Vision & Legal Tech
Why a Compelling Vision is a Must
“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” ……………..…….. Vince Lombardi, NFL Coach
Years ago I was touring an electronics manufacturing facility in Forest Grove, Oregon and the general manager there drew the diagram above on a whiteboard which I have remembered and used numerous times in coaching executives. Its powerful message describes a crucial responsibility for leaders. There are two extremes regarding discretionary effort, the effort which people freely release or withhold. Worst case is to give the minimum effort required to not get terminated. Best case is being 100% engaged physically and intellectually. How do you get that full commitment, to inspire the entire team to run through brick walls together.
Man vs Machine
We all want our favorite sports team to win, to win championships. We delight in attending games, join fan clubs, go nutso! It’s fun! It is part of being human. We love winning. We are not machines.
Not so for Frederick Winslow Taylor. During the era of Scientific Management, his book, The Principles of Scientific Management, published in 1911, emphasized a mechanical view of work, abstracting the person from it. To reduce errors in factories, he emphasized job fractionation, and from this came the assembly line. A person on the line would spend hours repetitively placing a bolt into a hole in some automobile component as the conveyor belt passed in front of them. Very dehumanizing.
People have psychological needs. If these are not met in the workplace, people find ways to cope. They meet their psychological needs outside of work by being a scout leader, little league coach, or from family time, or being a board member on their HOA, and so forth. Some cope by going to work somewhere else. In the perfect world, with perfect leadership, with a unifying vision, all the giftedness people possess is engaged. All this to say that organizations are infused with copious amounts latent power. Huge amounts of discretionary effort remains to be released. Or alternatively, current discretionary effort and intellectual capacities could be reapplied to higher value tasks, a shift which is made possible by amazing new technology that has emerged. Improved organizational health can be realized.
Legal Tech Applicability
What does this have to do with Digital Transformation and Legal Tech for Law Firms and Corporate Legal Organizations? Answer: There’s more than technology involved. Years of technological progress has brought us to the point where digitization is transforming everything we do. Photographs are seldom printed but stored and displayed now on phones and tablets. Print newspapers have given way to websites. Office spaces have fallen into disuse being replaced with online meetings and now meetings in the Metaverse. All this to say that successful Digital Transformation that is required for organizations to survive and thrive in our rapidly changing digital future requires leaders who create a clear, compelling, and overarching vision that binds organization members together in a common cause.
Heaping technology on top of an existing ill-prepared infrastructure is a recipe for delays in full value realization, or worst case Digital Transformation initiative failures and rework. Pillars that make up the foundation of technology infrastructure consist of several elements including Business, Operations, People, Platform, Process, and Security. Leaders must assess this foundation vis-à-vis a major transformation in how work will be done at their firm and how customers will be served, and address any determined foundation weaknesses. A major part of it deals with People, those cultural excellence keys for Legal Tech assimilation and use. Is everyone on board and pulling in the same direction? Organization members will be asking the WIFM question — What’s In It For Me. Unleashing a tidal wave of latent discretionary effort through visionary leadership will not only create organization success with Digital Transformation but also enrich the work environment and retain valuable talent.
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” — Helen Keller