I subscribe to Selling Power Magazine. I recommend the magazine because I find ideas that just might work for lawyers. On the last page of each issue are quotations. Some are applicable to lawyers and law firms. My April/May/June issue arrived last week. On the last page was a quote from management consultant Lawrence Miller.

Achievement of excellence can only occur if organization promotes culture of creative dissatisfaction.

I think this quote applies to law firms. If it does, what does it mean? Let me give a major league baseball example:

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. I was a Chicago White Sox fan and my favorite player was Minnie Minoso.

During my “informative” years, the White Sox typically finished 2nd or 3rd in the American League behind the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians. But, the team , known as the “Go Go Sox” were always striving to make it to the top. Each year, they got closer to their goal. Finally, in 1959, when I was in 7th grade, they won the pennant and played against the Dodgers in the World Series. Here is a great summary of 1959 Chicago White Sox season. While I was elated, there was only one thing disappointing (other than losing to the Dodgers in the World Series). The year before, my hero had been traded to the Cleveland Indians.

Other than my nostalgia for my favorite team and player, what is the point? First, there is a really fine line between “creative dissatisfaction” and destructive dissatisfaction. Law firms can create a culture of creative dissatisfaction when leaders convey  a burning desire to take the firm to the next level.  Firms striving to take the firm to the next level achieve as close to excellence as they are capable of achieving. Law firms that are like the 1950s Yankees, who won the American League pennant 8 of the 10 years, are generally very content and satisfied. They may be better law firms, but I doubt they are achieving the level of excellence they are capable of achieving. I always wanted to be a lawyer in a firm like the “Go Go Sox.’