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?

Jerry Parker
"Vista has been a consultant to our firm for almost 2 years. One of the best business decisions I made was to retain Vista. They know plaintiff personal injury firms A-Z. And that's how they analyze your firm, its efficiencies (or lack thereof or worse), office design/flow, reception procedures, telephone procedures, equipment of all types, etc. If you think your office is running at the top of its game and you don't need them, you're probably wrong. I can't imagine Vista not being able to improve even the best run firms. The payback from what they do is likely to be realized within the 1st 3-6 months."
- Jerry Parker
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
Jim Reed
"I have to confess, I was initially skeptical that Vista could significantly improve my firm. Heck, we are a small firm (4 lawyers) in a small city and have been in business for 60+ years. Frankly, we were already doing well and had managed to carve out a successful business handling personal injury and malpractice cases. But I met (and liked) Tim McKey and we were having a good year, so I thought, let’s give them a try to see if they can offer any meaningful improvement. I am happily surprised to say that hiring Vista is one of the best business decisions I ever made. Vista analyzed and made recommendations in a few key areas and helped us implement changes in those areas. In less that one year, we are already reaping substantial dividends from those simple changes. As lawyers, we think we are pretty smart and know our business pretty well, but I can tell you that inviting an outside set of experienced eyes to take a close look at the way your firm operates WILL reveal many things you never saw and many areas for improvement. If you want to REALLY learn about your firm and how to improve it, I HIGHLY recommend a consultation with Vista."
- Jim Reed / Owner