September is almost here and the new school year is upon us. Although kids are the ones going back to class, attorneys and paralegals could use a curriculum refresher too. Lessons learned in kindergarten are often forgotten, but are proven to be fundamental to the building blocks of success in life and business. Legal professionals would do well to remember those early lessons.
On the first day of class, students are introduced to the idea of Class Rules – a simple list of do’s and don’ts to facilitate a more positive learning environment. Even kindergarten and first grade students are often required to sign a copy along with their parents indicating they understand and agree to follow these rules. Failure to comply results in consequences.
Rule #1: Listen When Others are Speaking
Rule #2: Use Your Inside Voice
Rule #3: Follow Directions the First Time
Rule #4: Treat Others with Respect and Kindness
Rule #5: Arrive on Time and Be Ready to Learn
Rule #6: Keep Your Hands and Feet to Yourself – No Hitting, Kicking, or Fighting
Rule #7: Mind Your Manners – Say “I’m Sorry,” “Please,” and “Thank You”
Rule #8: No Running in the Classroom
Rule #9: Clean Up After Yourself
Rule #10: Always Try Your Best
While some of these rules spark a laugh, sometimes it’s important to go back to the basics. In law offices as well as in classrooms, respectful behavior is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, these simple rules are often cast aside in the dog-eat-dog world of business. For example, consider the law office conference room setting – partners in a law firm aggressively talking over one another to make their ideas heard on how to resolve a looming budget crisis. The drive and passion to push ahead ideas clouds our judgment, and we are quick to abandon even the most obvious of courtesies like using our “inside voices.”
As we begin a new workweek, let’s pause and consider whether we are following the “Class Rules.” Resist the temptation to talk over others or to run down the halls of your office kicking and screaming.
Be respectful. Follow directions. Always try your best.