"It is a disaster that wisdom forbids you to be satisfied with yourself and always sends you away dissatisfied and fearful, whereas stubbornness and foolhardiness fill their hosts with joy and assurance."
--- Michel de Montaigne (1553 - 1592)
DecisionSet® believes that lawyers, law firms, and legal departments need to function as superb leaders, trusted advisors, expert decision makers, and effective talent developers. Although lawyers know the law and are masterful advocates for their clients, they generally are not educated or trained in all dimensions that ultimately determine professional achievement, peer recognition, thought leadership, and client respect, appreciation, and loyalty. Leadership, wisdom, social proficiency, self-awareness, self-development, strategic thinking, and judgment often are the missing links between subject matter expertise and successful outcomes for clients, law firms, and legal departments. In a profession that emphasizes technical skills, analysis, and arguments, the skills essential to effective decision making, communication, client rapport, project management, conflict resolution, and strategic planning and leadership may be neglected.
DecisionSet® works with attorneys, law firms, legal departments, law schools, judges, and mediators to improve their performance and assist them in functioning as high reliability organizations. Karl Weick, an expert in organizational behavior, first coined the term “high-reliability organization” (HRO) after studying how the operations of aircraft carriers, air traffic control systems, emergency rooms, and wildland firefighters differed from ordinary, low-risk organizations. He identified multiple factors that protect against catastrophic results in fast-paced, high-risk working environments. Other researchers have studied a wide range of experts who make hundreds of critical decisions in an ordinary day – intensive care unit nurses, fighter pilots, nuclear-powered submarine crews, platoon leaders, paramedics, and hospital rapid response team members – to determine what conditions and types of personal interactions contribute to avoidable errors and undermine a “culture of safety.” In these complex, high-risk environments, “trial-and-error” training is unacceptable because any error might be the last trial.
DecisionSet® believes that law firms and legal departments should operate as HROs because the consequences of mediocre leadership, judgment, decision making, foresight, and communication can be catastrophic. The law firm and legal department environments present challenges similar to those confronting other HROs – multiple actors, intense time pressures, highly skilled professionals, inordinate complexity, inaccurate, misleading and insufficient information, and critical decision making dilemmas coupled with irreparable results.
DecisionSet® employs multiple tools to enhance the performance of legal professionals. These tools range from educational programs and workshops to surveys and assessments of organizations’ problem-solving and decision-making styles and capabilities, from author interview events to presentations for AmLaw 200 chairs, COOs, CFOs, and CMOs.