I could try to articulate to you the number of times I’ve gotten in trouble for asking the question “Why?” but it’s not necessary. It was a lot. A lot. I never intend my questions to be rude or disrespectful, but I can see how it could come off that way. The question “why” can seem like a criticism of a person, a procedure, or a policy.
Why You Want Gen Why in Your Law Firm
While we may not have the work experience you do, we (probably) have more experience in quickly adapting to a fast-paced, ever-changing world. Take the opportunity to tap into Gen Why’s point of view. Ask them questions. Listen to their opinions. They might be able to help you/your firm adapt to the changing landscape of the industry.
Why Am I Doing This?
Obviously, I’m not suggesting you implement all of their ideas, but use the why questions as a reflecting glass. Why are we using this software? Why are we not e-filing? Why are we spending so much on postage? Why are we…..?
As a child I hated the response “because I said so,” but sometimes that is the proper response. If you’ve taken your Gen Why’s question and come to the conclusion that you’re doing a thing simply because you want to do a thing, then own up to that. You’re the managing partner/supervisor/IT director/HR director. You get to make those calls. However, a “because I said so” can diminish your authority – use it wisely.
On the other hand, that Why question can lead you down a productive path. Why are we using this software? It’s tedious, not user-friendly, or reliable anymore. Huh. Yes, you know what, let’s find something better. And voila! You have turned your Gen Why’s annoying question into positive change.
Now that you have listened to a whiny Gen Why-er, go forth and listen to the youth that have infiltrated your law firm. Just listening to (versus implementing) their concerns, questions, and ideas can lead to positive change – adaptation, if you will – inside your law firm.
Use them as a sounding board. Use them as young idea factories. If you can’t answer their Why with something reasonable, maybe you need to ask yourself Why.