Elevate continued its 2021 series, Elevate.Together.Roundtables. with the invitation-only event Managing Change in the Legal Profession, hosted by Kimberly DeVico, Managing Director, Consulting, and Brittny Williams, Director, Consulting. Change Management aims to support individual employees impacted by change due to a project or initiative and help them transition from current to future state. The session illuminated crucial aspects of Change Management – steps to take, matters to consider, and the key pieces that have to come together for change to take hold and deliver lasting benefits.

Advances in technology and thinking have radically impacted how law firms, law departments, and law companies operate. Accordingly, the capacity to quickly adapt to change has become a strategic asset for law organisations. Adapting to change is most successful when we integrate thinking (the mindset) and doing (the method) into our practices.

Below are the key takeaways from the one-hour discussion.

1. Get Started By Fostering a Change Mindset

The roundtable members made clear that each faced different challenges in their respective environments. However, one commonality was that the desired results and sought-after outcomes were defined by the same thing – employees adopting the change.

This shared goal frames the big picture that must be appreciated before diving into the details of a suggested methodology for managing change, namely, that change is fundamentally a mindset phenomenon, not just a behavioural one. Change is evidenced by people behaving in new ways, but those new behaviours only occur because people first internalise the idea that change is beneficial. Consequentially, achieving successful change requires paying close attention to the people piece.

2. Take Steps to Achieve Results and Manage Resistance: Assess, Design, Implement, Reinforce 

Kimberly and Brittny emphasised the need to define objectives and goals and delineated a four-step methodology to work through critical questions and important considerations.

Assess

  • The Organization. To evaluate your organisation’s capacity and willingness for change requires analysing its culture – the norms and attitudes towards change.
  • The Initiative/Project. Know and define your objectives and gather information to inform your plan.

Design 

Armed with the answers from the assessment phase, design a change strategy and action plan.

Implement

Execute your strategy and plan.

Reinforce

Monitor developments for both emerging problems and early indications of success. Revise your efforts as necessary to address resistance or reinforce actions that prove successful.

3. Apply a Framework: Consider a Change Methodology and Toolkit to Support

How can someone make sense of the many tools and approaches for managing change? Embrace a methodology, such as Prosci’ s ADKAR (see the Jeff Hiatt book, “ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community” 1st Edition). There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Roundtable attendees shared that they had many different tools and processes (e.g., Kaizen – the philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices – and various “people principles”) to advance change, counteract the burden of learning, and avoid change fatigue, especially in environments of constant change.

Summary

Kim and Brittny’s roundtable illustrated an essential aspect of change management: encouraging conversation and listening to industry experts. That approach, combined with the steps discussed in the session, form a recipe for change to take hold and deliver lasting benefits.

Elevate will host additional roundtable sessions in multiple global markets during 2021. 

If you seek more information on managing change, have any questions, or wish to refer a colleague or peer to an upcoming session, please get in touch.