The Mentorist

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I Meant What I Said and I Said What I Meant: Decoding Your Performance Review

Life is what happens when you’re writing performance reviews.

At least that’s the view of most managers I know.  I’ve never met one who enjoyed the process.

Having been on both sides of the manager/managee divide, I get it:  Performance reviews take big chunks of time to write and deliver.  Time that could be spent fighting fires and conquering countries.

Although ‘people development’ (what these reviews are about, after all) should also make the list of time-spending priorities, somehow it loses out.

As a result, managers too often deliver slapdash performance reviews that range in content from a grunted ‘keep-doing-what-you’re-doing’ to a set of stream-of-consciousness impressions that would do James Joyce proud.

Say what? Continue reading

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‘Tell Me About a Time When You….’: Prepping for the Behavioral Interview

Perhaps their parents didn’t read them Harold and the Purple Crayon enough times.

Whatever the reason, job interviewers these days expect candidates to regale them with tales of personal derring-do.  Not just any old adventures, mind you.  Rather, the interviewer wants to hear tales that convince her you’re the missing piece in her company’s HR jigsaw puzzle.

Yes, behavioral interviews are all the rage.  But what exactly are they?  They’re interviews designed to ferret out how you’ve acted –- and, more specifically, what skills and personality traits you’ve displayed — in past work situations.

The premise underlying behavioral interviewing is that past performance predicts future performance (unlike with your investment adviser…).  In other words, how you’ve behaved in past situations is the best predictor of how you’re going to behave when facing those to come.  (For those in therapy, this is a discouraging notion.) Continue reading


In-House Lowdown: Still a Lawyer, but the Game Has Changed

‘In-House Lowdown’ is a series of blog posts designed to help lawyers navigate the in-house world. Its observations are based on my 20+ years as a General Counsel, spent managing legal teams and herding assorted breeds of corporate cats.

Law firm life got you miserable?  Plan on moving in-house to elevate your mood?

That might be the perfect remedy.  Or it might bring you equal levels of misery (just in new and different ways).  You’ll have a better shot at predicting the likely outcome if — before making your move — you understand the fundamental differences between in-house life and private practice.

To be good at their jobs, in-house lawyers need to develop a new set of muscles:  Some of the skills and behaviors that have earned them rich rewards in their law firm are going to be irrelevant –- or even destructive –- inside a company’s legal team. Continue reading