By Debora Motyka Jones, Esq.

Published on Mon, September 28, 2015

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Recently, I delivered a networking address at the Information Governance Exchange where I discussed how innovation, growth, and success are all achieved by taking a look at the bigger picture and proceeding with a well-rounded goal in mind. Leading into the networking session, I asked folks to take a few minutes to reflect upon how they could make the most of their time at the conference. Since most attendees come to these conferences to learn and make connections, I encouraged them to spend the evening and the next few days being even more curious. I recommended that they ask deeper questions in order to change their perspective and gain a better understanding, as well as discover superior business results.

Below is an excerpt from my recent speech. I encourage you to read it over and hope that the next time you find yourself making a big business (or life) decision, you will be reminded to change your perspective in order to gain a better understanding.

Surface questions can get us helpful data points, but they can lead to short-sighted problem solving. Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Could you imagine if Mr. Ford has chosen to be a horse breeder instead? Changing your perspective to gain a better understanding means coming at the challenge, not with an analytical brain, but from a different perspective. Let me give you some examples of this in the business setting:

First, let’s talk about Apple. A successful company known for innovative products under Steve Jobs. One piece of innovation was their packaging. They could have let their packaging team look at competitive packaging, or design packaging that is functional. Instead, Steve Jobs and the executive team dedicated an entire room to unpacking Apple products so that employees involved with product packaging could change perspectives and feel what consumers felt when opening their new iProduct. This different perspective created a true innovation in the way the products are packaged.

However, we can’t all be Apple, so I will give you a more personal example. I was recently tasked with opening our NY office so that Lighthouse could be closer to many of our financial services and pharmaceutical clients, as well as their outside counsel. We needed to open quickly in order to continue delighting our clients. I could have created a list of tasks and started executing against those tasks, but after consulting with career mentors, I stepped back and spent at least two days shadowing each job function that would be present in that office. This allowed me to see the office needs from their perspective and make more mindful decisions so that we could open quickly and start servicing clients out of the office immediately upon opening.

Finally, let’s carry forward the example Joshua Wood brought up earlier, because it is something we hear with the IT and security business units we work with. Specifically, how to define their role within their company, as a service organization. We see many of these departments go out and ask the other business units what their needs are, and then build a plan around those needs. Often times those needs only get you part of the way there. For example, we often hear legal saying “I need more help around collections, or faster collections.” Often times what we uncover, however, is that legal needs a better understanding of the systems, how long it takes to get data from each system and why it takes that amount of time, or they just need to know there is a good defensible process around collections. When the IT organization takes the time to gain legal’s perspective, they are able to build a better service organization.

I encourage everyone to be curious, take advantage of future networking events, and gain an understanding of other functions so that when you’re problem solving you will have multiple perspectives. I encourage you not to be the horse breeder.

Are you taking a step back and getting a look at the big picture? If you have other techniques that help you strategize or would like to discuss this topic further, I would love to hear from you. Reach out to me at djones@lhediscovery.com.

About the Author
Debora Motyka Jones, Esq.

Vice President of Lighthouse’s Eastern Region

As Vice President of Lighthouse’s Eastern Region, Debora plays an essential role on the company’s executive team by collaborating around new markets, and by bringing a customer-centric and pragmatic approach to achieving corporate and customer goals. She is responsible for building out a robust team of legal and technology experts in the eastern US, driving forward partnerships focused on delighting clients, and expanding the company’s brand through thought leadership events and new relationships. Debora’s background as a litigator and buyer, as well as her vast client-facing and operational experience will enable Lighthouse to provide the high-caliber, consultative client experience, the company is known for.

Debora has been with Lighthouse since 2009 and has made a significant impact on the company’s growth and business strategy during her tenure. With a background in litigation from practicing at law firms in both Washington D.C and Washington State, her expertise and deep understanding of complex ediscovery matters enabled her to create a resonating brand and architect the innovative products and services that keep Lighthouse at the forefront of the ediscovery market. She led the execution and implementation of the company’s rebranding in 2012 and developed the marketing department from the ground up. In addition, she has been instrumental in spearheading the company’s strategic technology partnerships, driving the formation of Lighthouse’s product strategy, and the evolution of Lighthouse’s SmartSeries. She also instituted and continues to maintain a client advisory board to ensure strong alignment with market demands. Finally, in 2015, Debora lead the company’s expansion to the eastern seaboard by managing the development the New York office and team, as well as expanding upon the company’s current set of services and clientele.

Prior to joining Lighthouse, Debora was a Complex Commercial Litigation Associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in Washington, D.C. where she worked on matters such as the WorldCom and Enron bankruptcies. Her practice also included multi-million-dollar commercial and securities litigation, and internal investigations. While at Weil, Debora was recognized three times for her dedication to pro bono service. Debora also practiced as a litigation Associate at McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren PLLC. Her practice included commercial, employment, and securities litigation, as well as legal malpractice defense.

Debora received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Washington where she graduated magna cum laude. She received her law degree from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. She is admitted to practice law in New York State, the District of Columbia (inactive membership), and Washington State. Debora is Level II Pragmatic Marketing Certified. Debora is actively involved in the legal community as the former Director of Women in eDiscovery, as a mentor with Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle, as an Advisory Board Member for the Organization of Legal Professionals, as the former Chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)'s New to In-House Committee, and as a former board member of the Washington Women Lawyers (WWL). Debora was also recognized for her contribution to the ACC and was named 2012 WWL Board Member of the Year. Debora is a frequent speaker on eDiscovery strategy, a former instructor for the Organization of Legal Professionals, and a regular Lighthouse blog contributor.