Proven Strategies Measurable Results

Unknown Unknowns

December 12, 2013
Unknown Unknowns - blog post image

Currently our firm, Vista Consulting, is working with 2 clients that are facing some very large decisions. The details surrounding the decisions are not relevant; however, the decisions themselves are very relevant.

Sound like double talk?

Not really.

What I mean is… that the result of the decisions are not relevant to this article…but the decision making process is very relevant. I have often related to my children that neither I, nor they, will always make the right decision, but we should always make decisions right. (For the record, I, myself did make a wrong decision back in the 8th specifically what it was, but I do remember that it resulted in a trip to the principal’s office and contact with the “board of education”. Not fun!)

These two clients are approaching the decisions in radically different ways and with radically different levels of stress. Remember, the result of these choices will follow the businesses for years to come.

Client number 1 is fretting about making the wrong choice. Yet he is not doing much else. He paces and thinks, paces and thinks. He calls us with so many “what if” questions that we have lost count. He is attempting to play out every scenario to the nth degree. He’s said many times, “What if I make the wrong decision? What if this happens or that happens?” He is feeling lots of stress…and that is an understatement.

Client number 2 however, is approaching a similar situation yet in a very different manner. He has considered the circumstances and made several very important lists. He has listed the known knowns. (What he knows to be true about the situation.) He has listed the known unknowns. (The things he knows he does not know…and maybe can only find out by making a decision.) But the list he knows he does not know how to compile is the one of the unknown unknowns. (He simply does not know what he does not know.)

At this point client number 2, then, began asking questions. Good questions! When do I have to make the decision or when is the opportune time? Have I gathered enough information to make a well informed choice? Have I consulted my trusted advisors? Do I know anyone else that has been in a situation similar to this? Have I consulted them? What was their advice? He is trying to find out information that he does not even know that he doesn’t know. He is on a mission…and is energized by the process.

Who do you think is more likely to make a right decision? Who do you think is making the decision right? Easy choice here, correct? Client number 2 of course.

When he gets to the point that the timing is right and he has gathered good information he will simply “plant the flag” and move forward in a confident manner. Will his decisions always be right…I doubt it… but his batting average sure will be better than client number 1 and his stress level will be much more manageable.

Have you and your team considered how decisions are made at your firm?

Do you have any unknown unknowns? It is difficult to answer that.

How would you know?

Kenny Harrell
“The Joye Law Firm would whole-heartedly recommend Vista Consulting’s services. It’s been nearly two years since Vista did the initial needs assessment at our firm, followed by several weeks of ‘boots on the ground’ work. With the benefit of hindsight, I can easily say that improvements we’ve made as the result of their services have easily more than paid for the costs of the same (and that was probably true a few months in.) This is true based on improvements in our case management efficiency and especially in regard to better intake procedures. Our average new cases per month have increased 50%, and this is due in large part on our doing a better job of following up on potential new clients.”
- Kenny Harrell / Managing Partner
Wendy and David Share
“We met with Vista for a strategic planning session as our firm is at the crossroads and we wanted some outside perspective to help us with our planning. Vista provided a very focused environment so that we could develop our “Painted Picture” or 5-year plan. As we were very involved in the process, the conclusions we arrived at were not surprising to us, but having a road map to help us take the next step has been very beneficial to us. We have been working on the required steps and are making progress, and we do always come back to the Painted Picture and the principles we discussed in realizing our objectives. It is very much an ongoing process, and we know Vista is there for us, if and when we need their further input and objective perspective. Vista’s knowledge of the inner working of Plaintiff Personal Injury law firms allowed them to offer their insight and perspective to our unique circumstances. The fact that we are in Canada proved to be no barrier to understanding what our firm is all about.”
- Wendy and David Share
Richard Harris
"After founding and managing one of Nevada’s largest personal injury law firms for over 30 years, and teaching law practice management, I didn’t think there was much a consultant could do for me. I initially asked Vista, “Why would I pay you to tell me what’s wrong with my firm – when I already know it?” Their response was, “We’ll help you fix it.” That had actually never occurred to me, which showed how much I needed them. Beginning with the onsite visit and comprehensive Needs Assessment, the Vista team not only helped fix what I already knew needed attention, I’m pleased to admit they revealed and helped us resolve several problem areas I previously didn’t know about. Not only that, through consistent coaching conferences and initiation of dynamic reporting of key performance indicators, Vista trained and transitioned a new management team to take our firm to the next level. I’m completely satisfied with Vista and recommend their services to any firm, large or small."
- Richard Harris