Generation Why: Love the Infiltration

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.

Go Forth

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.

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