Seven Immutable Laws of Change Management
Here are the seven immutable laws of creating change in your firm. I guarantee that if you respect these rules, you will get the cooperation you need to effect the changes that will catapult your firm forward.
1 AS MANAGING PARTNER, PROPOSE IMPERFECT CHANGE INITIATIVES
YES, I said IMPERFECT and when you saw that word a feeling of anxiety overcame you and you were tempted to react as a lawyer and not as a change-agent for your firm. Let me be clear. As a lawyer, your job is to do “the right things, perfectly.” That calls for unflawed effectiveness and efficiency. You probably hope your surgeon, if you ever need one, practices to the same standard. But face reality — as the manager of your firm, you do not have the luxury of doing only “the right things” because nobody, including you, knows what the “the right things” are except in hindsight — and hindsight is too late.
As a result, most good firms are paralyzed by the tedious, never-ending and totally ineffectual process of divining the perfect strategy accompanied by the perfect tactics. These firms are ships tied so firmly to the pier that no matter how well steered, they go absolutely nowhere. In fact, their biggest claim to fame is that they hit no icebergs — few ships do from the pier. Such firms may do “industry-average” well, but they are not going to consistently break out of the pack. Temporary successes come from individual initiatives that the firm is likely unaware of and therefore does not impede with excessive policies and standardization.
In strategy, you must make the best decisions you can with what you know and what you can speculate about. I am not against a little market research — in fact, I advocate it — but I am against the notion that you can know enough to comfortably make strategic decisions with the confidence that you are most certainly right.