The stock of General Counsels (GCs) has never been higher. Executives need strategic, adaptable thinkers to grow their business, particularly amidst a pandemic and the challenges it presents. GCs show their value and answer the call, becoming essential business partners and embracing leadership roles.
This new trajectory is transforming legal career paths, but it's not without its growing pains. For many, this is uncharted territory. So, where do you start? Let’s dive in.
Choose Optimism & Embrace Possibility
In the past, some viewed Legal as the department of "no." To be a strategic business partner, GCs must shift their thinking to consider business goals, not just legal risk. Rather than denying requests from stakeholders, offer alternatives.
Finding creative solutions is essential to moving the business forward and raising your profile in the company. Collaborating with colleagues to solve complex problems is vital to change misconceptions and dissolve any stereotypes about the legal function.
As the legal expert, you offer unique insight and expertise to your company that is invaluable. As Tim Parilla, CLO at LinkSquares, recently wrote, “it is impossible to avoid risk 100% of the time and run a successful business.” If you lean too deep into risk avoidance, your CEO will be quick to disregard your advice for anything other than legal information. If you can balance offering legitimate counsel and input promoting business growth, the executive team will see you as an strong voice in decision-making.
Get Your Hands Dirty
GCs have a unique position in building a corporation, allowing them to see solutions and connect dots that others can't. As a GC, you're likely a logical thinker with solid communication and problem-solving skills. Proactively put those strengths to use by identifying potential issues and conveying solutions. By finding and solving complex problems, you'll show your worth as a valued business member, not just a legal pro.
One thing is for sure: your personal brand won't build itself. If you want to raise your profile and expand your influence in the business, it takes a concerted effort. You have an invaluable skillset and specialized knowledge to make you an impactful leader. While it might require breaking out of your comfort zone at first, the rewards will be well worth it.
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