And it does not take long to become personally, departmentally, corporately obsolete - as household name corporate failures and trade press headlines about GC's being made redundant illustrate regularly.
So you have made it to a senior position. Congratulations! And now you have three options:
- start the hard work... and stand still;
- sit back, relax, enjoy the view and the prestige... and
- start the harder work... and grow; or
be un-remployably (sic) "out the door" before long.
So, for most of us it is option 1 to do and option 2 to strive for then!
There is an old saying "would you trust an accountant with bad personal finances?" Or a clergyperson who did not practise what they preach?
So why should you trust a relationship adviser and maker who cannot make, manage and, when needed, exit their own relationships effectively? And why should you trust a senior leader in the business who talks about innovation, inclusiveness and diversity good practice - but then does not "walk the talk"?
So as the GC you are a relationship adviser. After all making, managing and exiting a contract, whether it be a marriage contract, a supply or sales contract, an employment contract - or even an international treaty - requires integrity, planning, delivery, monitoring and a host of other factors.
Because the contract is simply the written manifestation of how two parties intend to interact - the things that they must do and not do to each other.
And this process of identifying what is wanted. Sourcing the best partners to interact with and then checking for mutual understanding of what has been agreed through documentation and for mutual commitment through signature, is the combined domain of the legal and procurement functions.
So we need collectively to get it right for other parts of our legal person's (our company's) interaction with other legal people generally - but most particularly when it relates to our own legal teams procurement of services, tools, advice and staff.
After all why should someone in your business trust you to advise them on and to document their intended relationships and to follow your guidance to them to work with procurement in doing so if they can see that you are not yourself practising what you preach??
As a senior leader and an ethical and good person in the business you should be promoting, encouraging innovation, diversity and sustainability as these things are part of the legal and ethical framework within which businesses need to operate in order to achieve longer term success and to build enduring customer, staff and other stakeholder engagement.
So are you practising "at home" in your team and in the relationships you create and manage with your suppliers (of all types) the values that you should be preaching as a leader and encouraging and supporting in other parts of the business?