The article yesterday talked about cheap information and how that is essentially useless for purposes of planning. Knowledge and the ability to apply it successfully is what planning is about. Neither of those are available on the internet.
The problem for most people is they need to learn how to use a professional successfully.
Professional are like other tools that we find in our lives. People who look up piloting on the internet are not allowed to be pilot on commercial jets. Passengers use the pilot as an instrument who operates a complex device to their benefit. Same thing with lawyers and the others.
People who use professionals successfully always know what they wish to accomplish. They care little about technique because they have chosen their professional advisor on the basis that they know how to do what is required. If someone reads an internet piece on how to select a professional advisor, all good. If they think that they can learn enough to be competent in solving the problem and then critique the professional’s approach, not so much.
Use a professional for two things:
- Help designing methods to solve a problem, prevent a problem, or find and grasp an opportunity
- Help with learning to recognize situations that will require help. Teach problem recognition not problem solution.
The education part has many aspects. Education frequently involves helping people unlearn old, incomplete or too narrow wisdom. It involves sorting and filtering the plethora of conflicted and incomplete advice that is readily available. It widens the scope of what is possible and what is not. It teaches how to receive advice. Once they know how, efficiency happens.
John G. Johnson was a Philadelphia lawyer a hundred years ago. Shortly after antitrust legislation arose, a client described a merger he was thinking about executing, and being a smart user of professional services, he asked if the deal was possible. The reply, “Merger possible; jail certain” is helpful. Given the price of telegrams, it appears Johnson was a cost conscious practitioner too.
Johnson and his client provide a fine example of how the relationship should work. Client describes the situation and asks for specific advice. The professional slices through to the heart and offers advice that the client can understand and use to govern their actions.
Education is a two way deal. Most professionals appreciate input, so do not hesitate to send them material that seems interesting and may be outside their professional development program. Keeping up is very difficult and any help is useful. They may not always agree with what you send because they know extenuating circumstances. Ask them to email you interesting material as they find it.
An important part of any planning is discovering how to use professionals productively. Do not overlook the need.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
Please be in touch if I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org 866-285-7772