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Authentic Conversations About Difference

Start Living on the Creative Plane

I’ve talked before about the pitfalls of “winning,” in a previous entry. In it, I explore the differences between winning and success (defined as achieving your objectives). Winning is superficial and often an ego-based feeling, and only leads to the need for another win. Success is complete and satisfying.

Winning versus success is a worthwhile conversation in negotiating-adjusted terms, but the underlying principle is much more universal. One of my mentors draws a line between existing on the competitive plane versus the creative plane. It’s that dichotomy I’d like to unpack a little more in this piece.

Wallace Wattles published The Science of Getting Rich in 1910, and his message remains as important now as it was then. Wattles was speaking to an audience living through the peak of the industrial revolution, an audience who saw plutocrats enrich themselves off of the exploitation of their employees. These “Titans of Industry” behaved competitively to hoard their fortunes. They took and took expecting money and resources to dry up. They were going to take as much of it from everyone else as they could before there was nothing left.

Sure, operating on the competitive plan can make you wealthy, and if wealth is your only objective, then by all means, operate on the competitive plane. But, as Wattles says, “Riches secured on the competitive plane are never satisfactory and permanent; they are yours today, and another’s tomorrow.” How can one ever find peace of mind with that knowledge and mindset? It’s impossible.

So, how do we elevate to the creative plane, become creators, and resist falling into the competitive mindset when the forces around us all seem to be pulling us into that limiting allure? Let’s see what Wattles would advise.

Know that you do not have to take away from any one. Where the competitive mind sees scarcity, the creator knows there is actually abundance, and they have the power to will it into their possession. Creators have no need to cheat, manipulate, exploit, or otherwise take advantage. When a creator gets—creates—what he or she wants, it’s not at the expense of anyone else. On the contrary, their enrichment creates more for all.

Live in a state of gratitude. According to Wattles, true poverty isn’t a material designation, but rather a condition of the spirit. He says of the above mentioned competitive plutocrats that, “the private lives of most of this class will show that they have really been the most abject and wretched of the poor.” True poverty, Wattles says, is a lack of gratitude. His writing on this topic veers into the esoteric, but the underlying idea is that gratitude connects us to and brings our minds into harmony with the creative energies of the universe, which in turn creates abundance in our lives.

Appreciate the power of your thoughts. To Wattles, this is how we summon and direct the creative energies with which we are in harmony. The Buddha said, “With our thoughts we make the world.” This is exactly what Wattles is driving at. The competitive mind thinks only of scarcity and limitations, and so the world—their reality—looks inhospitable to all but the wealthiest among us. It’s a barren world. Oppositely, the creative mind never even considers limitations. The creative mind has a crystal clear mental picture of exactly what they want. Their thoughts are directed with unwavering purpose towards the realization of that picture, and so then are their actions.

The impact that Wallace Wattles has had on my life and philosophy is second to only my father. It’s impossible to read his writings without feeling inspired to change and live with him on the creative plane. If you’re ready to ditch the competitive mindset and join me on the creative plane, check out The Science of Getting Rich.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Conversations About Difference

Living an Integrated Life

We’d all benefit from more hours in the day. This is especially true for entrepreneurs. When I was getting my firm off the ground, it was a near round-the-clock undertaking. When I wasn’t working on the business I was thinking about the business. It was an obsession, but one born of passion and my own innate desire to create.

I have loved my entrepreneurial journey because I was always clear on why I was doing it and how I wanted my life to look. Yet, if an alien landed on earth tomorrow, I’m not sure they’d opt for entrepreneurship as their chosen path. Things like founder burnout, the struggle for work-life balance, and even the apparent conflict between mindfulness and being in action, often impact the entrepreneurship conversation in ways that I don’t think are all positive.

There is a lot of reading we can do about solutions, but to me, we’re missing the problem; we’re not getting to the root of the root.

We’re not leading integrated lives.

I started my business because I never saw myself doing the 9-to-5 grind, and I didn’t want to answer to anyone. I wanted my life to fit into my job, and vice versa, seamlessly. The two were never at odds with each other because to me they never represented segmented aspects of what I was doing. My life is my life and all that it includes. It’s not this thing I get to once work is done. That’s the value of living an integrated life—you’re putting yourself back in control.

How else can we benefit from living integrated lives?

Our experiences stop being zero-sum. When we’re holding a work-life balance context, we can’t fully give ourselves to either. When we choose to live an integrated life, enjoying our families and taking an overdue vacation aren’t stealing from our work. Working a few weekends, or spending a few nights late in the office aren’t robbing from our personal time. We can enjoy our life without feeling anxious or guilty.

We open ourselves up to inspiration. American mythologist Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” Living an integrated life to me means following my bliss. Sometimes that means immersing myself in my work. Other times it can mean pursuing my hobbies and exploring new ideas. When we detach from the obsessive pursuit of “balance” we can source inspiration from all areas of life. Rather than bootstrapping inspiration like it’s something to be called upon as needed, we invite its possibility into our life and allow ourselves to be inspired organically.

We find equilibrium. Balance and equilibrium might seem close in definition, but not to me. The way I see it, seeking balance is reactionary. Something feels imbalanced so I am going to take the following actions to even the proverbial scales. Those decisions and those actions aren’t coming from a place of inner-truth, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we don’t experience the fulfillment we were seeking when we pursue superficial balance. Equilibrium, however, is a state of inner being that we own and can return to. An integrated life is always pointed towards our equilibrium because those energies originate from our desire to return to our equilibrium.

I’m a passionate believer in the power of an integrated life. I believe it’s a byproduct of authenticity and can be a truly transformative change for people—regardless of profession—to make. If you’d like to hear more of my thoughts on how we can and why we should all strive to lead integrated lives, check out my recent video on the subject, https://youtu.be/NImtBXSFEbc.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Conversations About Difference

Removing the Anxiety from Your M&A Deal

An M&A deal is a huge project, regardless of the size of your business. Some companies shy away from the prospect of a merger or acquisition because it seems too daunting. They fear their ongoing business will grind to a halt, or that all their time and effort will be wasted when the deal inevitably falls through. These fears shouldn’t dissuade you from making a deal that can help you grow or sell your business.

I had a long-time client named Miguel who, after many years, had finally found a buyer for his business. Understandably, he wanted to be sure he got the perfect deal before selling. He came to me and said, “Corey, I’ve got a buyer for my company. I want to sell it, and I want to do it as a reverse triangular merger” (the buyer creates a subsidiary company and then merges it into the company they are acquiring). He seemed more sure of the structure of the deal if he did chose to sell than the decision to actually sell his company.

In another world, Miguel would have gone ahead with the reverse triangular merger unquestioned. But, my job was to lead Miguel to his objectives in the best way possible. So, I asked him, “Okay, Miguel, I’ve done reverse triangle mergers. No problem if that is the way we end up going, but why do you want to structure it that way?”

Miguel’s response was one I had heard before, “My friend did his deal as a reverse triangular merger; it worked out really well, and he saved a bunch of taxes.” Still, I stopped him and said, “That’s great for him—but his deal is not necessarily your deal. Why don’t we talk about where you are now, and then let’s talk about your objectives and where you want to be by the end of the deal? That will get you more comfortable with the decision of whether or not to sell and then we can decide on the best structure.”

And that’s what we did. As it happened, the reverse triangular merger wasn’t the best kind of deal for what Miguel wanted to achieve. In the end, the deal looked nothing like a reverse triangular merger, but, Miguel achieved all of his objectives, and happily sold his business.

Sometimes all it takes to go from hesitation to a profitable deal is gaining clarity on your objectives and your options. I’ve identified four things you can do as an owner that can help you lose the uncertainty of doing an M&A deal and set your business up for success.

Get clear on your objectives. From the overarching goals (are you a buyer or a seller?) to more minor line items in a deal, as the principle owner, you need to take the time to do the inner-work of identifying exactly what you want your deal to accomplish before moving forward. In the above example, Miguel wanted to do three things: receive fair value for his business, limit his tax exposure, and reach terms that would ensure the continuation of his business – that it wouldn’t be stripped for parts. Once we sat down and hashed out those terms, things got easier and Miguel become more comfortable with his decision to sell.

Find a strategic counterpart. You shouldn’t jump at the first buyer or the first seller that meets your acquisition needs. They might end up being the best fit, but drilling down on your strategic vision for the deal will help ensure that you find the right partner. This is especially important because an M&A deal isn’t always an exit scenario for an owner. In any deal, but especially if you will continue to be involved in the company post-deal, you need to be absolutely sure your counterpart is a perfect fit for your long-term goals, as well as a fit culturally.

Remember that due diligence will bring it all to bear. Whatever remaining questions or concerns you have should be answered during this process. While you’re deep into the M&A process at this point, it’s rare that an unconditional offer will have even been submitted much less a deal signed before completing an exhaustive due diligence period. Meaning, if your findings don’t leave you completely comfortable (regardless of which side of the deal you’re on), you can still walk away. This due diligence process will help clarify what you should be looking out for.

Stay detached from the outcome. Probably the most difficult and most important thing you can do for your M&A deal – especially if you’re a seller. With any deal like this, there’s going to be a lot of back and forth that might push some of your buttons. Even if the relationship to this point has been completely amicable, it’s still business and we’re all negotiating with our best outcomes at heart. If an offer doesn’t come close to the value you’ve got in mind for your business, don’t take it personally. You’ve done the work to get clear on your value and objectives – it’s on the other party to come to terms. As long as you stay detached from the outcome and are willing to accept that a deal might not get done, you’ll eventually land the deal that’s right for your business whether it is the one you are currently negotiating or not.

With global M&A trends on the rise, industry leaders are expecting the biggest year for deals in recent memory. Being prepared and approaching these big deals with a calm and cool mindset can make all the difference for your business. As an entrepreneur, I’ve made sure that at Kupfer & Associates, we’re bringing sharp business acumen to the M&A negotiation process – an approach that understands the needs and goals of today’s business owners. Let’s get M&A right.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Conversations About Difference

How Law Firms Can Embrace Diversity: Part Three

“No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”

-Voltaire

In the last two posts, we discussed the problems that allow the lack of diversity in law firms to persist and why we should care. It’s clear that they are largely entrenched systemic issues. To many, that might be enough to shrug and concede, thinking that the problems are too big and too immovable.

You know what I love about problems, though? No matter how complex and challenging, there is always a solution if you make the effort to find it. That’s what I want to do in this post. Find and discuss the solutions that I think more law firms need to not just think about, but enact.

First, it’s important we acknowledge that no single firm can bring about change at an industry scale. If that’s how we approach diversity initiatives, failure is inevitable. At that point, the problem is too big. But, if we focus on our own firms, and make changes to the way we do things under our own roof, that can be powerful. The more firms that make similar changes, the more the industry will change. So, start small.

Second thing before I get to specific solutions is, you don’t have to make every single change all at once and immediately. Yes, I think the need for changes in this area, in my industry, are urgent, but if we don’t do it right all of our efforts will be counter-productive. Focus on the solutions that you think can really work for your firm, plan the roll out of different initiatives well, and commit to seeing them through. Rushing this process helps no one as does approaching this as a sprint, quick fix or solely for compliance or PR reasons. This requires a long-term sustained commitment.

Now, what can your firm do to embrace diversity?

Understand that it all starts with culture. This is probably the biggest challenge, right? There’s a way you do things, those processes work, and you’ve enjoyed success doing things a certain way. In some ways (at least in the short-term, opening up to diversity can seem like a solution in need of a problem. I understand that mindset. I own my own firm, so I know exactly what’s at stake. Even so, there’s always room for growth and change in the short-run and over even the medium term you will lose ground if you don’t keep up with what the market increasingly demands. While adding diversity and inclusion to your firm’s core values is great, it is not close to enough. Doing so only sends a powerful message to current associates and partners, as well as candidates and clients if your firm lives those values and they permeate all that you do. It also lays the foundation for a culture that is open, respectful, and inclusive.

Prioritize diversity when hiring. The kneejerk reaction to this suggestion for many is to recoil at the notion of preferential treatment. Yet, that’s already what’s going on across the industry, except minorities are rarely on the receiving end of that preference. Many just don’t realize this because of in-group, often unconscious bias. There are studies showing that the same exact resume with a black sounding name gets significantly fewer interview opportunities than one with a white-sounding name. You may not even realize that you are discriminating – that is the nature of unconscious bias. Consciously making diversity a priority when hiring is a first step towards equity, and challenges the rigid objectivity so many claim to lionize above all else when reviewing candidates, which rigidity does not account for unconscious bias.

Prioritize inclusion when onboarding (and always). What’s more, you can’t treat new hires like quotas. They need to be onboarded with the idea that they will be valued, long-term members of your team. Creating support programs, providing regular feedback, and trusting new hires with meaningful work are all things we can do to develop a sustained culture of diversity and inclusion that benefits all. And more importantly, a culture of diversity that doesn’t stop at HR.

Make time for authentic conversations about differences. This is a place many companies are unwilling to go, but it is crucial – true diversity and inclusion will not be achieved without it. Diversity and inclusion cannot be a performative salve for the close-minded. That only perpetuates feelings of division and otherness. Rather, view this as an exercise about sharing the lived experiences and perspectives of all team members. If you make authentic conversations about differences a part of your best practices, not only will diversity feel natural, but a lack of diversity would be noticeable and uncomfortable. If you need a framework to support authentic conversations about difference, at Authentic Enterprises we have some great materials available for free download that can help you personally to start having the right conversations immediately: http://www.authenticconversationsaboutrace.com/. As a leader, use those materials to deepen your understanding and experience and so that you can model what you want your team to do. Those free materials are for individual use only, though. If you would like to train your team using Authentic Conversation About Difference, contact us. We can help.

If you’re able to implement some of these changes to your firm, I’m confident that you’ll notice the positive impact. The hardest part is always getting started, but we now understand the fundamental problem, the mechanisms that entrench the problem, and most importantly, we’ve identified solutions. If you have read this three-part blog series, it seems to me like you’ve already started. Now it’s time to take bold action!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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How Law Firms Can Embrace Diversity: Part Two

How Law Firms Can Embrace Diversity: Part Two

And Why They Need To

In our ongoing discussion about diversity in law, we’ve covered the present reality and the systemic forces that keep diversity numbers low at law firms. In this piece, I will discuss the benefits to your company of committing to diversity. In our last installment, next week, we will identify some valuable approaches and solutions to get you started on making critical changes at your firm.

It’s valuable to start this discussion by asking: why should your firm make diversity a priority? To me, it’s an ethical imperative (and an increasingly crucial road to more business success). It’s something that gets beyond the industry. It’s our duty to society. If we’re not striving to make the world a better place, what are we really doing?

I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, and if you’ve been reading along, my guess is you care deeply about this topic, like myself. Furthermore, I believe most of us understand the problem beyond the surface level and have a natural inclination toward the greater good. In a vacuum, I don’t doubt that we’d all make the right decision and our industry would be perfectly equitable.

I’m also an entrepreneur and understand that any major changes need to make business sense. That’s not cynical either. It’s reality, and a balance we have to strike daily. What good does a diversity program do if the business doesn’t sustain?

That’s a bit of a straw man, but we’re always guarding against an uncertain future, so let me make the business case about why your firm needs to embrace diversity.

Inclusivity is good for all. It creates a culture of openness that allows all people to be their true selves at work. What a huge step into making authenticity a central part of your business and one that has truly transformative potential. When your people are comfortable to be themselves, it will show in their work, it will show in better outcomes, it will show in success. What’s more, inclusivity sends a powerful message to clients about your company and your values, making your organization more attractive to a wider network of businesses.

Cultivating different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences adds value. When you have a team full of unique viewpoints and opinions, it can improve problem solving and conflict resolution, hone your messaging internally and market-facing, spur creativity, and drive innovation. In today’s world, if you are pushing forward with a homogeny of perspectives and opinions, your firm is likely doomed. Our economy is global now, and increasingly, so is our culture. Your team needs to be reflective of this reality, not just for the sake of diversity, but to ensure success well into the future.

It allows you to recruit better talent. Diversity is rightfully becoming a sincere societal value, especially with millennials. If your company puts diversity at the core of its culture and recruiting policy, you’re sure to have an easier time recruiting top, young talent. The present reality is that company culture and values matter more to today’s workforce than in any previous generation. If you want your company at the forefront, embrace diversity. Internally, strong diversity practice can open the eyes of your recruiting team. Oftentimes, we get so bogged down in our ways that we don’t know what we don’t know. We think we’re casting a wide net when we’re fishing in a tide pool. Diversity breaks down the systemic barriers that we didn’t realize were holding our firm back, and limiting eminently qualified candidates.

There’s a lot of great literature out there on strategies for improving your diversity policies and making it a priority. For your efforts to succeed, it not only needs to be sincere, but you’ll need an implementation plan that works for your business. If handled right, it could be a great benefit to your organization, and society. This is a topic that inspires me daily, and I’m looking forward to continuing our discussion in next week’s final installment. For further research on fostering diversity, check out the free downloadable materials available from Authentic Enterprises: http://www.authenticconversationsaboutrace.com/

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Conversations About Difference

Part One: How Law Firms Can Embrace Diversity

And Why They Need To

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
— Albert Einstein

We’ve identified that there is a diversity problem in law firms. It’s been a conversation for a long time, and many firms—with the best intentions—have tried to make diversity a serious aspect of their culture and business plan. However, the numbers are still lagging seriously behind other industries.

I have some ideas for how we can improve as an industry, but before we go into solutions, I think it’s important to discuss some of the things that are keeping law firms across the country from fully embracing diversity.

Unconscious Bias

When we’re surrounded by our in-group, we inevitably perceive those like us more favorably. For the most part it’s an evolutionary remnant—a survival instinct for when venturing outside our tribe could mean death. The stakes aren’t quite so high nowadays. Instead, women and minorities get unintentionally left on the periphery of informal networks that build out a firm. Furthermore, in a profession that aims to be meritocratic, white male partners might favor the work of white male associates without intending to, even if you control for quality. After a while, those instances add up, and when it’s time to give promotions, guess who’s getting picked?

Fear of Change

A big reason law firms are lagging behind is a cultural issue. Corporations are more responsive to diversity initiatives not just because they can offer positions that capture a wider range of talents, but also because the cultures of larger corporations are often more malleable. At large law firms, conformity is key to efficiency. Consequently, leaders fear that diversity can lead to instability. The hours and work are supremely demanding. There is the assumption that people all the way up the ladder have all done their time, put in the hours, and will continue doing so as needed. Their fear of change stems from an unwillingness to compromise on any aspect of the status quo. Unfortunately, this fear is inauthentic, based on the snowball fallacy that if exceptions are ever made for any one person or group, where does it end? It overlooks the exceptions given every day.

Nepotism

Sometimes, it really is about who you know. On average, white lawyers have an easier time switching law firms and are more likely to transfer with a friend or colleague. African American lawyers on the other hand have a more difficult time changing firms and are more likely to do so on their own. This trend perpetuates the naturally occurring selection systems and ad hoc filters that help people advance their careers. As these networks grow, the results become exponential. Partners are more likely to hire friends or people that trusted colleagues have vouched for. When women and minorities are underrepresented, so are their opinions and those for whom they would advocate. This is part of how lack of diversity becomes self-perpetuating.

Idealism

It seems counter-intuitive. Diversity is the idealistic notion we’re discussing, but that’s not how many lawyers think. Their idealism about the law actually obscures their perception of diversity. Lady Justice is blindfolded for a reason. Race or gender simply aren’t relevant factors for the practice. It sounds great. We’ve moved past white law and black law and women’s laws and men’s laws. The simple fact that those distinctions in the law ever existed at all dictates the necessity for diverse voices and experiences in firms of all sizes. In a perfect society, the law would be an objective concept, but the truth is that—even today—the law affects certain people and groups differently than others.

In the next entry, we’re going to unpack how law firms can overcome these entrenched behaviors and discuss some of the solutions I think would be most impactful for the future of diversity in the industry.

Diversity and authenticity are inextricable to me. If you’re living an authentic life and have accessed your inner truth, embracing diversity isn’t a choice so much as a by-product of realizing that we’re all part of one human family. The differences we perceive are conceptions of fear and rooted in attitudes of scarcity. Overcoming our biases is not only crucial to living a full life, but also to Authentic Negotiating success. Are you ready to transform your life and business? Download free materials, from the Authentic Conversations About Race project, that will get you started on fostering constructive dialogue around diversity.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Conversations About Difference

Introduction: How Law Firms Can Embrace Diversity

And Why They Need To

“If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”
— John F. Kennedy

Law is a hyper-specialized profession. In an age where information brokerage is no longer the exclusive purview of the experts, law still retains its authority as a calling.

That also means law firms—in most cases—feel justified in hiring and building out their teams based on rigid meritocracy. Considering what’s at stake in many cases, few could blame them for sticking to such a system.

Unfortunately, they also use it to rationalize a lack of diversity, only paying lip service to it in mission statements and web copy. The reality is that diverse perspectives and experiences would make their firm stronger.

Statistics from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) indicate a need for robust and aggressive diversity initiatives across the industry. Despite graduation rates among men and women being a near 50/50 split, the representation of female associates as of 2015 was 44.68 percent, the lowest level since 2006. The higher up the ladder we move, the more skewed the numbers get. Only 21.6 percent of women are partners at major law firms, and just 17.4 percent are equity partners.

Though improved of late, the statistics among minorities are even more discouraging. Per the NALP, even though minorities represented 27 percent of the graduating class in 2014, only 13.97 percent went onto become lawyers at large firms. What’s more, minorities were less likely to be hired full-time than non-minorities, and African Americans were less likely to enter into private practice than any other minority group. Only 22 percent of minorities become associates at large firms, while just 7.52 percent advance to become partners. Most tellingly, only 2.5 percent of partners at larger firms were minority women (infographic: minority statistics; infographic: women statistics).

Striking, right? Surely, there are extenuating circumstances that can explain some of the disparity, but not close to all if it. Additionally, I’m not putting other law firms on trial here for conscious discrimination. I don’t believe that there’s been any malicious intent for the far majority. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be self-critical and strive to improve as unconscious bias, institutional racism and lack of commitment to effective action run rampant. I’m constantly seeking feedback and making efforts to improve myself; it shouldn’t be a radical notion to expect the same of my industry.

My personal commitment to diversity reached an even deeper level after spending time in villages in Ghana, Uganda, and India in the late 90s and early 2000s. The perspectives of the people from these places astounded me. They taught me so much. These were people with so little but who had so much joy, and sense of connection. From then on, I redefined myself as a world citizen connected to all of humanity. It’s why I connect to the quote above. Our differences will never end, but we can always seek understanding. Creating safe spaces for diversity should be a priority for every profession, especially the legal industry.

Many firms will make much of their diversity policy, but ultimately it requires urgent action. As an industry there needs to be an ethic of “practice what you preach.” At Kupfer & Associates, we’ve made diversity a priority and it’s proven invaluable to our firm and business. I’ve learned so much from my team over the years, and our diversity has helped us approach deals with fresh perspectives and fearless creativity.

Diversity and authenticity are inextricable to me. If you’re living an authentic life and have accessed your inner truth, embracing diversity isn’t a choice so much as a by-product of realizing that we’re all part of one human family. The differences we perceive are conceptions of fear and rooted in attitudes of scarcity. Overcoming our biases is not only crucial to living a full life, but also to Authentic Negotiating success. Are you ready to transform your life and business? Download free materials, from the Authentic Conversations About Race project, that will get you started on fostering constructive dialogue around diversity.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!