Driving Change in Law Firms

Best-selling author, business thinker and former White House speechwriter, with a JD from Yale Law School, David Pink has been credited with defining a new era in the workplace thanks to his four provocative books about the changing world of work. In Pink’s most recent book and #1 New York Times bestseller, Drive, he analyzes the scientific data behind high performance and vocational satisfaction.

Pink asserts that there are three motivating drives that propel engagement:

1) biological drives;

2) reward and punishment drives; and

3) interest, passion and meaning drives.

The last of these is what drives the highest engagement in individuals, with scientific study showing a 40% differential between the productivity of inspired and non-inspired workers, yet businesses have routinely neglected this source of motivation. Pink shares three motivating factors to which employers should appeal: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

And some companies are doing just that – trying to trying to tap into their employees’ interest, passion and meaning, including:

  • Results-Only Work Environments (ROWE): The brainchild of two American consultants, a ROWE is a workplace in which employees don’t have schedules. They don’t have to be in the office at a certain time or any time, but they have to get their work done.
  • FedEx Days: Created by the Australian software company Atlassian, these one-day bursts of autonomy allow employees to tackle any problem they want – and then show the results to the rest of the company at the end of 24 hours. (Hence the name, as they have to deliver something overnight.)

So, how do we marry this third drive to the cultures of modern day law firms? How do we give up some command and control in order to fully empower and motivate our attorneys and teams? Share your ideas below.