Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Esprit de Corps

Esprit de Corps is the result of individual and group effort toward a common goal. In the Marines it was expressed in the credo, “every Marine is a rifleman first”, meaning that no matter what specific job a Marine is trained to do, every Marine is trained to accomplish the primary mission of the Corps; To meet the enemy face-to-face in combat.

This same unity of purpose is expressed in successful businesses, corporations, non-profits, schools, and in families. Wherever I see failure I also find a weak or dysfunctional esprit de corp.

For law firms the ability to bring this spirit into the culture of the firm can be especially challenging. Because much of what a partner is measured/compensated by is individual results without regard for the success of the firm overall, the partners are not encouraged in spirit to cheer for the firm. And their focus in transmitted to the people they work most closely with, which in turn creates factions within a firm competitively seeking an environment that best serves the interests of the partners practice.

When everything is measured by, “is it good for me?” the results are predictable and ultimately undesirable.

I support any firm in bringing their people together with a single, greater goal and in fighting old practices and barriers that continue to enforce separatism.