♫ It was the night things changed, can you see it now?
These walls that they put up to hold us back fell down
It’s a revolution, throw your hands up, ’cause we never gave in..♫
Lyrics, music and recorded by Taylor Swift.
Those were the instructions that I received from one managing partner after being called into a firm to help them with coming up to speed on a number of fronts. They knew they needed to change…in many fronts..such as in technology and other areas. The firm didn’t even use a consistent letterhead format. The challenges that they faced were manifest, deep and long-reaching.
However what was apparent was without the support of the managing partner, bringing about any meaningful change…at least in the short term…was simply not going to be possible.
In this situation I was left with the possibility of …either refusing to work with the firm …or trying to work with the firm and produce the changes that they needed…from as many different perspectives as possible. I chose to work with the firm and start the slow process of change.
These days with the rate of change increasing, it is vitally important that an organization adopts a change mindset. That mindset starts at the top. If the staff get an inkling that those at the top don’t embrace change, they will get the message and maintain the status quo.
With the growing competition in business, failure to adapt to change is deadly.
Oftentimes the changes that must be adapted to are not ones that a person chooses. The corporation, organization or business for whom they work has deemed that they change the way that they perform their tasks to be more effective or efficient. Or it could be that the organization needs to meet new and competitive challenges arising from new competitors.
In any case the organization has to deal with the fact that changes must be implemented to continue in business in order to survive. Woody Allen in one of his movies famously once said:
“A relationship, I think, is like a shark, you know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.”
One thing that any organization, and in particular a law firm, doesn’t want to be is a dead shark. So it has to learn to continually change – to move forward to survive. It needs to find, grow and nuture the leadership that will take it to its future. The walls holding back change have to fall down…
-David J. Bilinsky, Vancouver.