‘Mastering the art of changing quickly is now a critical competitive advantage.’
– Dr. Boris Ewenstein, Partner at McKinsey and Company
Effective change management is key for law firms to drive ongoing profitable growth. And, by asking the right questions beforehand, you’ll clarify the purpose of the change, begin the planning process, and increase the overall chance of a successful change.
With this in mind, we’d like to share the six questions you need to ask before implementing a change management process.
Question 1: Is your organisation ready for change?
It’s tempting to assume that your firm is always ready for change. But perhaps there are wider forces, such as a recession or corporate restructuring, that means it would be unwise to conduct a change management process at present.
Question 2: What are the benefits of the change?
Ideally, the change you’re considering needs to move the firm forward on its most important objectives. Whether its adopting cloud-based law services that boost client communication and lower the likelihood of errors, or apps that increase lawyer productivity, make sure you’re aware of the benefits.
Talk with the C-suite and your stakeholders, get outside help and consult the business plan so you’re sure the change ‘moves the needle’ for the firm.
Question 3: What are the risks and costs of the change?
Yes, your proposed change might benefit your firm meaningfully. However, if the associated risks and costs are high, it might be worth reconsidering.
For example, moving legacy law systems to the cloud might seem like the right thing to do, but if the migration is costly and your data doesn’t sit comfortably in its new environment, you’ll struggle down the line.
So, conduct a thorough planning phase where you list all the resources you’ll need to make the change a success. Then, trade it off against the projected benefits.
Question 4: What desire is there for change?
Without a company-wide desire to change, you’ll risk quickly running into challenges with your change management process. Always temperature-check the company by talking with department heads and conducting surveys with staff.
Question 5: Who is responsible for driving through the change?
Accountability is critical for making a success of your change management process. So, be sure to assign individuals to drive the change.
These ‘change champions’ need to be advocates and, ideally, incentivised for pushing through the change.
Question 6: What is the timeline for the change management process?
Deadlines will help the odds of success and increase the likelihood your change management process will come in on time and budget. It will also help your team to manage resources and workloads whilst the change is occurring.
The Times They Are a-Changin'
The legal sector is embarking on a new digitally driven path. But, before you can run, your firm will first need to learn how to walk.
By asking the six questions we’ve covered, you’ll be well-placed to get your change management process off to a successful start.
However, there’s more to it than meets the eye. With digital disruption being a key area of investment in the legal industry, it’s important to ask for all the help you can get.
If you’d like an in-depth exploration on how to get digital transformation right the first time, download our guide below.