The universal temptation.

    It is included in these pages because it is necessary.

    GT-SC stands for Goody Two-Shoes Crapola. It results from pious fraud and foggy thinking. We are a profession of verbally skilled individuals who prosecute or defend an issue depending on who gets to them with a retainer first. While this ability ultimately serves society, it creates risks within our ranks. When this skill is misused, the misuse must be called.


    In the terminology of clinical psychology it is usually the consequence of the attempted resolution of cognitive dissonance.

    Examples within the legal profession abound.

    A personal injury firm determines to settle a case for 70% of its verdict value because they don't want to spend the additional time necessary to litigate the matter. Their explanation to the client is rank with GT-SC as they "recategorize" the risks and benefits.

    The senior partners of an insurance defense firm feel the economic pressures attendant to that niche in the profession and wish to broaden the firm's scope. They bring in a lateral transfer with experience in areas of the law into which they would like to expand the practice. However, they don't want to change what has been a comfortable and, until recently, risk free, professional environment. So they don't resolve the conflict between the existing non-attorney firm administrator (who feels threatened by the lateral transfer) and fail to give the lateral transfer sufficient resources or authority to change anything. The conclusion after a year: they decide to give themselves country club memberships as a way to recruit new clients.

    The narcotic in GT-SC is that it is never completely untrue. It is always a matter of perception, of emphasis or of "spin". Although not of the legal profession, a good example of GT-SC is in the polar arguments concerning public education, the teachers union and alternatives. Both sides have points to make, and while there is spin and counter spin, children pass through an educational system that consumes increasing resources with decreasing results.


    Practical tips for the planner.

    The planner has to distinguish between stealth and deceit.

    There are two tracks: confront and reconcile or out GT-SC 'em.

    The first track, while appearing more honorable, is more risky. In most planning situations there are components of self defined expertise that are part of the equation. "Experience" and "professional judgment" are called upon by those who are resistant to change or who adhere to a self serving prime directive. A good trial lawyer knows to not overestimate the value of having the "facts" on your side in a confrontation.

    Stealth, in this situation, means allowing a resistant party to declare a position clearly and then holding him or her to it. Attorneys are hard pressed to declare "If I knew you were going to hold me to my word, I wouldn't have spoken". In a market driven planning process, getting a commitment to include market factors in the practice development process before the market research is undertaken can be effective.

    Planning meetings should have written agendas, distributed in advance. GT-SC always wants to "think about it" as part of the stall-it-to-death defense.

    Choose the sequence of agenda items so as to get agreement on conceptual issues before decision points are reached. Using our insurance defense firm as an example, once there is a sufficient lack of confidence that the status quo will be acceptable in the future and that change should be considered, the planner should get;

    1) A commitment to the methodology by which options will be considered,

    2) The value market research will be given in the evaluation of those options and

    3) The level of variance from the status quo that will result.

    Always caption the commitment to change as an action statement. "We should increase the annual billable hours we spend on commercial law and decrease those spent on insurance defense by 1500" is much more GT-SC proof than "we should look at increasing our commercial law hours since insurance defense is becoming less profitable and secure."

    Please call, mail, or e-mail with your comments or for more information.

Advocates Management, Inc.
1332 South 26th Street
Manitowoc, WI 54220

Voice: (877) ADVOCATES (toll free)
Fax: (920) 684-4414

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