For those of us who have a tendency to the left side of the brain i.e. logic (which would probably cover 95% of lawyers), those of the right hand tendency; the “creatives”, represent a particular challenge. In-house you are often working cheek by jowl with creative people. That challenge can lead to bewilderment, frustration and lost opportunity. So how can you rise to the challenge?
The original “people” business guru, Dale Carnegie often said that when dealing with humans you should remember that “We are not talking about creatures of logic. We are talking about creatures of emotion”. So any environment in which we are dealing with people is going to be led by emotion, not by logic. This is counterintuitive to most lawyers as our training is all about the power of fact, evidence and the application of logic.
This may not be easy for us as lawyers. I am not for one moment going to suggest that we lawyers are emotionless husks who wander about like Mr Spock of Star Trek. Lawyers love their children, smile at pictures of kittens and have even been known to feel warmth towards finance professionals. But frankly this is not enough. Those who are the power houses of our organisations are driven by energy and that energy is driven by emotion. Change does not occur because of logic; change happens because people have emotions such as anger or passion.
Anyone who works alongside a sales team or the marketing unit knows that logic is not at the centre of everything they do. What is the centre of their world is the emotional impact of what they are doing. Sales people understand about emotion and its ability to turn people on or off what they are trying to sell very quickly. The marketeers spend their time looking at the emotional response that they can create by how they present products or services.
People are attracted to things in seconds and even milliseconds. That is emotion at work, not logic. So in our business lives, we would do well to tone down the logic and tune up the emotions. Emotional intelligence is key to getting the most out of your relationships with your business colleagues, particularly on the sales side of the business.
So while the right hand/left hand side labelling of the brain may be a myth, tuning in emotionally is not. Understanding other people and what makes them tick is key for a successful in-house lawyer. And, as a final thought, in a straight choice between the lawyers and the sales people, who will the CEO always choose? That’s right; the ones who generate the revenue.
I second that emotion.