The Most Depressing Fact About Your Law Practice
Possibly the most depressing statistic in the professional world states that approximately seventy (70) percent of all changes implemented in any organization fail. The unfortunate reality of this statistic is that it has been consistent for over two decades, and things don’t seem to be improving. Moreover, change is expensive and time-consuming. Whether you are restructuring associate pay, reorganizing employee benefits or implementing new practice management software, the cost is high and so is the failure rate. As a business owner, you understand that when projects fail it is like pouring money down the drain.
So, if you are wondering how you can avoid letting your practice’s initiatives fall into this category consider the following:
Lack of Understanding or Information
In the book, “The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action,” the authors discuss and explain at length that there is often a significant and insurmountable gap between what you know and understand and what you do with that knowledge and information. Despite all you know and understand, you often still make decisions or take actions that underutilize that knowledge and information.
It is unfortunate that, for most people, if not all, there exists a disconnect between what we understand and what we do— regardless of how many books are read, how many CLEs are attended and how many courses are completed. The solution to this common issue is to stop and examine the issue before action is taken so that the issue can be explored and the consequences can be comprehended or weighed. Practically speaking, the solution is to improve how you apply what you know to what you do.
Lack of Skill and Practice
One of the most frustrating games ever invented is golf. If you have ever learned to play, you will likely realize that there are two kinds of golfers: casual golfers and real golfers. The difference between the two is not subtle. A real golfer will go to the driving range, read every book, watch YouTube tutorial videos and practice as much as they can to improve their game. On the other hand, the casual golfer simply golfs regularly. The difference between the two kinds of golfers really comes down to practice.
This same concept applies to anyone who is looking to improve any type of skill or ability. Diligent and deliberate practice is what separates success from failure on the golf course or in your law firm. As such, it is essentially to take the skills and abilities you have and hone them to perfection so that when you conduct the next round of interviews or negotiate your new lease you can excel at tasks you are experienced and comfortable with.
Uninvolved People Hate Change
Research supports the idea that successful change occurs when business owners afford employees and staff a chance to become involved in the process by encouraging idea ownership, supporting idea development and generally encouraging people to be heard. Unfortunately, many law firms refuse to involve law clerks, paralegals or even associate attorneys in decision-making processes.
By developing a culture of cooperation and idea cultivation, support staff will often spend their time and energy exploring new and helpful concepts or even talking about work outside of work. People that enjoy what they do are significantly more valuable to your practice than those that are sidelined during manager meetings.
Despite the fact that almost 70% of all business initiatives fail, your practice can work toward overcoming the odds by overcoming the “knowing-doing” gap, practice and hone skills that are necessary for your continued success, and ensure that your team is as committed to the cause as you are.
Even though 70% of changes fail, you don’t have to be part of that dreadful statistic. To succeed at change, you must find a way to overcome many challenges.
Finally, pause for a moment and answer the following questions to gain a better understanding of what this article is speaking about:
• Can we grow or improve in such a way as to better apply what we know to our current problems?
• Can we improve on those skills and abilities that are critical to our success?
• Can the office culture improve so as to better align our staff with our goals?
Jared Pierce hung his own shingle right out of law school and has spent every minute since then discovering the joys and difficulties of chasing success. Anyone who has ever met Jared will tell you h