August 2007


 I read a decent blog regularly aimed at lawyers. Today, their post “GC Wannabe” was a good one that directed readers to a great article about what companies (and recruiters) look for when they hire a General Counsel. Have a look and let us know what you think in the comments below. My initial reaction to these articles were that they were dead on. Working as in-house counsel opens your eyes to a lot of things lawyers who desire to be a GC should know and put into practice.

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 Receiving insight, direction, advice, correction or an occasional pep talk from someone who has become invested in you and your career is a priceless asset.  Mentors have been discussed by the finest business schools and coaches for years; however, finding the right mentor could be critical to your success.

I was fortunate to be hired by a very good lawyer who took me under his wing when I started working and continues to help guide me through my career. My friends have had to actively seek out someone willing to mentor them. However you come across a person in your life that can help you through you career, put that goal on the top of your to do list – find a mentor. They have been their before, done what you have done and made it through. In large corporations, a person who knows the landmines and guides you through them could quickly propel your career beyond what you may eventually learn by trial and error.

Regardless of how a mentor comes into your life (they seek you or you seek them), be selective with whom you give the authority to speak into your life and career. While having the right mentor can do nothing but good things for you, having the wrong mentor is difficult to recover from. Think seriously about finding a mentor and tapping into their experience to help you in your life and career.

It is about that time again. ESPN.com is running a countdown clock. ESPN (the network) has “25 hours of IT.” Everyone is chatting about it in the lunchroom. Heck, I even got an Excel spreadsheet (complete with little helmets) emailed to me. College football season is upon us and beings tonight….T-minus 5 hours, 44 minutes and counting…

 The opportunity to work with great people is something most professionals encounter throughout your career. However, every once in a while you will run across people with whom you do not mesh. Face it, not everyone will like you or get along with you.  This could happen for a variety of reasons – all of which are irrelevant for our purposes. In these situations, accomplishing your goal will rely on remaining professional and not allowing your personal feelings to get in the way.

I am currently trying to work on a deal with a company I simply don’t enjoy conversing with. They are arrogant, brash, ignorant and sometimes just plain mean. (I am sure they would say the same about me.) However, they are not my client and my job is to make the best deal I can do for my company.  I remind myself each time I correspond with this group that I do not need to like them to get the deal done.  And I need to ensure that my personal feelings do not get in the way of my professional responsibility.

You will come across these situations at some point in your career. The advice I offer is advice I am following daily – be professional; be courteous; stay focused on your goal; and don’t let the business relationship get personal. You must invest yourself into your work, but that does not require you to personally like or even enjoy working with your counterpart.  Your personal feeling will only hinder achieving the goals before you.

We would be glad to read your comments with insight you have learned about staying professional in light of a personally challenging client or associate.

On a future post in this series, lets discuss how “getting personal” in a good way can help you down the road.

 Hearing rumblings about a very cool development, if true. Rumor has it that Yates Racing has asked NASCAR to allow Hendrick Motorsports to use the #38 next year. Apparently, Dale Jr. may run this number as a tribute to his dad (#3), while keeping his #8 in the mix. Very smart move and well thought out….merchandising will be through the roof!

 I digress from our Professional Counsel series to share a recent project accomplishment. Last tonight my company and our partner went before the Daytona Beach Planning Board to request approval for our redevelopment known as Daytona Live! As a lifelong resident, I am very excited about this project and have been thrilled to work on it. As you can see by the pictures, it will be quite a neat development. Daytona Live! #1Daytona Live! #1

After a few hours at the planning board, we received a unanimous, positive vote of 10-0 in favor of our project. I can honestly say that while I fully believe in this project, I did not expect such a positive result.

I have been engrossed in this project for well over 2 years now and tonight I finally started seeing some legit progress. We still have to present to the City Commission (twice), obtain Site Approvals and lots of other legwork, but at least we are moving. At some point, I will share a few stories from this process that I learned during the journey.

I am working with a fantastic team of consultants and professionals. There are over 30 people working on this project, so listing the names would take forever. We could not have arrived here without each person. Thanks for all the hard work and effort!

Speculation is running rampant that Mark Martin and Aric Almirola will split time in the #8 at DEI next year. Martin may be the only guy in motorsports that could pull this off, but Aric is an unproven driver, who will catch some grief when he climbs into “Jr’s number.” (For the record, Aric is a good guy and a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, which helps minorities break into the sport). Speculation is that this shift into the #8 will free up a ride for Greg Biffle at DEI in the #01 car (vacated by Martin & Almirola) with a new sponsor….time will tell. 

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