Collective Intelligence

One of my favorite sayings, I actually got it from a litigation strategist named Rodney Jew is, no one is as smart as everyone. And we trial lawyers, we think we're smart people. 

We think we have such great ideas, and you have to believe in yourself if you're going to go out there and put it all out in front of a jury, let the case ride on what you're doing, but at the same time, you're going to get such better ideas. You're going to get such better performance from your business, from your cases. 

If you can build a team where everybody feels free to speak and you create an atmosphere where people will put in their ideas, it's hard for a lot of people when they're joining your team to speak up and disagree with you. There is a great book by Patrick Lencioni called The Five Dysfunctions of A Team.

One of the things that keeps a team from reaching its full potential is an absence of conflict. What do you mean an absence of conflict? Why would you want conflict in your organization? 

Well, you want a conflict of ideas. If I come up with an idea and someone else isn't sold on that idea, or someone else has a better idea, I want them to feel free to give me their idea, and then we should go back and forth debating the merits of our ideas till we come up. 

Maybe their idea is better, maybe mine is, maybe someone thinks of a third one. Maybe we have a hybrid between the two, but then we come up with the best possible idea because I will tell you some of the best trial ideas, some of the best marketing ideas, some of the best business ideas of my firm did not come from me.

They came because I have helped develop an atmosphere where we realized that no one is as smart as everyone, and everyone feels free to speak up and to share what their ideas are for our firm. 

One example of how my firm implements a no one is as smart as everyone, principal, is our weekly case valuation round tables. 

We have to bring the case to the whole firm from the youngest associate to the most senior partner, and we present the case and sometimes we find that, "Hey, we thought this case was ready to settle, but guess what? We need to do more work." Sometimes we find that we think this case is worth 1 million dollars, but we're believing our own BS and it's really a $500,000 case.

But so many times we found out that we thought it was $1 million dollar, and by the time we round table it and then we get everyone else's idea, it turns out to be a $2 million case, a $3 million case, a $5 million case, because we got those ideas that other people had. 

We got the strategies that other people had that we would've lost had we not been working together. 

No one is as smart as everyone. The more we get our team to all pitch in, to all give their ideas and create that atmosphere where people are free to be disagreed with, people are free to actually be wrong and not be castigated because we want to hear what they have to say. You never will reach the full potential of your team.

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