The starting points are “what do I/we want to achieve?” and “what is the purpose?” After those questions are addressed we can start thinking about whether technology can add something. Sounds logical but we need a structured approach because time and commitment are always limited.
Assuming we identify that technology could be valuable then it is important to have an open mind and understand the needs of your team to help them support the wider business more effectively. That discovery could find that you already have the technology you need but adoption is poor or even that you don’t need any additional technology. It is important to understand your objectives and your teams needs before engaging with their internal clients or external vendors.
Some teams may require support, some may not.
Once we understand a clear need we can then start to shape a solution that is realistic and achievable. This is often referred to as a ‘roadmap.’
To design a roadmap I work on a three stage process. This allows you, as the sponsor, to determine what you need and whether you want to proceed any further. I also provide clarity on pricing in advance, so there are no shocks, which may vary according to your specific needs.
Stage 1 – Initial conversation of approximately one hour at a time that suits you. This is like a blank sheet where you can explain what you are trying to do or would like to do with technology. I will also seek to understand what you currently do, what works well, what works less well and most important learn about your team and your culture. This conversation will revolve around three fundamental questions. These questions will help you think more strategically around change. They provide the foundations for the next stage should you choose to proceed. Stage 1 is free as it is discovery for both parties. I want to establish trust first and ensure you have confidence in me so I am deliberate in removing £ risk to you. If you would prefer Stage 1 can be done face to face.
Stage 2 – Polling. Polling of the team can be done via a secure online questionnaire. Team members can reveal their status, age etc but not be identified via names, emails etc. Anonymity is vital so respondents can be open and honest and express their true feelings. The objective of Stage 2 is to start to understand your team’s ambitions and frustrations. Using the roadmap analogy, polling allows us to start to prioritise so that we can move to…
Stage 3. At this stage I start to share some of the polling results. It is common for me to be invited to a team away day before Stage 2 so they can meet me and I can explain what I am trying to do to help them. Poll results are fed back to the sponsor via a short presentation identifying key areas that require focus. At this stage I encourage the sponsor to create a small working group of team members who are representative of the department. It is not my role to provide the solutions. My role is to help create an environment where the working group feel open to explore ideas, have an ability to sift the wheat from the chaff, prioritise and therefore feel empowered.
It is worth adding here that a conversation is important with other departments because they matter. We could utilise polling for them to discover what they like or would improve about engaging with Legal.
Follow up days, additional coaching can be added all, ideally done face to face, Fair usage telephone coaching can also be included as will the creation of an online community, (eg Skype), where ideas can be shared and discussed.
This staged approach exists to begin a steady momentum towards change so that your team starts to feel they are empowered towards a process that is eveidence based. When managing change it is important to think less in big leaps and more in small, progressive steps that create momentum. Once the working group feels encouraged to work within a structure and essentially self form their change management process they will feel their potential and value is not only recognised but has purpose. In time they will be able to manage large projects that they perhaps thought were too overwhelming in the past. They will know where key strengths and resources sit both inside their department and also in other departments strengthening bilateral relationships.
I encourage sponsors to include membership of the working group as part of their personal development plan that is recognised by the department but also the business.
Examples of outcomes from previous workshops include;
- Creation of a clear, centralised and available working group that department members could submit ideas or requests,
- Utilisation of existing communication tools such as WhatsApp, Skype for informal exchanges of ideas and opinion to reduce the overuse of email,
- Active vendor workshops to explain rather than sell a solution so the team can determine its context and relevance, leading to increased awareness,
- Evaluation and deployment of an electronic billing facility so that invoices could be managed better and data mined to ensure that value was being optimised from law firms. This included engaging with internal colleagues such as Finance who were frustrated by law firm billing methodologies.
- Team members were encouraged to self-learn key software such as Outlook by dedicating 10 minutes a week to learn a small but valuable function via MS Office YouTube learning channel.
All of the above were built around individual key performance indicators (KPI’s) that were agreed in advance with the team members.