When you get excited about new processes that will make your law practice more profitable and productive, it’s easy to fall into the trap of expecting your staff to be just as enthusiastic. You know how much time the new document management program will save, for instance, or why an updated client intake checklist is a great idea, so it’s frustrating when others continue to do things the way they’ve always been done.
To get their buy-in and get the change implemented, you’ll need to make them part of the change from the beginning. As an example, let’s say you recognize that you need more uninterrupted work time in your day. However, your paralegal is accustomed to coming into your office throughout the day with questions. You’d prefer to have the questions batched and brought to you a few times a day instead of constantly. You’re anticipating some resistance—your assistant may think this will slow things down.
Here’s how to get buy-in:
1. After you’ve described your idea, get your assistant’s take on it.
2. Explain why it’s valuable to both of you. (“I need uninterrupted time to focus on work that needs concentration. In return, you’ll have scheduled time when I’ll be available for questions.”)
3. Agree to try the new idea for a week, then get together again to evaluate the new process. The key to getting buy-in is to involve everyone affected by the change from the beginning, and to make sure their concerns and suggestions are heard and taken into account.
When everyone involved can own the process, they’ll find it much easier to accept. Here are two terrific resources on the subject: the first is the article The Biggest Mistakes in Managing Change by Carol Kinsey Goman; the second is the book: Master Change, Maximize Success by Jeanenne LaMarsh and Rebecca Potts.