Driving Real Change in Legal Departments
Interview with Rich Seleznov – Managing Director, Huron Consulting Group
By Staff Writer
Published on Dec 16, 2010A lot has changed in the last few years, but implementing any type of change never seems to get easier. According to respondents to the Third Annual Law Department Operations Survey, their greatest challenge, for the second year in a row, lies in driving/ implementing change.
Asking people to adjust the way they work is no small thing, according to Rich Seleznov, Managing Director of Huron Consulting Group, the underwriting sponsor since the inaugural survey. “When changing technology or a business process, you are asking people to change the way they work, even if it’s been a habit that has worked for years,” he says.
In order to actually drive or implement real change, it's critical to make the business case for why those in the legal department or the business units should go through the time and trouble of adapting. "You have to be able to offer an incentive," he says. "They need to know what’s in it for them, and they need to feel the benefit of change will outweigh the discomfort in making that change."
Explaining exactly how attorneys or staff will benefit makes change that much easier to implement. "It may be that they can be more responsive to the business, or that they won’t miss an important deadline," Seleznov suggests.
This may require a change in mindset for those looking to drive the change, whether that is the law department operations manager or the outside service provider. “There used to be a 'build it and they will come' mentality," he says. "If you rely on that now, you will fail."
Success in this area takes a lot of work—in some situations, it may even require a personalized approach to every person of whom you are asking change.
Consider that, in almost any population, there are three groups, he says:
- 1: Those who enjoy change;
- 2: Those who can go either way; and
- 3: Those who don’t want to be bothered.
It may be necessary to do a stakeholder analysis to see who will fall into which group. Once the different groups have been identified, there are three steps to take in order to tout the benefits of adapting a particular technology or process, according to Seleznov: communicating, communicating, communicating. "Some may need one-on-one attention, others may be fine in groups."
"Either way, try to make people part of the change," he suggests. "Stress that you are not doing something to them, but rather, you are doing something for them."
For more information visit www.huronconsultinggroup.com.
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