Whenever you have a big settlement or verdict, it’s party time. There’s plenty of love in the air and high fives…but little is accomplished. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional celebration, but your goal should be to make small, incremental improvements in your law firm, ideally every day.
Rather than focusing on your success, focus on your mistakes and failures. It’s much easier to ignore a mistake and simply pray that it never happens again. But as the shaper/creator of a world class law firm, you must be intolerant for even small mistakes. Your job is to reinforce a standard of excellence and that won’t be achieved if you overlook mistakes, both big and small.
A Culture Based Upon Radical Honesty
Identifying and correcting mistakes and errors is your most important job. The “Issue Log” was created by Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates (the largest hedge fund in the world), in order to identify and prevent mistakes. Dalio was understanding and forgiving of mistakes made by Bridgewater employees, but ruthlessly tough when mistakes were covered up or ignored.
With the Issue Log, the goal is to be radically transparent and truthful in identifying the source of a mistake. Once the source of the mistake is identified on the Issue Log, a policy is created to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The Issue Log is reviewed periodically to ensure compliance with the new policy.
Nobody ever said radical honesty was easy.
Ray Dalio, “Principles”
Thank you to Ryan McKeen, Esq., an excellent plaintiffs’ lawyer in Glastonbury, Connecticut, for sharing his firm’s Issue Log.
We don’t hide our mistakes. We use them as opportunities to learn and grow. Not reporting a mistake is an issue—only bad things happen when issues are kept in the dark.
Making and reporting a mistake is never an issue—this is your job. Anything that goes wrong must be logged.
If you make a mistake that you deem a 7 or greater, it must be reported immediately.
#1: Describe the issue:
#2: Who is accountable for causing the issue?
#3: On a Scale of 1 (least) to 10 (most severe) rate the severity of the issue
(Barely an Issue) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (A Catastrophic Issue)
#4: What systems failure caused this mistake?
#5: What can be done to fix the mistake in this specific instance?
Who created this report?
_______________________________ Dated: _____________
photo credit: symphony of love Master Cheng Yen Do not fear making mistakes in life, fear only not correcting them via photopin (license)