Big Ideas ALA Executive Director’s Letter

ALA’s Got Talent

NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” At first glance, there may not be many similarities between the world of basketball and the world of legal administration. But at ALA headquarters, this adage rings true in a significant way.

Eryn Carter, CAE

Amid what continues to be a robust hiring market, ALA is focused on recruiting and retaining top talent in order to best support our community of members and business partners. In a time when employee turnover is costing employers nearly $700 billion a year, we are committed to fostering an environment where every employee feels supported and included in a way that allows them to do their best work.

There are several strategies we are using to create such an environment, and I hope these can also serve as inspiration for you to use at your firm.

1. Maintain Open Communication

We are working to foster a culture of open communication where employees feel comfortable expressing their concerns and encouraging them to provide feedback and suggestions on how to address issues within the organization.

2. Clearly Define Expectations

We are establishing clear guidelines and expectations regarding performance metrics and appropriate behavior in the workplace. ALA staff works hard to adhere to our Core Values, which include acting with integrity, being accountable, being creative, and embracing diversity and inclusion.

3. Provide Feedback and Coaching

We emphasize the importance of providing constructive feedback to employees in both formal and informal settings. Whether positive or negative, if specific behavioral and/or performance issues arise, our preferred approach is to address them promptly and directly with those involved. The next step is offering guidance and coaching and asking employees for their input to help them understand the impact of their behavior and to work together to develop strategies for improvement.

4. Lead by Example

We try to promote the idea that everyone, regardless of their position, has the potential to be a leader. As leaders, we set the standard within the organization by modeling the desired attitudes and actions. When leaders exhibit professionalism, respect and effective communication, it creates a positive ripple effect throughout the organization.

5. Encourage Collaboration and Team Building

As a small organization, establishing cross-functional projects or initiatives that promote cooperation and positive interactions among employees is a must. When we feel connected and valued within a team, it helps address challenges and reduce conflicts. Collaboration is a regular topic of discussion among our staff, and this TED Talk led to an enriching conversation at a recent staff meeting.

6. Offer Support and Resources

Highlighting and reminding employees of available resources such as counseling, coaching or mentoring programs helps them address personal or professional goals and challenges. Demonstrating a commitment to employee well-being and growth contributes to their motivation, engagement and loyalty to the Association.

7. Stay Responsive to Changing Needs

The pace of change in the workplace seems to be getting faster by the day. Therefore, keeping a finger on the pulse on the evolving needs and expectations of our employees is critically important. We are regularly seeking feedback through surveys, team discussions and one-on-one conversations to identify any emerging issues and address them proactively.

By gathering the best, most qualified talent (winning the game), we are working together to create the most valuable experience for our members (winning the championship). Whatever challenges you may be facing, ALA and its business partners are committed to providing the resources you need to win championships for your firms and organizations.

Be sure to visit for information on future events and continuing education, along with helpful content from Legal Management, podcasts and so much more! Plus, check out our updated Legal Marketplace website, which allows you to easily search for the business partners and services you need most.

Another Michael Jordan quote I’ve found impactful is, “If you do the work, you get rewarded.” I am proud to lead a team of talented professionals who are doing the work every day to be at the forefront of association management to help our members conduct the business of law. I look forward to seeing the rewards in the months and years to come.