Feature Article for December 2017 - Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…Why is it SO HARD?


Project Failure. It happens all too frequently in law firms. The projects that fail are in categories all over the map, including around process, around technology implementations, around training, around innovation, and so much more. Often the failure is blamed on the software, or the hardware, or the people. But, our experience tells us that our clients struggle with intentionally managing change.

With the start of the new year coming, there is no better time to explore tips for getting in front of change management – no matter what you are trying to change. These tips are important when it comes to achieving your goals in your firm, but can also be applied to any personal goals you may be setting.

Tip 1 - Start with Why

Simon Simek has a book by the same title, and if you have not read it, you should pick it up. The most important part of making the right change, and making change stick is making sure that you have clearly identified the WHY behind the change. What are we trying to achieve? What will be different when the change happens? You have your best chance of success when the people who will be asked to change understand WHY they are being asked to do it, and that they understand how it benefits the organization. I love this quote in the book: “There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.” So, make your WHY inspiring.

Tip 2 - Form a Team

Get a few people to be on your team. Get them fully immersed in the WHY, and get those people talking to their peers about the changes. Don’t be afraid to bring a nay-sayer into the fold.

Tip 3 – Identify the Challenges

Start off by asking people to poke holes in the proposed change. Ask them to think of any reason why it WON’T work. And then tackle those challenges on the front end. There will always be obstacles, and obstacles can be our friend – as long as we acknowledge them, and plan for how we work through them.

Tip 4 – Don’t Go Too Fast

You have a deadline. Don’t meet that deadline at the expense of the project. It will always be better for something to take a little longer, but get done the right way. We often joke and say that you can only have two of these three: fast, accurate and cheap.

Tip 5 – Don’t Give Up

Too many people just throw their hands up when the going gets tough. Spend the right amount of time on the front end, and make absolutely sure that you pause and adjust the path if necessary. No one wins when we pursue the wrong goal. Of course, there is a lot more to change management, and we are always happy to work with our clients to make sure that firms are successful in every area, including all those ch-ch-ch-changes.

Join Affinity's Director of Practice Management Jennifer M. Ramovs for this session when she will take you through the value of understanding current processes, undertaking the necessary steps to recognize the changes that need to be made and the WHY behind those changes, and then what you need to do to make that change become a reality in 2018!

Register HERE for this free 30-minute webinar on Thursday, December 14, at 1 PM EDT.

Debbie Foster

Written by Debbie Foster

As Managing Partner, Debbie spends her time running Affinity Consulting Group, management consultants to law firms. Debbie's role includes working with clients, helping to launch new law firms, and speaking to legal professionals at law firm retreats and events all over the place. Her talks focus on fun topics like Law Firm Leadership, Effective Communication, Why Process Matters, Time Management and lots more. Debbie is passionate about all things law firm and legal department-related and she prides herself in sharing what she knows as much as possible. Debbie’s ultimate goal is to help people run firms that intentionally become more and more successful.

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