If we categorize all of our business conversations into the above four buckets, which bucket is the fullest?
Unfortunately, I vote for bucket 4. We end up in bucket 4 because we want to be perceived as being fully informed. Yet, being fully informed takes a lot of solitary, uncompensated effort with no certain prospect of a return. So in our business conversations with one another, we fudge how much we really know. First to ourselves and then to others.
Everyone likely agrees that bucket 1 is where we need to be. Yet bucket 1 is the endpoint. We start in bucket 2 with something like this opening line: “Our business relationship is not working as well as it should because we are not making decisions from a solid foundation of shared facts. I would very much like to change this.” If we’re selective on how and where we begin the conversation, we have good odds at a substantive, ongoing dialogue about information gaps and how to jointly fill them.
During the spring and early summer, I wrote two pieces for Law.com that focused on the legal profession’s Last Mile Problem and Last Mile Solution. They presented examples of unproductive dialogue between clients and lawyers. The unproductive conversations are no one’s fault, yet they are real and pervasive. These two articles are now combine in a single PDF. Below is a copy of a “Last Mile” slide deck that contains all the figures in the articles. Hopefully, a few innovators and early adopters use these materials for a “bucket 2” dialogue. bucket 2 + time = bucket 1.
What’s next? See Change Agents and Opinion Leaders (020)