I am lucky enough in my job to spend a bit of time with lots of people in different types of businesses. As in life in general, there are people in business with a million different skills sets, outlooks, attitudes to change, to risk etc . A common theme though, is that those people and businesses with an openness to change become the most successful in the long term. The only constant is change, as they say.
Change, however, is not something that many law firms embrace! Whether it is down to difficulty in getting Partners to agree on things, being too busy with client work, or the dangerous old attitude that ‘we have always done it that way’, the vast majority of law firms do not try new things, or change course with any great speed.
I recently read an article by Roger Harrop, author of “Win! How to Succeed in the New Game of Business” (https://www.rogerharrop.com/books/ ). Roger uses a model called ‘The Change House’…
Roger states, I think correctly, that the only safe room to be in is the ‘The Renewal Room’. More importantly, he says, is that you need to stay there, and not be lured next door to ‘Contentment’. There are so many examples of businesses that have been caught out in ‘The Contentment Room’, or below, in ‘The Denial Room’. Off the top of my head, I am thinking about Kodak, Blockbuster Video… but the list is just about endless. Both Kodak and Blockbuster had numerous opportunities to renew their offering, and innovate along with new technology, but they chose not to, or were unable to, ultimately leading to their downfall.
So how does this relate back to law firms. Well, I think it is very straightforward really: you need to keep trying new things and look at ways to constantly improve and evolve. This might be new service offerings, new ways of offering the service, or even ceasing to provide a service. It might be investing in new technology, revisiting your branding, or moving office to a better location. These are merely a handful of ways in which you could look at renewing your firm. Some things will work, others won’t, but you must try. You will spend some time in the ‘The Confusion Room’, but that is the only way to get to the ‘The Renewal Room’, and it will be worth the trip!
The legal industry is still going through huge changes, and with new entrants, technology and innovative business models, it is more important than ever to keep your firm in renewal mode, in order to seize opportunities, and just as importantly, retain the business you currently enjoy.
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