Competition and collaboration are two sides of the same coin, both are a critical part of business success. Leaders must effectively integrate both to get ahead in the disruptive global economy we exist in today. To that point, I was a guest on the Vanguard conversation series sharing a case study about how the DuPont Legal Model integrated the tensions of presence between competition and collaboration. The video of that conversation is below. Scroll down for the transcript, if you aren’t able to watch the video. Or you can listen to it as a podcast on the Apple Podcast App or online here: Innovative Influence with Suzi Pomerantz
InviteCHANGE hosts a series of Vanguard conversations that are open to the public and they describe it as:
“Leaders at the vanguard of ideas and change inspire us to loosen our grip on the comfortable status quo, in favor of exploring new possibilities that better align with the altering patterns of our personal and professional lives. As we shape a world where people love their life’s work, this live conversation series showcases global leaders who embody the curiosity and discernment that stimulates a new relationship with change.
Join CEO of inviteCHANGE, Janet M. Harvey, MCC, and her co-host, CEO of Choice Magazine, Garry Schleifer, PCC, with their guest, CEO of Innovative Leadership International, Suzi Pomerantz, MCC. Explore the idea of being comfortable with the tension that exists between Competition and Collaboration.”
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Well, welcome everybody to the 2023 Vanguard Conversation series. I’m Janet M. Harvey CEO, of invite change, and please join me in expressing a special thank you to our Co-Host and sponsor choice magazine founder and publishing editor, Garry Scleifer.
Garry: Yay, thank you very much. Recent issue healthcare coaching. Read it, even if you’re not in the healthcare industry. It is a great issue.
Janet: You did a fabulous job of curating the authors. I have read every single article really, really enjoyed this one. It’s fun to take a a deep dive into a vertical industry that way.
hmm! Maybe that’s an idea of her future issues. anyway. So what are we doing here at Vanguard each of the episodes. This year we’ve brought a different is inspirational, global, visionary leader to join us and exploring a thorny problem they faced and how they navigated it. Part of what we’re doing. And you see this in the instrument that we gave you, and I think it will be posted here in chat shortly.
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): The tensions of presence method was something that I started to notice with leaders that the thornier the problem, the deeper they needed to be in reflection.
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): and I know deeper is kind of a tough word what the heck does that mean? Behaviorally? So part of what we’re doing here is maybe looking underneath a bit to say.
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): what is this skill set of self reflection about what’s actually occurring? Not what we think or what we assume, or what we prefer, or maybe historically have accepted is occurring
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): right? We all like shortcuts in business, because time is money, and sometimes that backfires that we need to pull back for a little perspective and dig a little deeper into some of the reasons and the root causes that our biases shown up. And we’re not really understanding the whole story
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): which goes to boy, aren’t we working in
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): unprecedented times? We are absolutely feeling disrupted every time we turn around. And
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): that’s actually not a reason to go faster. It’s a reason to go a little slower and to spend some quality time and the emotional courage necessary to say, I don’t have all the answers.
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): and want to lean into the people who have been involved in this, who might see it from a slightly different perspective. And this is the beginning of collaboration, which yes, this is what we’re talking about today, competition and collaboration. But before we go there I want to turn it over to Garry, who will also share a few thoughts and introduce our global visionary leader for today.
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): Well, thank you, Janet, as we’ve mentioned, vanguard is
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): means many things. But to us, being at the forefront of ideas that are emerging, so we can proactively disrupt our thinking. Remember that proactively. I have a note up here, and it says, be provocative and bold, and I’m going to add provocative.
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): One of the easy ways to think about how we don’t act or think that way is in a tradition of Thanksgiving
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): turkey and cranberry sauce. So those of you that know American traditions? That’s one of them. So what’s turkey without cranberry sauce. Well, our conversation focuses on our experience of life today rather than a theory, an outcome, a process, or a promotion to provide, to buy anything. We invite you to transform
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): your process of listening
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): to getting something, to giving yourself an opportunity to experiment and learn through practical application that is relevant to your life.
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): My goodness, what can we say about Suzi? So thank you for throw tossing over to me, cause I was, gonna say.
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): Suzi Pomerantz.
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): dear, dear friend known, for II don’t know. What did we say the other day at least 20 years
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): the co-creator of the library of professional coaching, one of the very first master certified coaches in our profession.
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): Oh, my gosh! I don’t know. I just get chills thinking about her. She’s a dear friend. We do everything that we can together. She’s on the editorial board of Choice magazine. She’s our strategic advisor. She is. What else? Hold on! There’s one more.
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): She’s the writer of our sticky situations. She’s one of the people that weighs in on the sticky situations in every episode issue of choice. What else would you like us to add, Suzi.
Suzi: that I’m just honored and excited to be invited to be here with you guys and get to play with you.
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): We are, too. I can’t tell you when we, when we had you, you were Number one on our list of people, and we’re glad we could match you with this tension of presence. And you have a great story coming up, and I can’t wait.
Suzi Pomerantz: Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. This this tensions of presences really near and dear to my heart, because we’re looking at going from competition to collaboration. And I’ve had my coaching business for 30 years now.
Suzi Pomerantz: and in the beginning I worked predominantly with lawyers, and lawyers in America are probably the most competitive. I mean, next to professional athletes. Right? So they breathe competition.
Suzi Pomerantz: And the story I’m gonna share with you is about the business driven necessity
Suzi Pomerantz: for lawyers at one of America’s oldest corporations to actually become collaborative. And this happened back in the mid nineties. In the early 19 nineties the chairman of the Board of Dupont. The Chemical Company challenged the company to cut a billion dollars 1 billion with a B in operating costs. They wanted to cut a billion in operating costs hard to get our brains around that those of us that are small businesses.
Suzi Pomerantz: But at the time I was coaching leaders in the law department there, and the law Department was
Suzi Pomerantz: committed to doing their part to contribute to this 1 billion dollar challenge. And they realized when they started looking at the practice of law inside this corporation, that they were gonna have to change their thinking.
Suzi Pomerantz: just to set a little context kind of the way in the past Dupont had operated was
Suzi Pomerantz: kind of a steady, predictable pace in a contained marketplace, and what they found in the early to mid 19 nineties is that they had to create some really profound transformational paradigm shifts because
Suzi Pomerantz: they had to deal with. Suddenly this fast paced, interconnected global economy that was
Suzi Pomerantz: rapidly increasing their legal costs. So let me give you some numbers to make this a little more real.
Suzi Pomerantz: So at the time when they started evaluating and assessing how they were doing the practice of law, and what would need to change, and what change might look like.
Suzi Pomerantz: They had over 6,000 legal cases on their docket. So 6,000 lawsuits and they were spending in in that year that they looked at it. 97 million dollars on lawsuits and the cycle time of these lawsuits
Suzi Pomerantz: from filing to resolution was taking them about 40 months, 39 to 40 months. It was a long cycle time.
Suzi Pomerantz: and they had they had been working with. In addition to their Internal law department. They had over 350 external law firms providing legal services to them, and what they realized all of this was
Suzi Pomerantz: they. They they really couldn’t afford as a company to be working with and paying 300 law firms. And something had to change if they were gonna cut costs.
They did this analysis. And they looked at the fact that 90% of their cases were settling. However. 80% of their litigation costs were spent in the discovery phase. So
Suzi Pomerantz: for those of you like me who are not lawyers, the discovery phases, all of the data sharing all of the document, sharing all of the research, all of the
Suzi Pomerantz: You give us everything you have. We’ll give you everything we have, and we gotta learn each other’s stuff before we can go to court. So that’s the discovery phase. So if they were spending 80% of their litigation costs 80% of this 97 million dollars is being spent in discovery. They started to analyze. Well, what? Why, right? That’s yes, that’s
00:10:04.770 –> 00:10:10.680
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): done it. But what are the underlying beliefs and principles and values that got us here.
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Was there something, Janet? You wanted to know? Exactly. That’s exactly. I mean, that’s the heart of it. Right? Don’t don’t keep doing the same old thing.
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Suzi Pomerantz: Yeah. And they discovered a number of things actually,
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Suzi Pomerantz: but one of the main discoveries in that was that
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Suzi Pomerantz: instead of being focused on the practice of law and trying to be super thorough in analyzing and researching all this discovery material and
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Suzi Pomerantz: trying to avoid risk and trying to win each case as if it were a bet. The company kind of a case. They realized, maybe we can be more strategic here, and maybe we can step back and look at it from a more global perspective. And maybe there’s other ways to think about this that will help us to reduce the outside, because we’re not necessarily
00:11:02.720 –> 00:11:15.100
Suzi Pomerantz: focusing on the whole in terms of the practice of law for Dupont we are focused on winning each case at all costs, and that’s costing us time, money, etc.
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Suzi Pomerantz: So how do we get from the competition to collaboration? So here’s here’s what they did. They. They created something called the Dupont legal model. And I mean, if you Google it today, there’s still tons of stuff about it, because it was completely transformational in the field of law. At the time. This Dupont legal model basically turned turned the practice of law on its head. And instead of it being
00:11:41.220 –> 00:11:57.909
Suzi Pomerantz: just a corporate law department that works with over 300 external law firms, they started to say, Okay, what if we create something in the spirit of partnership. What would that look like? What if we reduced our number of outside law firms.
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Suzi Pomerantz: but did it with specific criteria, and made it like a competition where the outside law firms had to get aligned with us in our thinking and in our values, and they had to put their money where their mouth is in order to play with us and get to be our law firms, and
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Suzi Pomerantz: would that work? Would they be willing to do that?
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Suzi Pomerantz: So this convergence they called it convergence. This convergence process took about a year, and what they ended up doing was coming together with like 34 different primary law firms. They called them primary law firms, and what was really fun as a coach in this was to get to see that the primary law firms, you know, they had
00:12:40.540 –> 00:12:54.889
Suzi Pomerantz: for each one. They had, like an engagement partner for each of these 34 primary law firms that were selected, and they all had to be aligned around certain core principles like they wanted, Dupont said. We want these primary law firms to
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Suzi Pomerantz: to value diversity more. We want we wanna increase the hiring of diverse legal staff to represent our cases. We wanna retain and have more contributions from women and
00:13:10.370 –> 00:13:25.860
Suzi Pomerantz: underrepresented groups. And that’s gonna be important to us. So if you’re just giving us the same old white men on every case, we’re not gonna be counting you as one of our primary law firms, and this created a scramble in the law firm side of how side of the house
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Suzi Pomerantz: the law firms realized. Hey, we haven’t been hiring for this. We’ve been hiring people who
00:13:31.240 –> 00:13:47.570
Suzi Pomerantz: remind us of our most successful partners, so we’ve got a lot of old white dudes, and maybe some white women who kind of remind us of our our sisters and mothers. Right? So this was a big on the law firm side, which, as a coach, you get to hear these kinds of things.
00:13:47.600 –> 00:13:57.660
Suzi Pomerantz: Which was really kind of the fun part for me was was being being able to witness all of this transformation unfolding as they thought, through it.
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Suzi Pomerantz: So there were. These were the elements. They had to have diverse staffing. They had to embrace technology. The law firms that served with coupon had to embrace technology because they were gonna create a wide area network that everybody was linked on that Dupont and the law firms that were in this primary law firm group were all linked together through technology using the same technology. So the law firms were gonna have to spend money to do that
00:14:21.690 –> 00:14:36.370
Suzi Pomerantz: which was unheard of at the time. You know. Wh. This was not a marketing budget. This is not taking your client to a ball game to get the business. This is now you have to transform how you practice law to work with this client
00:14:36.670 –> 00:14:56.469
Suzi Pomerantz: strategic partnering. It was based on mutual trust. It was based on sharing the risk and reward collaborating in service of the client. This was a stated objective right? You competitive lawyers will collaborate on our behalf. Really bold for a corporation to say that kind of thing.
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Suzi Pomerantz: And have to. This was the piece that was really interesting to me. Everyone who who came into this Dupont legal model had to commit to each other’s financial success.
00:15:07.250 –> 00:15:34.110
Suzi Pomerantz: That means not just the law firms committing to Dupont financial success, not just Dupont committing to the law firms financial success. But these competitor law firms committing to each other’s financial success very interesting belief or philosophy that had to be implemented to be part of this conversions. The other piece was early case assessments. So really doing this kind of analysis of the case, like, how thorough do we really need to be?
00:15:34.140 –> 00:15:51.109
Suzi Pomerantz: Looking at alternative fees, doing value based billing as opposed to just the hourly billing that they always do doing some strategic budgeting, but really shifting from being like an order taker, legal provider to
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Suzi Pomerantz: a business focused business driven case management partner with the client and with these other law firms. So let me pause there and see if there’s questions on kind of what that premise was. Cause. There’s a lot of moving parts in there.
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Well, and really a dramatic transformation, and how they thought about the business and definitely competition and collaboration. And I’m curious, you know, as a coach you have an insider’s view.
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): What were some of the beliefs that were coming up. and
00:16:20.550 –> 00:16:35.939
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): preferences, perhaps maybe some biases that were prevalent in the senior partners who had to sign off on changing these criteria and be able to, you know, stand confidently to say, you will make this investment, and it will be good for you. You’ll like it.
00:16:36.230 –> 00:16:45.440
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): What did they have to change in themselves in order to even pitch this to the partners at the outside law firm.
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Suzi Pomerantz: Yeah, I mean the the belief that
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Suzi Pomerantz: every case is worth taking to, you know, all the way through trying to get to settlement, but going in lawsuit to get to settlement. The the fact they had to. They had beliefs about
00:17:04.440 –> 00:17:06.490
Suzi Pomerantz: that. Lawyers wouldn’t
00:17:06.619 –> 00:17:16.749
Suzi Pomerantz: want to collaborate because of their competitive nature, so they had to let go of that. They had beliefs that these outside law firms wouldn’t want to spend money on technology.
00:17:16.960 –> 00:17:32.490
Suzi Pomerantz: They were there, were you? One of the habits was clearly the, you know. Everybody looked the same. There was not much diversity representing these cases. So it was really
00:17:32.900 –> 00:17:39.619
Suzi Pomerantz: it. It was the kind of thing where it was bold, and that it created a lot of grumbling on the part of
00:17:39.710 –> 00:17:51.449
Suzi Pomerantz: these 300 law firms that had something to lose and not, you know, if they weren’t willing to transform their entire law firm to work in this way with this one client.
00:17:51.560 –> 00:17:56.060
Suzi Pomerantz: But there was also the ones that did come on board
00:17:56.650 –> 00:18:03.670
Suzi Pomerantz: were able to shift to a belief that if this works for this client. this might give us an edge with other clients.
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Suzi Pomerantz: Wow! So it becomes an innovation by collaborating and not competing exactly exactly.
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Suzi Pomerantz: There was a quote in. So there was a book that got produced here. And if you guys can see this legal model a New Year. This was reproduced in the
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Suzi Pomerantz: Oh, I don’t know. I’m getting so it was. It was produced in 1999. So we started the legal model it 92 is when the chairman said, Cut a billion. And that’s when this kind of process began. And then this whole book was put together with all of the the aspects of the legal model. And one of the quotes in here
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Suzi Pomerantz: is that, competition and organizational changes go together. Firms who are unable to implement major organizational changes will slip behind the competition and suffer embracing change will be a critical factor for success.
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Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): Yeah. So back to what? What Janet was saying. They’re the leaders. Fear of change.
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Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): not just resistance. But it’s like. I. Yeah. don’t. We all hear stories of fear fears of change.
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): you know, this was a. This was a very interesting discussion I was having yesterday with a mastermind group about what is it that gets
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): into the psyche of leaders that has them stay so attached to the status quo.
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): If the chairman hadn’t said, you need to cut a billion dollars, or else. If the leaders at Dupont couldn’t see. You know what. We’ve got some habits like hiring people that look like us, a bunch of white guys that don’t look like our customers.
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): and few more things that you mentioned here. If they hadn’t paused to notice.
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): they wouldn’t have come up with a new strategy, and they would have been the ones that would have been behind the curve.
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Suzi Pomerantz: Right? That’s exactly right. That is exactly right.
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Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): And I and I’d love to know who that was, because there’s the statement, drop a billion dollars. So he that would probably wasn’t him. most likely him. Who was it that took that pause to say.
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Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): what if we transformed the whole business model? It was not even the. It wasn’t even the
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Suzi Pomerantz: the head of the law department. It was his second in command. So the head of Law Department was supportive of this, of course, but the the ideas came from a guy named Tom Sager, who was the Vice President at the time? And and Tom brought in
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Suzi Pomerantz: a really a really transformational consulting.
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Suzi Pomerantz: forward thinking, Guy named Dan Luzack, who is no longer living. Unfortunately,
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Suzi Pomerantz: and Dan Luzack is the really the mastermind behind. Seeing all of these things, and as a coach, II came in as part of Dan’s team, and ended up coaching Tom directly for about 12 years. So it was. It really was quite fun to have a front row seat. To all of this, as Tom coaching
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Suzi Pomerantz: to see his sort of growing awareness throughout this process cause at first, when Dan started talking about these things with the folks at Dupont.
00:21:31.600 –> 00:21:35.270
Suzi Pomerantz: There was quite a bit of resistance, as you can imagine. Yeah,
00:21:35.730 –> 00:21:56.110
Suzi Pomerantz: But Tom was really the first guy who got his brain around it was able to run with it was able to spearhead. It was able to connect the dots and get the resources lined up inside Dupont to really make some of this happen. And then there were Tom’s team. Tom had a huge team of people that went and talked to, you know, have the conversations with all of these law firms, and
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): brought in the the partners. And so you said something really interesting there that Dan was able to connect the dots, and I think this is, coaches are in this position all the time, where the need for the change gets revealed right that gets evoked in the awareness. But it’s like, Oh, my God! Now, what do we do? So how did Dan make it into a connect? The dots to me is is a little bit like cause and effect.
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Right? So this is what’s happening is causing this consequence. We wanna do something different. It means we need to be different.
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): What dots was he connecting for them that they could stomach collaboration
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Suzi Pomerantz: it? So lawyers and business leaders always think bottom line. So Dan was able to point to how these transformational changes were not just nice to have, but directly connected to the bottom line, right? So it was hard originally for them to see. Well, if I’m bringing on women and people of color who are gonna be younger and less experienced, was the belief right? How are they gonna serve our cases? And, by the way, don’t we wanna reduce our cases? So are we setting up these young
00:23:05.130 –> 00:23:17.179
Suzi Pomerantz: women and minorities to fail right like it was all these layers of what ifs? And Dan was able to cut through that he was really quite brilliant, and he was able to cut through that in a way that
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Suzi Pomerantz: connected the dots directly
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Suzi Pomerantz: for them in their language about the business results. And let me just jump to the results that got. So as a result of this Dupont legal model.
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Suzi Pomerantz: the 6,000 cases on the docket got cut to 1,700 cases. So that’s big the 97 million dollars that it was costing them to do this
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Suzi Pomerantz: in the. In the first 3 years they saved 13 million dollars, and continued after that to save between 8 and 12 million dollars per year, and at the 15 year mark of the program had saved, they could point directly to bottom line savings of 175 million dollars. By doing this Dupont legal model stuff. The cycle time, if you recall it, was like 39 to 40 months that reduced down to 22 months of cycle time.
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Suzi Pomerantz: and the the 350 law firms became these 34 primary law firms and some service providers in there as well. And and it really became
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Suzi Pomerantz: we had. We had annual and midyear meetings with all of the primary law firms and service providers and and the the key people at Dupont legal and as a coach it was so much fun to see this collaboration form. There was so much bonding. That this group really was committed to all these same goals aligned on all these values in it for the same
00:24:49.680 –> 00:25:00.829
Suzi Pomerantz: purposes. It really was an experience of the rising tide raises all ships, and everybody was in it together. So it really was such a great feeling of team
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Suzi Pomerantz: and then there were some really creative spin offs that happened. As a result, like there was a minority corporate council network that was created because all of these people who were coming into this world somewhat for the first time. Right in this corporate law world. They got to create their own
00:25:20.290 –> 00:25:44.020
Suzi Pomerantz: connections in a in a network. And then there was a Dupont women, lawyers, network that got created so that the women could kind of create a parallel universe, and what the the fun part about that was. The women did things around marketing and business development in collaboration with their competitors that was so transformational in the field of law that they then got noticed by the bigger Dupont network.
00:25:44.020 –> 00:25:56.439
Suzi Pomerantz: who said, Hey, teach us how to do that? You know. What? What is it. You figured out over here that looks like a like collaboration on steroids. What is that? So, yeah, really fun to be part of that experience.
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): So that, you know, you’re really highlighting the tension. Competition doesn’t go away. Collaboration doesn’t replace it. They work in unison in a different ratio in different contexts. But when we let them both coexist, and we can start to think more creatively. I mean to me, this is a lesson in change.
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): That collaborative came up with consistency around goal values and purpose. And then they opened up the gates and said, What do we do?
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Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Brilliant, just brilliant.
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Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): And and you know and I wanna say. hearing your story.
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Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): I had the feeling that that Tom and Dan, whatever there was that
00:26:39.300 –> 00:26:45.279
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): pause that Janet talks about. There was. There was a moment where somebody took a breath
00:26:45.410 –> 00:26:51.330
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): and something else entered into their mind. Another possibility like it’s it’s it’s
00:26:51.390 –> 00:26:53.379
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): tangible in your story
00:26:53.580 –> 00:26:57.750
Suzi Pomerantz: that actually happened every time Dan stood up in front of the room and talked.
00:26:57.910 –> 00:27:03.649
Suzi Pomerantz: He created pause just in his speaking. He he was one of these that
00:27:04.040 –> 00:27:07.399
Suzi Pomerantz: he would stand up and say something, and you could just see
00:27:07.690 –> 00:27:20.100
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): like you can physically see, mine’s change right? You could see people listening. What did that guy just tell me.
00:27:20.430 –> 00:27:30.759
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): so I’d like to give the audience an opportunity to go around, go away and play a little bit, and then come back and ask Suzy some clarifying questions and share some comments, if you like.
00:27:30.960 –> 00:27:39.810
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): and keep this simple with each other. Maybe you both get to go. You’ll have about 10 min together. Please say your name. And
00:27:39.990 –> 00:27:56.309
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): a way that’s really easy to connect is what’s a top personal or professional value for yourself. So take a moment to please do that. And then you might think about a thorny problem that you’re facing right now and work your way through at least the first of the 3 steps.
00:27:56.400 –> 00:28:21.750
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): and then look at the second one, and see if by saying it out loud and having it be witnessed, you realize, oh, my God! We have such a preference to doing blah blah blah, right? That’s the status quo side of things. Or maybe you recognize that some of the players have a certain bias. See if you can start to get your reflection. Muscles strengthened a bit when you’re working together just conversationally, and
00:28:21.840 –> 00:28:38.170
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): will put you into pairs, and so I know that my colleague Aaron, is doing some magic in the background. There you’ll get a join button here in just a second and we’ll close it at 10 min, which means you still have 60 s. Don’t forget, and we’ll see on the other side.
00:28:38.340 –> 00:28:39.460
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Have some fun.
00:28:40.050 –> 00:28:44.700
Erin Moncada: There’s gonna be one, I think one group of 3. Yeah.
00:28:45.010 –> 00:28:47.420
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): great. Thank you. Erin.
00:28:47.610 –> 00:28:49.870
Erin Moncada: Yeah. Here we go.
00:28:50.900 –> 00:28:52.119
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Thank you.
00:28:53.620 –> 00:29:19.050
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Well, welcome back everyone. While you were working, Gary and Susie and I continued our conversation a little bit, and there are a couple of nuggets that Susie would like to share, and then floor is open to comment about your experience in the breakout room or ask Suzy a question to amplify something in the story. If you would please go ahead and raise your hand, cause it’ll help us queue to make sure that we anybody that wants to. Your
00:29:19.050 –> 00:29:26.600
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): you’re certainly welcome to make a comment, and if you’re shy and not feeling like you want to use your voice, feel free to put it into
00:29:26.640 –> 00:29:28.410
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): alright over to you, Suzy
00:29:28.840 –> 00:29:52.409
Suzi Pomerantz: Janet, I’ve already forgotten what I was thinking about. You said to me. This was my first corporate assignment as a Co. Right? Right? So it was. I was a very young coach. I was 24 years old when all of this was happening. It was my very first corporation and my very first corporate law department, and what ended up happening as a result of this work?
00:29:52.470 –> 00:30:19.649
Suzi Pomerantz: In my coaching business was that for the first and 10 years of my coaching business. The majority of my clients were all lawyers, and I am not so. Janet was saying. You know, as far as niche for those of you who are coaches who are worried about, you know, choosing your niche. I did not choose that niche. I would not have chosen that niche, or need the French way to say it. But it chose me, and
00:30:19.900 –> 00:30:31.900
Suzi Pomerantz: ended up being really quite a lot of fun, because they were so brilliant. And you know, once I learned kinda how they think, and once I learn to be prepared to be
00:30:31.980 –> 00:30:46.809
Suzi Pomerantz: in the deposition phase at the beginning of every relationship and then then it ended up being great fun to work with them. But now II work predominantly with Ceos and scientists. Oddly enough,
00:30:46.960 –> 00:30:59.229
Suzi Pomerantz: But I don’t think I have any. I have one lawyer now, one lawyer still, and there’s Suzy that actually Gary was hinting at in the bio. But this is the other part of the story is telling the truth.
00:30:59.520 –> 00:31:10.610
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): She walked into Tom’s office, and he put his glasses down his nose, and she said, I bet I know what you’re thinking. And then what did you say?
00:31:10.970 –> 00:31:36.279
Suzi Pomerantz: Yeah, he he was looking at me over his bifocals, and when I said, I bet I know what you’re thinking. He kind of sat back in his chair and crossed his arms and and said, Oh, really, what am I thinking? And I said, you’re thinking, who the hell is this little girl? And what is she doing in my office? And he busted out laughing, because that’s exactly what he was thinking, and that was the beginning of a relationship where I ended up working with him as a coach for the next 12 years
00:31:37.560 –> 00:31:50.790
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): old. Courageous, speak the truth, is so always going to win the day. So thanks for modeling that Susie alright. So questions. I don’t see any hands raised.
00:31:52.700 –> 00:32:00.520
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): I see a note here from Sarah. Thank you, sharing your about your Ngo experience.
00:32:00.830 –> 00:32:03.929
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Oh, that was, too, at Sarah from Renata. Wonderful!
00:32:05.210 –> 00:32:09.540
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Oh, you guys are so nice with each other. I appreciate that very much.
00:32:09.780 –> 00:32:13.950
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): No questions or comments. Go ahead. End up.
00:32:14.020 –> 00:32:22.680
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Oh, okay, Bruce, thank you. I can’t find my digital hand. So I’m seeing if this works.
00:32:24.770 –> 00:32:29.710
Lisanne Thomas: I had a fascinating conversation in our breakout room, and
00:32:30.060 –> 00:32:34.590
Lisanne Thomas: I’m not sure if we we’re talking about what we were meant to.
00:32:34.940 –> 00:32:41.580
Lisanne Thomas: But my question, that was, I have a question that’s pulling at my attention from the situation you described.
00:32:41.870 –> 00:32:45.729
Lisanne Thomas: and it had to do with how Dan was able to connect the dots.
00:32:45.880 –> 00:32:49.329
Lisanne Thomas: and was able to speak to leadership from the bottom line.
00:32:50.050 –> 00:32:59.610
Lisanne Thomas: and I was wondering about the ethics of having a mandate to higher minorities.
00:33:00.680 –> 00:33:03.070
Lisanne Thomas: and what we know about
00:33:03.100 –> 00:33:13.980
Lisanne Thomas: how minorities are not treated equally with pay. and the goal was to reduce pay. Just how that
00:33:14.610 –> 00:33:26.050
Lisanne Thomas: like was that the language he was speaking to leadership to get the message through. And then I I’m just calling myself out of my own bias like is that. Isn’t that a terrible thing to say about people? But how do I balance this
00:33:26.510 –> 00:33:28.419
Lisanne Thomas: goal to reduce costs
00:33:28.670 –> 00:33:33.980
Lisanne Thomas: and mandate to hire minorities when we know what we know about
00:33:34.460 –> 00:33:36.250
Lisanne Thomas: how unequitable it is.
00:33:37.470 –> 00:33:47.830
Suzi Pomerantz: That’s a great question. That actually was not part of the conversation at that time. Not explicitly, that I heard.
00:33:47.860 –> 00:33:52.710
Suzi Pomerantz: and, what it was more, the bias of
00:33:53.600 –> 00:34:05.859
Suzi Pomerantz: There was a belief amongst the old school guys that they wouldn’t be able to find talent with the same qualifications as who they were used to hiring. That was the bigger concern.
00:34:06.300 –> 00:34:27.940
Suzi Pomerantz: which got proven wrong again and again and again. So, of course, as we know. Right? So if typically just like in any field, least, my observation or my bias at this point is that if you’re a person of color. You’ve had to work twice or 3 times as hard to get half as far as every you know, as as these other people that
00:34:27.969 –> 00:34:30.599
Suzi Pomerantz: are blocking your way. And
00:34:30.900 –> 00:34:46.900
Suzi Pomerantz: typically what we find is exceptional talent when bringing in under represented minorities. So the the cost that wasn’t one of the connecting of the dots to directly answer your question. Lizanne?
00:34:47.150 –> 00:35:01.730
Suzi Pomerantz: You know. How do you get from? Is it’s the right thing to do versus how? How does that translate into business because it. The whole shift was about becoming more business-focused.
00:35:02.090 –> 00:35:09.510
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): It it does seem to me maybe, Suzy. I’m reading too much into it that the fact that they were able to hire diversity
00:35:09.550 –> 00:35:16.819
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): and those people who came in and those 34 final law firms were committed to collaboration.
00:35:16.950 –> 00:35:19.010
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): They actually increase revenue.
00:35:19.170 –> 00:35:41.669
Suzi Pomerantz: It did just about saving the 1 billion. It was about actually up leveling the entire experience of Dupont. And I think that’s a connect. The dots that’s super important, and up leveled the law firms as well, because they realize that that was a blind spot that they hadn’t been aware of. And just I should specify. This was not an exercise in
00:35:41.670 –> 00:35:50.669
Suzi Pomerantz: getting rid of the white guys right? Like the. There were still plenty of old white guys around. It was just bringing in more diversity
00:35:51.300 –> 00:36:02.029
Bruce Hostetter: on behalf of the old white guys. Thank you.
00:36:02.250 –> 00:36:14.410
Bruce Hostetter: II was with, and we were able to pace ourselves and get through the entire thing. Derek asked me a question at the end. We ran out of time. So how do you feel? And I thought that was an interesting question, and
00:36:14.450 –> 00:36:19.049
Bruce Hostetter: where that takes me is to this whole balance between curiosity and judgment.
00:36:19.130 –> 00:36:33.199
Bruce Hostetter: because I could see how in some situations, and I was referencing an organization that I worked with. not myself. It could create defensiveness. And yet there’s something that’s structured. It’s kind of like appreciative inquiry.
00:36:33.580 –> 00:36:46.740
Bruce Hostetter: you know the questions that kind of save questions, the reflective questions. And I’m just curious. How do you deal with that balance of helping the client stay on the side of curiosity rather than judgment.
00:36:47.620 –> 00:36:49.559
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): And how do you do it, Bruce?
00:36:50.600 –> 00:37:00.119
Bruce Hostetter: Oh, God! She’s my previous teacher! No wonder he’s everybody’s teacher, Bruce.
00:37:00.700 –> 00:37:11.039
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Okay, I can make something up right? Well, it’d be better to drop into your own experience. Right? What do you do when you’re faced with someone who’s being judgmental.
00:37:11.740 –> 00:37:16.049
Bruce Hostetter: Yeah, I think that it helps. If the client is coming
00:37:16.240 –> 00:37:26.760
Bruce Hostetter: to coaching. experiencing pain. that there’s something there that they would not have been unable to resolve themselves. and to be able to frame it as well.
00:37:27.270 –> 00:37:33.410
Bruce Hostetter: you know, sounds like you’ve tried this, this and this. What if we tried that or tried that. Why don’t we try this?
00:37:33.730 –> 00:37:35.500
Bruce Hostetter: It’s just an experiment
00:37:36.070 –> 00:37:45.630
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): that would be the opportunity for reflection.
00:37:46.070 –> 00:37:47.560
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): mirroring back.
00:37:50.460 –> 00:37:55.560
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): And they’ve come. I think that’s the thing to remember, clients. Come.
00:37:55.640 –> 00:38:07.340
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): they come with something that’s a dilemma. They’re unable, without the benefit of the dialogue between us that’s open and available for anything to emerge like you came here.
00:38:07.430 –> 00:38:11.100
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): What are you available to set on the bench for a moment.
00:38:11.560 –> 00:38:14.260
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): and in the pause moment see what emerges
00:38:16.230 –> 00:38:18.300
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): and give them back their autonomy.
00:38:20.070 –> 00:38:24.929
Suzi Pomerantz: Yeah, building on that, Janet, the reflective inquiry piece I find just
00:38:25.110 –> 00:38:40.789
Suzi Pomerantz: feeding their words back to them, either in a synopsis form, or just as a reflection allows them to keep going with that train of thought, and hear themselves say the answer they came to you, for
00:38:41.180 –> 00:38:46.949
Suzi Pomerantz: often I don’t say much of anything in a coaching conversation, and they get there themselves.
00:38:49.280 –> 00:39:03.440
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): That’s usually what happens. The best coaching sessions ever is. When I hardly say a thing at the end they go. Oh, my gosh! You have such wonderful questions! I’m like.
00:39:05.370 –> 00:39:08.410
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): listen to you. Go through your process.
00:39:10.200 –> 00:39:14.640
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): And, Miss Grace, you’ve patiently been waiting. Please jump in.
00:39:15.810 –> 00:39:24.159
Grace Kim(she/her): Thank you. Thank you, Janet, and thank you, Susie, that this case was particularly interesting, because
00:39:24.960 –> 00:39:25.880
Grace Kim(she/her): this
00:39:26.240 –> 00:39:42.650
Grace Kim(she/her): living up to aligning with the value of a diversity rewarded with a financial reward at the end. my question is based on your relationship. Long relationship with Tom. What if
00:39:42.870 –> 00:39:49.079
Grace Kim(she/her): this plan didn’t yield this immediate financial reworld next year the next.
00:39:49.300 –> 00:39:51.789
Grace Kim(she/her): What do you think how this case will?
00:39:52.410 –> 00:39:55.550
Grace Kim(she/her): what what will happen?
00:39:55.870 –> 00:40:05.230
Suzi Pomerantz: Well, the thing about lawyers is that in addition to being extremely competitive and bright, they are
00:40:05.640 –> 00:40:29.670
Suzi Pomerantz: what I like to think of is the A plus students. Right? So if they’re given a challenge or a task, they want to get an a grade in doing it. So if the task was, we are going to do these elements of the Dupont legal model, and we are going to have that result in not only cost savings for our clients, but increases in revenue for our partnering law firms
00:40:29.670 –> 00:40:46.410
Suzi Pomerantz: they were all in and creating that result. It couldn’t fail. So they didn’t even consider the what if it fails because their lawyers they like to win, and the win in this case was not settling a lawsuit. It was achieving all of these objectives of the legal model.
00:40:47.960 –> 00:40:56.080
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): You know, Susie, you’re reminding me of. Most people are either afraid of success, afraid of failure or afraid of mediocrity.
00:40:56.460 –> 00:41:22.030
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): And this is where kinda like can competition and collaboration. If you hold it as an either, or I’m either competitive or I’m collaborative. That’s where we’re standing. Fair success or failure. Fear may accurate mediocrity, and if we can hold both right. Let my competitive spirit keep seeking another answer. Even when we hit a dead end. It’s like, Oh, that was dead end. Let’s back up 3 steps and turn left.
00:41:22.100 –> 00:41:27.809
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): That begins. That process of collaboration, trusting in both is really where the answer lies.
00:41:29.860 –> 00:41:48.669
Suzi Pomerantz: Yeah. So it ended up not being all rainbows and and fireworks in terms of equality in divorce representation. So hence the creation that I mentioned before, of these separate networks the the minority network as well as the women’s network. Because
00:41:48.670 –> 00:42:08.089
Suzi Pomerantz: they said, Okay, we get the point, and we see that you are trying to bring in more of us into your cases, and we can be more collaborative with each other in service of that, and feed recommendations if we have our own network going on over here. So
00:42:08.270 –> 00:42:10.059
Suzi Pomerantz: you know, it’s not that it
00:42:10.110 –> 00:42:24.519
Suzi Pomerantz: it it didn’t fail. It’s just it didn’t take off as quickly as people had hoped around specifically around the the diverse representation. But then these other networks helped advance that ball
00:42:24.740 –> 00:42:27.480
Suzi Pomerantz: and did some great collaborating along the way.
00:42:28.790 –> 00:42:36.020
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): II love Mona’s comment here if you all didn’t see brothers, that is a remarkable film.
00:42:36.080 –> 00:42:46.120
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): And it is with, absolutely there’s a question from Sarah for you, Suzy. What was the impact on the average billables for those firms that were retained in the smaller group?
00:42:47.280 –> 00:42:48.290
Suzi Pomerantz: I don’t know.
00:42:49.040 –> 00:42:57.509
Suzi Pomerantz: I don’t know. I don’t know that that was reported. Let me see, I have kind of a summary of results here, but it’s all from the Dupont side.
00:42:57.670 –> 00:43:03.290
Suzi Pomerantz: I mean, obviously the primary law firms. The 34 law firms
00:43:03.620 –> 00:43:15.579
Suzi Pomerantz: stayed. For the most part there were some that dropped out, and other new ones that came in, and ultimately, I guess. About a few years later it was a group of 40 primary law firms. So it grew a little bit. But
00:43:16.790 –> 00:43:22.730
Suzi Pomerantz: but the ones that stayed obviously, were achieving advances in their own revenues, or they wouldn’t
00:43:22.790 –> 00:43:42.849
Suzi Pomerantz: right. And you can imagine, just in serving Dupont right. If you’ve got 300 law firms who have a piece of the pie of 6,000 cases that now gets whittled down to 1,700 cases, that only 34 law firms have a piece of the pie. They’re getting a bigger piece of the pie, even though the docket has
00:43:42.960 –> 00:43:47.169
Garry Schleifer (he/him/his): become smaller. Yeah, that’s that’s what I was thinking. That’s
00:43:48.510 –> 00:44:02.509
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): and Fred’s comment, I think, is also something you were hinting to Susie this notion of the systemic context that Dan and Tom are able to speak to both internally at Dupont, and externally with the partners
00:44:02.590 –> 00:44:05.679
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): that being able to set the picture big enough.
00:44:05.780 –> 00:44:14.429
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): you know, we think about this in one on one coaching, for sure, like, if we can hold the bigger dream, then the client can dream yet they’ll step into it.
00:44:14.940 –> 00:44:33.559
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): And and I think that’s the difference between the the single threaded problem that’s brought and helping clients look systemically. You live inside of a system, and that system lives inside of a system. What are all the influences. Even that simple question opens up the imagination.
00:44:33.830 –> 00:44:40.019
Suzi Pomerantz: Yeah, and even expanding just the continually expanding
00:44:40.280 –> 00:44:51.260
Suzi Pomerantz: dive into what’s possible. Now, right? So we’ve achieved this. Now, what’s possible? Right? It’s and that’s that ever expanding systemic view.
00:44:51.600 –> 00:45:13.070
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Exactly. Exactly. Well, we have. Suzie’s right up for you, and Aaron will put that into the chat for you, and also some contact information for Susie Suzy. What would you like to leave them with? As we are approaching the top of the hour here. Would you like to say to complete the story?
00:45:13.590 –> 00:45:37.160
Suzi Pomerantz: It’s just that it, because of this experience that I was honored to participate in. I really do hold the tensions of collaboration and competition as one in the same. They’re 2 sides of the same coin, and I have that this as a lived experience of of it, right? It’s it’s one thing to have that is sort of a theoretical underpinning, but to see it in action. In
00:45:37.230 –> 00:45:47.760
Suzi Pomerantz: a a corporation that’s over 200 years old and really stayed in its ways of being was really
00:45:48.020 –> 00:45:49.700
Suzi Pomerantz: revolutionary. So
00:45:50.370 –> 00:45:58.100
Suzi Pomerantz: just that they do these. There doesn’t need to be attention, because they coexist, and they’re 2 sides to the same point.
00:45:59.010 –> 00:46:06.989
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): And and ultimately I think it for me. A definition of hope I heard recently is confident expectation.
00:46:07.360 –> 00:46:27.920
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): I think that the when we can hear a story, Susie, like what you fraught, it reminds us that even when we’re in the mess of something is not quite working out, pay attention, because somewhere in that tension is a gold mine, a gold thread of answers, and it’s staying with it and remembering it is possible.
00:46:28.530 –> 00:46:40.870
Suzi Pomerantz: That’s great. Yeah. And I’ll I’ll leave you with my la, my favorite Dan Luzack quote. So Dan was the the visionary. I actually have this hanging on my bulletin board because I love it so much, he he said.
00:46:41.110 –> 00:46:49.480
Suzi Pomerantz: Life sure does throw us curve balls, or maybe life is curve balls. We keep expecting to be straight
00:46:49.740 –> 00:46:52.600
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): good ones.
00:46:52.920 –> 00:47:14.709
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): I think that’s great. And now A. Dan’s last name is spelled LLUC. A. K. There we go. There you go, folks, it’s in chat. If you want to copy and paste it. That is excellent. Alright, everybody! We have one more in the series this year. It will be on November seventh.
00:47:14.760 –> 00:47:20.150
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): We hope you will come back. It will be looking at control and agility.
00:47:21.100 –> 00:47:42.879
Janet M. Harvey (she/her): Thanks for being here, Susie. Thanks everyone for coming. Have a great weekend like, I say, if it’s Canadian enjoy Thanksgiving, if you’re not just give thanks somewhere. And and think of your favorite Canadian. Maybe it’s me.