Legal Tech Focus
Overarching Unifying Vision
The ultimate aim of leadership is to influence others to pursue goals that are in alignment with organizational purposes. Leaders accomplish this through the use of various “power bases” that are available for them to use. Power is the capacity to influence outcomes. One can consider power on an empowerment continuum, where the lowest levels of power strategies achieve compliance through extrinsic motivation (I have to, or else…) with little empowerment, while the highest levels of power achieve compliance through intrinsic motivation (I want to because…) engaging discretionary effort with maximal empowerment in play. Consider these three categories as described by Fairman and McLean (Marvin Fairman, Ph.D., Leon McLean, Ph.D., Enhancing Organizational Effectiveness, Joshua Publishing, Lenexa Kansas, 2004, pp. 40–51). …………….
Position Power — This is Power-Over others, by virtue of inherent authority.
Personal Power — This is Power-With, by virtue of influence and recognized knowledge and ability.
Principle-Centered Power — This is Power-Beyond, by virtue of the intrinsic motivation of overarching purposes symbolized by a principle-centered personal and organizational vision with a compelling core purpose and core values.
What does this have to do with Legal Tech, you might ask.
Any Legal Tech initiative must have a well-defined problem statement. Why is this problem important? Who does this problem affect? If you as a leader are championing a Legal Tech initiative, it will attain higher visibility and endorsement if people in your firm outside your department will have valuable benefits from its success. What is your firm’s vision for Legal Tech? Do organization members know it, and have they invested their loyalty in it? Many firms have not articulated this to the degree necessary, not achieved widespread buy-in, and they have not defined measures for success and how Legal Tech initiatives tie directly to the success scoreboard.
Clearly Defined Key Performance Indicator Metrics
If you and your organization members know and agree on your measures of success, Legal Tech investments can be properly focused and bring success faster. Having your entire organization invest their loyalty in a compelling unifying vision is crucial to unleashing all available talent capabilities for achievement. Along with having organizational alignment around a unifying vision it is vital to have a scoreboard that shows that through everyone’s collective efforts a winning score is being produced. Your Legal Tech initiative must be aligned with your unifying vision and the metrics that measure it, or else you will not achieve high adoption and use and you will likely need to make significant revisions after implementation.
Can I tell you a story to illustrate this foundational principle? OK then. Let’s say you traveled to my city and are visiting me at my home and we have a nice meal after which I invite you to go bowling with me. You say, “Yes, that would be fun.” We head off to a local bowling alley. We walk in and approach the clerk who takes my payment and hands us each a bowling ball and a pair of bowling shoes. He says, “Lane 6 is open. Head down there.” We walk down a long corridor and approach a door marked “6” and proceed inside where we find this single bowling lane with a wall on each side. At the end of the bowling alley there is a black curtain. You think to yourself that this is very strange, but as my guest you don’t want to be impolite and so ask no questions. I start first and roll my ball down the alley and it disappears behind that black curtain and we hear this “clunk, clunk, clunk” sound. Again, not wanting to be impolite, you get up and do the same as me. We go back and forth that way for about an hour after which I motion to you that we’re done. We walk out to the clerk and return our shoes and return to my home.
What do you think you will say the next time I ask you to go bowling? What was missing? There was no feedback so goal attainment was missing. What was also missing was an overarching purpose, and obviously, fun. The story is ridiculous and an exaggeration, but illustrates a key point. We often do likewise ridiculous things in organizations. People in many cases operate in isolated silos of work teams, have no overarching unifying vision, and have no connection of their individual work efforts, and the efforts of their department, with the overall success of the firm.
Build on a Firm Foundation
At InCite LegalTech we love to help firms look over their “landscape” so to speak and assess what Legal Tech innovations connect best with their unique circumstances, and we also assess the Readiness of their Technology Infrastructure. The Infrastructure categories we address are Business, Operations, People, Platform, Process, and Security. The theme of this article fits into the first category, Business, which consists of those data ecosystem elements key to delivering business results. We have 100 interrogatories across all six categories one of which is, “Do you have clearly defined key-performance-indicator metrics on which you can assess organizational success?” If the answer is no, then go about changing the no to a yes. Just asking the question itself stimulates some very healthy discussions. As you launch into Digital Transformation utilizing amazingly powerful new Legal Tech tools readily available today, it is wise to be proactive and initiate this type of pulse check in tandem with your Legal Tech initiatives.
“Luck is a where opportunity meets preparation.”
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca