is not a conscience for hire (“A general counsel is not a mouthpiece but a voice of reason.”)
  6. Generate options, lots of them (“General counsel can’t direct C-level executives to take actions. They only can guide them by producing options.”
  7. Ask: “Am I adding value?” (“Adding value is not a ‘No, you can’t do XYZ.’ It’s not even a ‘Yes, but’ mindset. It’s one of ‘Yes, and.'”)

Ultimately, Maslanka, the creator of the Mike Maslanka @ Your Desk YouTube video series for the Texas Bar (which you can watch here), concludes: “Mindsets progress from aspiration to belief to action. Develop yours, and enjoy the journey.”