Change is hard regardless of how it’s packaged. While we can all relate to this both personally and professionally, in recent years, it’s a concept that’s proved especially true for legal operations professionals.
Often leading the charge to introduce new processes and technologies, legal operations professionals have become extremely familiar with change management plans – strategic outlines of activities that must take place before, during, and after a new change is introduced in order to ensure adoption and long-term success for new legal ops driven initiatives. But, with many individuals resistant to change (sometimes unknowingly), preparation is essential to success.
It starts with asking a few questions
(and hopefully having answers) before strategizing even begins:
- Why change now? The question seems obvious, but plenty of legal teams attempt to implement changes without fully considering why they want to make changes in the first place. Take the time to understand the motivation and driving force behind proposed changes and why. This will help you create a roadmap and clearly articulate the vision to individuals within the legal team, cross-functionally, and c-suite executives.
- How will these changes benefit your legal team? Support often comes from understanding. If you can’t explain how a specific change will help the members of your team, you can’t expect them to support your initiative. Think through the benefits of your change and how to explain those benefits to the various groups of stakeholders involved. Use this as an opportunity to highlight how changes aren’t just to improve the business’ bottom line.
- How will these changes affect other departments? Thinking about changes and their impact in a silo will be detrimental to success, fostering a “you versus them” attitude. In order to successfully lead a change management plan, legal operations need to think about things cross-functionally. Consider how changes will impact other departments, and then offer support or collaborate with those departments to create a more unified vision for the future of the organization.
- And if we don’t? One question that’s always overlooked when looking to make changes is, what is the alternative? What does the future of the legal department look like if this initiative doesn’t come to fruition? The answer to this question isn’t so much about explaining why this is the best option but rather the negative impact not pursuing this course will have.
Prepare for change with our latest white paper
These four questions are just a few of the things legal ops need to be thinking about when planning for departmental and organization-wide change. To learn the other components of a successful change management plan such as how to develop a strategy, communication plan, and training program, download the full white paper, How to Successfully Navigate Change Management: A Guide for Legal Ops.