Handle change and put together for brand spanking new applied sciences
Often times, improving your law firm in an increasingly competitive environment relies on technological improvements to increase capacity. This could be an attempt to increase efficiency, reduce costs, or reduce repetitive administrative tasks.
However, the introduction and implementation of new technologies and the associated operational changes are never easy. If your team is limited in time or worried about the prospects of learning a new platform, getting everyone on board can be difficult.
For example, 53% of the 700 lawyers surveyed said the biggest barrier to change facing law firms is the difficulty of managing change and the resistance of leadership to change, according to the 2020 Future Ready Lawyers Survey.
This resistance can have ramifications and lead companies to miss out on the benefits of new technology.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to effectively manage change and prepare for new technology in your business.
Paint a clear picture of “before” and “after”
Implementing new technology can be a tough task at times. So it’s good to find out the “why” behind the change. This way, your team will keep the motivation to find, evaluate and integrate the new platform.
Paint a clear “before” and “after” picture to help your team understand the reasons for the change. Before even looking for the right provider, host a meeting and make sure everyone is on the same page about:
- The problems you want to solve: Are people spending too much time on repetitive legislative proposals? Do people want more time to meet with customers?
- The scope of the change: What aspects of your work will change? What will certain processes look like after acceptance?
- The implementation schedule: When does it happen? When are documents migrated? Will there be a training / induction period? And if so, how long does it take to start up?
- Advantages / ROI: When do you see an ROI? In a month or a year? And how can you be better lawyers after this change?
Strangers cause fear and worry. However, once everyone can imagine how the change will affect their life, it won’t seem so scary anymore, especially when the afterimage is one where they can spend more time doing what’s important. That could be more family time or fewer headaches at work.
As your team aligns with a vision of the future, they are more willing and able to work together to make the vision a reality.
Dealing with internal objections is part of the process
There are always concerns about the introduction of new technologies. People will ask, “How will the way I do X change?” or say, “We don’t have enough time to learn a new system.”
During this time you mentally move from an idea to a concrete change. And during this critical thinking process, objections will come to mind.
If the objections come from your team, don’t ignore them. Instead, accept them as part of the process. Then, have a chat about each objection so you can manage your team members’ worries and concerns before an onboarding process begins.
You want to do this early on. This eliminates the possibility of unhappy employees potentially affecting the success of a new tool.
Have the debates early, work through them, and come out as a stronger group at the end.
Put together an implementation team
Introducing new technologies is not a one-person job. You need a dedicated team to manage every part of the change from assessment to training.
In general, the more people who use the software, the larger the implementation team because you want new solution advocates to help you connect with the rest of the company.
Here is an effective composition of an implementation team:
- Project owner: Usually the person who leads the change. It can be a partner, the CEO, or another seasoned member of the team. This person assigns other roles.
- Project manager: Responsible for organizing the implementation process, including drawing up the budget, defining technology requirements and creating a list of potential vendors.
- System administrator: Works (often with IT) to oversee system setup. This should be a tech-savvy person as some software setups can be complicated.
- Superstar End Users: The contacts (or people) who act as the liaison between the end users and the implementation team. During implementation, Superstars are available to assist with troubleshooting end users.
Also remember that the success of your project depends on the enthusiasm and motivation of the people leading the change. So add the most dedicated members of your company to this team.
Quality training promotes user acceptance
Nobody wants to use something they don’t fully understand. If your team is not properly taught how to do something, they will fall back on old, less efficient systems.
Companies adopt new technologies. Everyone is excited. But after those initial onboarding meetings, nobody is using it and the ROI remains invisible. This is why it’s so important to create an effective, personalized training program that will make relevant team members comfortable with the new platform.
So how do you do that? Here are some tips on how to train your team on the new system.
- Leverage Influential Users: Along with your superstar, those who succeed faster can help those who are struggling.
- Document the processes in one central location: Sometimes lawyers just want to find out for themselves. You can do this easily when the processes and technical information can be easily referenced.
- Organize individual sessions: Some people may not raise concerns or challenges in a group session.
- Focus on the most important functions: It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the bells and whistles of new software. To avoid flashbang, stick to the most important functions for now. When people are comfortable, you can turn to others.
Remember to ask your provider about training options. Many technology companies offer online courses, white papers, and other training materials.
Build a culture of efficiency
Having a process that works is a quick way to equip your lawyers with the latest and most helpful technology as it hits the market. This gives you more time for what matters – to help your customers.
This can be part of your law firm’s culture as you prioritize efficiency and reduce waste. When efficiency becomes part of your company’s DNA, you can better implement new technology.