Are you a GRINDER, MINDER OR FINDER? Breaking Free!!

The credit for this heading goes to one of the most enlightened Professional Services commentators of his generation, David Maister. According to his last blog post released on 5 January 2010 he has now retired.

I first came across his works having read Tom Peters’ book, The PSF 50 and have since met a number of people who either attended a speaking engagement of David’s or have read his books.

The trio hardly needs any elucidation; but just in case you don’t recognise them:

“Grinder” – someone who is happiest sitting behind a desk and processing the work. The lowly paid paralegal these days, or someone who has lost all their passion, love or interest in the profession;

“Minder” – perhaps more commonly known as a safe pair of hands. They may be a frustrated Finder but rarely have the courage, faith or conviction to escape their tag;

“Finder” – nowadays called a Rainmaker. These are supposedly the Superstars/prima donnas who can do no wrong so long, of course, that they continue to land the big fish.

For me, as former solicitor, I find these terms inelegant and pejorative but they still have a resonance with a lot of senior lawyers.

I am not suggesting that these terms have had there day or are not in some respects accurate, but they are a double-edged sword. On the one hand you know (supposedly) the talent pool that you have available to develop and move your firm forward. But, on the other hand, the moment one of these labels is applied it is the same as imposing a glass ceiling, certainly for the first two categories.

Whichever category you feel best summarises where you are right now, I implore you not to play the victim.

You are not powerless to change your situation.

As Tom Peters says in his book, Reimagine!:

“Getting Things Done” ultimately is not about “power” or “rank.” It’s about … PASSION and IMAGINATION and PERSISTENCE.

This trio is not some ranking system, either.

Every law firm needs a mixture of those people who are most comfortable doing the work and those that like more face to face contact and all I am advocating, and have been for a long time, is that limiting self-beliefs, of whatever type, are just not permitted. No one is allowed to stand behind one of these labels to avoid working on themself, following their passion and realising their absolute maximum potential as a human being.

If you feel you are stuck then why don’t you have a Grinders/Minder or Finders Convention to see how you can: (a) break free or be recognised for your invaluable contribution; or (b) pool your expert thinking of winning the hearts and minds of your clients.

If nothing else, think Big and great things will gravitate to you.

4 responses to “Are you a GRINDER, MINDER OR FINDER? Breaking Free!!”

  1. Julian — I don’t mean to drizzle on your parade, but the term finder, minder, grinder (which I actually did not see on Maister’s web site, but no matter) is a term that’s been used since the 1970’s. The term, as originally applied in law firms and all too often still in use, denoted a heirarchy for compensating law firm partners, with “finders” being at the top of the heirarchy. Over the years, the application of this system has actually been quite destructive.

  2. Julian — I don’t mean to drizzle on your parade, but the term finder, minder, grinder (which I actually did not see on Maister’s web site, but no matter) is a term that’s been used since the 1970’s. The term, as originally applied in law firms and all too often still in use, denoted a heirarchy for compensating law firm partners, with “finders” being at the top of the heirarchy. Over the years, the application of this system has actually been quite destructive.

  3. Jerome thanks for the post. I think we are singing off the same hymm sheet ref the self-limiting nature of these terms. David’s expression can be found in his book, Managing the Professesional Service Firm the details of which are on my reading list on my LinkedIn profile.

    Regards
    Julian

  4. Jerome thanks for the post. I think we are singing off the same hymm sheet ref the self-limiting nature of these terms. David’s expression can be found in his book, Managing the Professesional Service Firm the details of which are on my reading list on my LinkedIn profile.

    Regards
    Julian

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