Perspective. It seems to be something we all lose sight of and that changes not only from year to year, but often from moment to moment. Very much like opinions, we all have one and they are all often very different. Recently, I was given the gift of time to travel to Nicaragua on a mission trip where I, along with 22 other people from various backgrounds, spent a week in Granada, building kitchens at 3 different schools. These kitchens would allow the children to have at least one hot meal per day, as the government had agreed to supply the food supplies and the parent volunteers would prepare it, but prior to the kitchen facilities they were forced to cook over open fire and often experienced severe smoke inhalation or burn injuries. I went with the perspective that I, the American, with all that I have, would give to these people who were less fortunate than I. Instead, I realized that I was the one being given a gift—the gift of perspective.

I think this is often the case with mission trips, they are actually opportunities to allow yourself to open your heart and mind in preparation to receive the gifts of those you are there to help. And if you think about it, this is an opportunity that we have, not just on mission trips, but on a daily basis as we interact with those around us, even with our clients. This gift of perspective allows us to see the world from so many different ways and through many different “eyes”, yet often we sit with our eyes closed. We get so narrowly focused on one perspective only—our own.

This is the greatest gift that I brought back from my trip to Nicaragua—the ability to see the world and those that I experience from different perspectives. What about you?  Do you consider the perspectives of those around you and your clients? Do you truly try to walk in their shoes?  Do you “share” their concerns and their fears?  Is your office and your practice so client-centric that they feel like “you’ve got it” when they share their struggles and their worries?  Do they feel like they are truly being taken care of or do they feel like they are just another number?  Are you listening to what your clients are telling you or are you projecting your perspective onto them? Are you listening to them or are you telling them?  Is it always your opinion that matters most?  What about their concerns?  What is keeping them up at night? Do you stop long enough to really see them, hear what they are saying, and then respond in accordance?  You might just be surprised; it might not be what you thought they were “saying” at all.

When you really “get it”, your firm has a “way” about it – an experience that becomes so natural that when a client (or even a perspective client) encounters your firm, they feel it. It is an experience. Everything that you, your attorneys, your staff do, say, how they handle the process is different. It is all focused on making it easier for the client. Everything is seen and done with the client’s perspective in mind. All of the communications from the moment they hear your firm’s name all the way through the follow-up of their case and the touches that occur afterwards in your client relationship marketing, all are client centric. They all contain the little things that matter and let them know that “you’ve got it” and they are special to you.

So, I invite you to “climb up on the mountain” (I haven’t come down yet). Get some perspective. Maybe change your perspective, or alter it a little. Share your thoughts with your team. Get their perspective. Then, see what a new perspective might do for your firm – you will be amazed what happens when you just stop, look and listen.