We lawyers are often criticized for not giving clear answers for our clients to base their decisions on. We have all heard the joke about the client looking for a one-handed lawyer. We lawyers tend to emphasize the complexity of the world and that there always are at least two sides to a coin.
But all of a sudden, the world changed with the Corona outbreak. Something that we had not foreseen changed and keeps changing the whole operating environment for many companies. All of a sudden there are no clear answers. Clear answers suddenly seem almost naïve.
So what is insightful advice like in these times of uncertainty and rapidly changing circumstances? How should we approach decision making in a world that changes by the week, if not by the day?
The answer is not that our advice should be uncertain and ambiguous, wrapped in long series of assumptions and limitations. On the contrary, in times like these you value constructive insightful advice that is clear and based on the circumstances at hand.
“Lawyers’ advice should always, even under rapidly changing circumstances, be based on facts – the things we know.”
Lawyers’ advice should always, even under rapidly changing circumstances, be based on facts – the things we know. And in a situation where we cannot know what the operating environment for our businesses will be in a few weeks’ or months’ time, we need to learn to make consecutive decisions. We constantly need to monitor changes and try to understand what might come next.
Most decisions can be divided into series of smaller decisions. Most processes can be divided into phases. We need to learn to run with baby steps. Run, because businesses are pressed to make urgent decisions taking them efficiently into new directions. Baby steps, because the world quickly changes even while we take our small steps.
We have to choose the courses of action that allow us to maintain as much leverage as possible. We should seek to allow alternative future courses of action, depending on how the world around us evolves.
So how does one best navigate in these unknown Corona waters? The answer is carefully and efficiently, with due diligence. By constantly seeking wider seas and avoiding courses where we are caught and restricted by our previous decisions. By continuously evaluating in which directions the world may change and by constantly being prepared for the unknown. Thinking ahead.
Is insightful advice and decision making different in Corona times? Not really – it is just easier to see that insightful advice and agile and consecutive decision making is really required, and that over time, it pays off.
Stay safe and make good decisions!