What really killed Dinosaurs and is it coming for you?

Dinosaurs were successful for many years; in fact they were the dominant paradigm. Then…they were gone. One version of what happened to them is that they didn't adapt to change quickly enough.

Your staff.

Does getting your staff to change how they work take ages? Are they too slow to change their habits? If so, keep reading for some ideas to improve things.

The maelstrom around us

OK, now be honest, you thought this article would be about the storm of change engulfing law firms at the moment? Yes, it’s concerning; not only for the SRA, the owners of many small law firms, but also their staff.

Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, talking about the number of Law Firms in the UK:

It is unclear whether the reduction is part of a sustained trend or is a temporary effect, linked to the state of the economy or other changes in the market.”

Is Little Chef a metaphor for the High Street Law firm” (on Defero ... looked at some of the changes that may be needed to your marketing and cash controls.

Why are some firms quicker on their feet than others? Normally the key difference is the outlook of the firm’s leadership.

Leadership, change and speed

Have you changed your outlook, but working practices in your firm seem slower to change? Is getting your team to buy into the changes be “frustrating”? Leadership and change are inextricably linked.

Changing our habits?

We all change the way we act (work) in response to perceived stimuli. Looking at something from a different perspective creates stimulus for change, or not. Your mindset at the beginning of any changes you make to your firm.

Maybe you want to change the culture of your firm, so it becomes more responsive, cash focused, client service driven, process focused, or something similar? “

Is culture change happening too slowly for your liking?

Some owners of practices have found their staff had been asked/ told to change the way they work, but it wasn’t happening.

“I can get them to do one thing in a different way, but not to think differently about the way they work”

You can tell somebody to do something and they do it (hopefully), but if you need them to think differently about they work, you need to work differently.

The culture in your firm

Culture could be called “the way we do things around here”. The way we do things around here is affected by rules, procedures and diktats, but also by old habits and practices, thinking patterns and the way people look at things.

Telling people isn't enough if you want to change the culture in your firm.

“Changing processes is never really effective, until mindsets change too”

What’s it taken for you to seriously think about change?

You own your firm, you’re more exposed to the maelstrom of change and yet it’s taken you this long to get serious! It will take your staff longer. They don’t get it, just because it’s now in your head.

The scary truth about change

“They need to change the way they're doing things. Why can't they see that”

The view from the top of an organisation: My staff need to adapt and change the way they work. I’ve told them about the importance of… (client service, filing, efficiency, you name your pet subject). How often have you felt yourself thinking this?

The view from the bottom: We don’t see the need for changing what we do and anyway he can’t be serious about it, as he’s still doing things the same way as before.

Leadership and change

The main factor in effective change is normally the leader, and that's you. But it's not about shouting instructions. If you want things to change, more quickly, you need to be out the front demonstrating, proselytising, and working with your staff.

They need your help to change their mindset and it’s only when their mindset changes that you can get great results from them. If you want to download a free help sheet on change management, it's available free...

Two final thoughts:

  1. Remember you've been looking at the issues for longer, so understand them more.
  2. They need to see you change, not hear how you want them to change

What are you doing and how can you help ensure that you aren't going to like the Dinosaurs?

Written by Jon Baker, of venture-Now. The 5-50 Coach, who helps professionals to grow their practice from 5 to 50 employees, profitably, sustainably and while they still have a life.

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Tags: change, leadership, management

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