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    Archive for March, 2011
    Ways for Managers to Inspire Employees to Embrace Change
    Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

    ♫ A bright light
    A new position
    A new conviction…♫

    Music, lyrics and recorded by The Appleseed Cast.

    This is another great guest post from Beth Flynn from the Ohio State University Leadership Center:

    Beth Flynn

    Beth Flynn

    This post deals with ways to Inspire employees to embrace change in your organization:

    1. Awareness: The manager is responsible for generating awareness of the proposed change.

    2. Value in awareness: The manager is also responsible for providing employees with supportive information that will inspire them to find value in the proposed change.

    3. Thinking: While the manager still has some responsibility in supporting the thinking of employees in this stage, this is the stage where employees begin to bear the burden of responsibility for the proposed change. If you are the manager and you do not begin to see a transfer of responsibility taking place with a noticeable shift in thinking by employees you must go back to stage two.

    4. Actions: In this stage, responsibility has mostly shifted to employees. The beauty of this process is that thinking drives actions, so the shift in thinking that takes place literally sets the stage for new actions and behaviors. Again, if you are not seeing actions and behaviors supporting the desired change, you must go back to stage two.

    5. Results: The results are everybody’s responsibility. For the proposed change to be embraced and realized within an organization, the results will be a natural outcome of the shift in thinking and new actions and behaviors (Laurin & Morningstar, p. 11-13).

    Laurin, C., & Morningstar, C. (2009). The Rudolph Factor: Finding the Bright Lights that Drive Innovation in Your Business. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

    The Rudolph Factor is available on loan from the Ohio State University Leadership Center. Click here to borrow this resource or any other resource. Then click on the Spectrum icon.

    Learn how the Ohio State University Leadership Center is inspiring others to take a leadership role that empowers the world at http://leadershipcenter.osu.edu

    Thanks Beth for being our bright light!

    Posted in Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 1 Comment »
    IT Knowledge as a Practice Standard
    Friday, March 4th, 2011

    ♫ You’re the hidden cost and the thing that’s lost
    In everything I do … ♫

    Music, Lyrics and recorded by: Jackson Browne.

    A recent quote by my friend and notable practice management consultant Gerry Riskin caught my eye: “[T]oo many lawyers pride themselves on their IT incompetencies believing that it makes them somehow charming and brilliant. I say they might as well be sneaking into the firm at night and taking cash out of the safe. The costs associated with that attitude include:

    • poorer client service by failing to capitalize on the efficiencies technology offers
    • competitive disadvantage (clients do not find incompetency charming ever)
    • wasted IT personnel time
    • distracting and therefore delaying or discouraging the latest IT initiatives.”

    Has knowledge of information technologies reached a stage where it can be considered a de facto, if not quite a de jure, standard of practice? One way to look at this is to see where IT knowledge is necessary to legal practice:

    Land Titles: The Land Title and Survey Authority of BC has made it known that an end-date for filing most documents in paper form is not far off.

    Corporations: Corporate Online is the route to deal with a corporation’s filings in BC.

    Courts: Courts Services Online will be expanding the use of technology in the courts over the next three years. Mandatory e-filing is not far into the future.

    Metadata: e-discovery has literally taken the litigation world by storm. Aside from the need to be able to handle discovery in multiple electronic formats (video, audio, text, chat etc.) failing to obtain discovery in native electronic form may fail to find the ‘smoking gun’. In the US case of: In re Payment Card Interchange Fee & Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, 2007 WL 121426 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 12, 2007), it is set forth: “[D]ata ordinarily kept in electronically searchable form ‘should not be produced in a form that removes or significantly degrades this feature.’” Production in TIFF, a common e-discovery format, can delete non-printable metadata.

    Legal Reseach: Whether it is LexisNexis, Westlaw or CanLii, legal research today is carried out in on-line form. Law firms use bound case reports to decorate their hallways.

    ICBC e-billing: This is a recent development that requires litigators to submit invoices in purely electronic form if they wish to retain ICBC as a client.

    Adobe Acrobat: Hardly any application has had such a dramatic impact on the legal profession. It is applied for e-filing, document exchange, archiving of emails and records and more.

    Security, privacy and encryption: Knowledge of how to create, store, access and exchange documents and communications confidentially and securely is implied by the Canons of practice. This extends to e-documents and e-communications by implication.

    Remote Access: Today lawyers must be able to securely access their files and information using the Internet from where ever they may be.

    Sharepoint: The next frontier. Clients are demanding private secure areas on the net that contains all the information on their files accessible 24/7.

    Failing to keep current with legal technology has a hidden cost that will become increasingly apparent as technology becomes a necessary component of competent practice.

    (This post was originally written for the Canadian Bar Association – British Columbia Branch’s newsletter “BarTalk” in the column “PracticeTalk”).

    Posted in Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 1 Comment »