Middle-Earth Communications, Part 2

The Hobbit SecondEdIn my previous post on Middle-Earth Communication Methods, I wrote about the importance of varying the way we communicate. And, I gave some examples from Delta Airlines and Air New Zealand (official airlines of middle-earth) that illustrate how a little imagination and humor allowed them to communicate their crucial safety messages more effectively.

Michael Foster, writing on Melcrum.com, takes the importance of variety in communications even further. In his view, when communications are predictable, their intended audience simply tunes them out:

Safe equals predictable

Human beings process information every second of every day. What we do with this data varies, but in many cases we use it to make tiny, subconscious predictions about what will happen next. At its simplest, this can be illustrated by watching the flight of a thrown ball. Our brain automatically estimates the ball’s future trajectory based on its path up to that point, thus allowing us to catch it (or try to).

This process works in exactly the same way when we listen to someone speaking, with our brain constantly making and revising predictions on where the sentence, point or speech is leading. An engaging presentation tells us something we don’t know in a way in which the outcome becomes unpredictable. The result is that this forces us to pay attention. However when we hear a familiar presenter, speaking in a way we recognize about a message we have heard before, our brain quickly tells us we already know the outcome and maintaining focus becomes much harder. Most of the time this happens subconsciously, but it is a vital process for … communicators to be aware of. [emphasis added]

Predictable equals shortchanged KM

In her comment to my previous post, Vishal Agnihotri (CKO of Akerman LLP) reminded me that effective communications are a critical part of effective change management. Further, effective change management is a requirement of effective knowledge management. So if you stick to predictable messages, you will have a hard time engaging your audience sufficiently to convince them to embrace the changes embodied by your KM initiatives. At that point, it’s game over.

There is, however, an alternative path if you are willing to employ some middle-earth methods. Introduce a little humor and imagination into your communications. Feed the curiosity of your audience so that they stayed tuned to your messages.

When you find yourself stuck in a communications rut, befriend your colleagues in the marketing department of your firm. Ask them to provide some strategic and tactical advice on your own department’s communications. By this I mean more than simply asking them to design a pretty logo or slick internal newsletter. Rather, give them free rein over your text and images too. Ask them what they would recommend you do to incorporate into your communications those vital elements of surprise and delight that capture the attention of your audience. In fact, if you’re serious about sharpening up your department’s communications, see if you can bring a marketing/communications person onto each KM project team from the beginning. By involving them early, you can bake an effective communications strategy into your project plan. In this way, you give yourself a fighting chance of actually getting your message across.

And in those moments when the appeal of dull but safe corporate communications seems most enticing, gather up your courage and then  summon your inner hobbit. As Gandalf the Grey observed:

“Hobbits really are amazing creatures. You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a month and yet, after a hundred years, they can still surprise you.”

May you always find good ways to surprise your colleagues.

 

[Photo credit: Wikipedia]

 

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Coping with Uncertainty

Freak Out It’s been over three years since the financial crisis of 2008.  Joblessness is high, optimism low.  Just in the last four months alone, the New York area has had epic weather (Hurricane Irene, floods, the Halloween blizzard) and an earthquake. Worst of all, no one knows when the turmoil (natural or economic) will end. Is it any wonder people are stressed?

Dr. James S. Gordon, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School, wrote the following sobering words in the Washington Post in 2009:

I have been practicing psychiatry for 40 years, but I’ve never seen this much stress and worry about economic well-being and the future. There is a sense that the ground is no longer solid, that a system we all thought would sustain us no longer works as we were told it would. … In this uncertain time, symptoms of chronic illnesses — hypertension, back pain, diabetes — that were controlled or dormant are erupting. Low-level depression, whose hallmarks are feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, is endemic.

Dr. Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, has an equally direct summary of our current state of affairs:

We live in a vulnerable world. And one of the ways we deal with it is we numb vulnerability. And I think there’s evidence — and it’s not the only reason this evidence exists, but I think it’s a huge cause — we are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history.  …  One of the things that I think we need to think about is why and how we numb. And it doesn’t just have to be addiction. The other thing we do is we make everything that’s uncertain certain. Religion has gone from a belief in faith and mystery to certainty.

If that’s what’s happening in the general population, what’s happening in the law firm world?  Toby Brown, a wise observer of law firms and the economy recently had an epiphany about the widespread longing for a return to simpler, more certain times:  it isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. In fact, he believes that the current “level of uncertainty may be here to stay. And it may even expand in the future. …  The bottom line is that rapid change results in uncertainty. And rapid change has become the norm.”

It’s pretty grim stuff.  So what can we do if we can’t get under it, over it or around it?  How do we get through it?  How do we cope with uncertainty? Dr. Gordon has the following recommendations for individuals:

  • Begin a meditation practice.
  • Move your body.
  • Reach out to others.
  • Find someone who will listen and help you take a realistic look at your situation.
  • Let your imagination help you find healing — and new meaning and purpose.
  • Speak and act on your own behalf.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor at Harvard Business School, suggests the following strategies to help organizations cope with uncertainty and find opportunity:

  • Provide certainty of process.
  • Tackle maintenance and repair.
  • Let ideas flow.
  • Mobilize appreciation for key constituencies.
  • Use purpose and values to “think beyond.”

For law firms that may be choking on the thought of spending money in these uncertain times, Toby Brown has the following recommendation:

In our conversation, we wondered with so much uncertainty where should a law firm invest its IT dollars? Our answer: invest in flexible infrastructure. Uncertainty drives the need to be able to adjust quickly to changing environments, driving the need to add and remove functionalities under very short turnarounds.

I’d take Toby’s advice one step further. In these uncertain times organizations should be investing to help make their people as flexible and resilient as possible.  This is what will help organizations respond quickly and appropriately to changes in the environment.  To be clear, in this context resilience does not mean simply reverting to the status quo ante.  The better definition of resilience for these purposes points to growth and progress rather than reversion:

Resilience is the ability to thrive, mature, and increase competence in the face of adverse circumstances.

While it is unlikely that 2012 will bring more certainty, let’s hope that we can bring more flexibility and resilience to 2012.  Onward and upward!

[Hat tip to Ron Donaldson for reminding me of Brené Brown’s TED Talk on vulnerability.]

[Photo Credit: Frau Shizzle]

 

 

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Seyfarth’s Success Story [#Ark]

If Lisa J. Damon has a bridge to sell, I’m buying it.  And, it’s not because I’m all that gullible.  However, over the course of one hour she changed me from an admitted Lean Six Sigma skeptic into a person willing to consider the possibilities of that approach for every law firm. I had previously heard several presentations on the law firm miracle that is Seyfarth Lean Six Sigma, but it was only when Ms. Damon and Seyfarth’s Chief Information Officer, David Hambourger, explained how they and their colleagues are beginning to change the way the lawyers of their firm actually practice law that I began to appreciate the scope of their accomplishment.

First a little background, Six Sigma is a business technique developed by Motorola to quickly identify and fix defects in its manufacturing processes.  Lean is a business technique derived from the Toyota Production System to redesign a manufacturing process to make it more balanced and consistent, thereby removing waste from the system.  (Another way of looking at this is to eliminate anything that does not create value for the end customer.)

At first blush, neither approach to manufacturing would have much obvious application to the work of any lawyer who considers herself or himself to be an artiste. Even in a so-called “law factory,” I’m not sure many would consider lawyers to be in the manufacturing business.   However, Seyfarth’s leadership came to the conclusion that elements of their practice needed to be handled with the same discipline Motorola and Toyota brought to manufacturing.

What drove them to this conclusion? Economics.  As their clients started requesting more alternative fee arrangements, Seyfarth’s leadership correctly concluded that the firm would take a loss unless it could find a way to reduce its own costs of production. So six years ago they began with the following goals:

  • improve predictability of fees
  • lower client costs
  • increase transparency
  • allow clients to collaborate
  • provide clients with real-time access to fees and the management of a matter

After looking at pure Six Sigma and Lean, and talking to clients who had used these approaches, Seyfarth settled on a modified Lean Six Sigma approach tailored for legal services.  To begin with, they eliminated the jargon, some of the statistical tools and the heavy-duty math. (Ms. Damon acknowledges that the focus on numbers demanded by Six Sigma would have been a major turn-off for every lawyer in the firm who went to law school just to avoid another math class.)  They also built in some strategy, project management and change management.  Along with this, they hired client-facing professional project managers and created a project management office. The other key element is a commitment to continuous, sustained improvement (kaizen) in the quality of the services they deliver.

To make these wholesale changes in the way they practiced law, the lawyers of Seyfarth also had to make wholesale changes in the way they carried out the business of law:

  • They replaced their professional development and promotion model with a more dynamic model based on advancement by competency and achievement rather than tenure.
  • They replaced their compensation model so that it rewarded results achieved rather than time spent.
    • Seyfarth has a scorecard system based on the ACC value index. They survey clients and then reflect that response in partner compensation.
  • They moved from merely automating manual processes to the creative, strategic use of knowledge, expertise and operational information.
  • They changed their service model from bill/pay as you go to one with a more strategic focus, with defined outcomes based on client business goals.

Lisa Damon is honest about the work involved in making such extensive changes within her firm.  While they don’t yet have 100% adoption, she says they make a new convert every day. Along the way, they take every opportunity to improve their practice and their business. As the inimitable Ms. Damon put it, “Seyfarth loves to process map. We create process maps for anything that moves within the firm.”  In addition, they approach this in a way that flattens the hierarchy within the firm; everyone with expertise is brought into the effort — whether they are professional project managers, paralegals, secretaries or lawyers.  In the beginning, they create their process maps with paper and pen. Later, they record their process maps using a lawyer-friendly tool called Task Map (an overlay to Visio). Once the process maps are created, they are linked to key knowledge management tools such as case analysis, checklists and samples. Better still, each process map can be tailored to the needs of individual clients or matters.

On the IT and knowledge management side, Dave Hambourger reports that they started by implementing enterprise search.  They also have built extranets that create new business for the firm.  (They are not just inert document repositories).  Another important element is the way they have deployed SharePoint to deliver “memorable value” to clients.  This includes matter management tools and financial dashboards.  The matter management tools show both the percentage of the project completed as well as the percentage of the budget spent. Since the dashboards are visible to the clients, the lawyers of the firm have had to learn the discipline of entering their time daily.

Lisa Damon will be the first to tell you that none of this has been easy or cheap.  However, the sheer joy with which she tells the Seyfarth Success Story suggests that the undertaking has been well worth the effort. At the end of the day, sustaining a success story like this requires top-level business support, careful project selection, project discipline, and a focus on continuous improvement.  Seyfarth shows that it can be done.  Is your firm willing to try?

****************************************************************

If you’d like to learn more about SeyfarthLean, I’d encourage you to read (or listen to) the following:

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Focus on the Right War Aims

Lincoln Memorial Each autumn I have the privilege of attending a day of classes at one of the best high schools in the country. Inevitably, I get to the end of the day exhausted — reminded once again that I now have only a fraction of the energy I once enjoyed as a teenager. But this post is not about the woes of aging. Nor is it about the joys of learning, although that day was a testament to the benefits of a great education. Rather, I want to share with you some things the students taught me in a fantastic discussion of the American Civil War.

In preparation for the class, the students previously read Lincoln’s second inaugural address, the Gettysburg Address, and a letter Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley (editor of The New York Tribune). Reading these texts over the shoulder of one of the students, I was struck again by the subtlety of Lincoln’s mind and the power of his rhetoric.  But, the purpose of the class was not to study rhetoric.  Rather, the students were led by a master teacher to unpack the shifts in Lincoln’s thinking and public pronouncements with respect to his war aims.

The class began with the earliest document of the three, the letter to Horace Greeley.  In it Lincoln stated that the main reason for the war was to preserve the Union in form and substance as it was before hostilities began, even if that meant tolerating slavery:  “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.”  That said, he made a clear distinction between the official war aims of his government and his personal views:  “I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.” This letter was written in August 1862.

One month later, Lincoln announced that he would emancipate all slaves in any Confederate state that did not return to Union control by the end of 1862. Suddenly slavery was front and center in official policy. What caused the shift? One of the participants in the class observed that the Union army had just won a strategic victory at the Battle of Antietam in which they stopped a Confederate incursion into Union territory.  This put an end to Confederate hopes that the English or French might join forces with the Confederacy to defeat the North. With this change in the fortunes of the secessionist South, Lincoln was emboldened to articulate a much more ambitious war aim in his Emancipation Proclamation: the abolition of slavery.

Since most of the readers of this blog are not professional historians, I’d like to step away from the Civil War and apply Lincoln’s experience to the day-to-day battles we face in the good fight for better knowledge sharing.  Many IT experts and project management professionals deplore “scope creep” in projects and, accordingly, advocate disciplined adherence to a project’s original purpose and scope. However, I’d like to suggest that it can be useful to reconsider your “war aims” during the course of a project. The purpose of this reconsideration is not to expand scope without regard for cost.  Instead, the point of the exercise is to ensure the relevance of your project by periodically evaluating the facts on the ground.  Has anything happened that makes it important that you revise your original goals? Has there been a major change in your business, your industry or in the economy generally that makes  the original goal less relevant? Or has there been a Battle of Antietam: a major advance on a critical front that makes your project more pressing or that requires that your project address a wider goal?

The key here is to understand that the situation is not static between the time the original requirements are gathered and the time the project is launched.  If you fail to consider those changes as you work, you run the risk of delivering a project that adequately addresses the concerns identified at the beginning of the project, but inadequately addresses the reality at the time of launch. This is not the best way to ensure relevance and value.

To be clear, this advice is not intended to be permission to run wild with your project.  Rather, it is a plea to stay in touch with the facts on the ground, periodically evaluate the impact on your project of changes in those conditions, and revise (as necessary) your war aims to reflect the new reality.  Otherwise you may find that you’ve won the war to preserve the Union but now must confront the evils of slavery with an exhausted army.

[Photo Credit: Russell Petcoff]

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That Vision Thing

Tablica do badania wzroku z reklamy Vision ExpressA lack of vision has tripped up presidents and business leaders.  President George H.W. Bush famously dismissed “that vision thing” as something not worth investing in.  As he soon discovered, however, the electorate did not agree with him.  His official biography on the US Senate website contains the following sad commentary:

Bush also suffered from his lack of what he called “the vision thing,” a clarity of ideas and principles that could shape public opinion and influence Congress. “He does not say why he wants to be there,” complained columnist George Will, “so the public does not know why it should care if he gets his way.”

In my post, The Purpose-Driven Organization, I discussed how important it was that an organization know WHY it exists and WHY it does what it does. Simon Sinek believes that it is the job of the leader of an organization to master that vision thing — to see a better world — and then to communicate it in such clear and compelling terms that others volunteer to work above and beyond the call of duty to make that shared vision a reality.  But all the goodwill in the world may not be sufficient to reach that goal.

In fact if you look carefully, you’ll undoubtedly find that there are examples in your life and in your organization of the proposition that good intentions often come to naught without supporting structures. Steve Denning wrote recently in a Forbes blog of the challenges of making changes in an organization without tackling its underlying corporate culture.  Using the World Bank as his case study, he noted frequent mistakes made by senior management in an attempt to change organizational culture:

  • Overuse of the power tools of coercion and underuse of leadership tools.
  • Beginning with a vision or story, but failing to put in place the management tools that will cement the behavioral changes in place.
  • Beginning with power tools even before a clear vision or story of the future is in place. [emphasis added]

The big exception he found was Robert McNamara, who had a profound and lasting impact on the mission and activities of the World Bank.  According to Denning, the key to McNamara’s success was to create a support structure to underpin the vision he had for the World Bank:

McNamara … arrived with a clear vision for the organization: it was to be a lending organization that was lending a great deal more money. He had a clear idea of the management he wanted introduced: hierarchical bureaucracy. He introduced systems and processes that focused everyone’s attention on his vision of the World Bank as a rapidly growing lending organization and the type of management required. Those systems are still largely in place today and still guide management action.

Now let’s move from the arena of large organizations to our personal lives.  Every New Year’s Day, people all over the world articulate a personal vision — usually in the form of a New Year’s resolution.  And, for many, those resolution are abandoned within the first few days of the new year.  Why?  In How to Stay Focused on the Important Things, Peter Bregman suggests that it’s because we fail to restructure our personal environments (our lives) in such a way as to improve our chances of accomplishing our new priorities:

In other words, it’s great to learn new habits, but if we want to sustain them, we need to change our environment, and then maintain that new environment, for as long as we want to maintain our change.

Coming back to knowledge management, as Denning so rightly points out, it’s not sufficient to launch a brilliant KM system or technology.  Rather, you’re going to have to tackle and change the underlying structure of the organization that makes knowledge sharing less likely.  Unfortunately this work is both necessary and hard.  And, it cannot be done overnight.  The good news, however, is that Robert McNamara has shown us that when you put the right supporting structures in place, the desired behaviors will continue — despite changes in leadership, fashion or vision.

So go ahead and dream your dreams — identify your compelling vision for your organization.  But don’t forget to do the hard work of creating an environment that makes it possible to achieve that vision.

 

[Photo Credit: Trochim]

 

 

 

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Bert Sandie Keynote: The Biggest Challenge is Culture [#e2conf]

Bertie Sandie (Electronic Arts) says that the biggest challenge for Enterprise 2.0 is creating and maintaining a culture of collaboration. He asks is we have a roadmap for creating a culture of collaboration.

[These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • What can be done to foster collaboration?Give them virtual and physcial places to share and then acknowledge their contribution. (Electronic Arts copies the contributor’s supervisor on the acknowledgement in order to provide positive reinforcement.) You also need to create an environment that stimulates collaboration. EA actually has physical spaces that encourage people to gather and share ideas (complete with comfortable seats and whiteboards). They remove barriers and move people in order to ensure lots of cross-fertilization.
  • Organizaton Affects Collaboration. How are your people organized? In pods, teams, divisions, business units? Is each level of the organization optimized for collaboration? Each level will have a different culture of collaboration and one culture may not transfer easily to another part of the organization. Nonetheless, it is possible to improve culture in real-time by well-designed team building exercises.
  • Change Management is Hard.Sandie cautions us that most change management and culture change efforts fail. There are a variety of models (see John Kotter), but you will need to develop a model that works well in your environment. At EA they focus on Heads, Hearts and Hands. This means changing how people think, feel and act. Sandie works in corporate learning and leads workshops to help lead change.
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From Resolutions to Reality

A new year, a new beginning.

Inevitably, with the change of the calendar comes the almost irresistible urge to make New Year’s resolutions. The problem is that for most of us, they rarely are resolutions that govern the entire year. Rather, they are more along the lines of a little wishful thinking for the first few weeks days of the new year.

With that reality in mind, it might be prudent for me to refrain from suggesting that we make even one resolution, but the optimist in me persists. So I’ll try again this year.  However, to maximize our chances for success, let’s keep things simple.  Just answer the following question:

What one action could you take in 2011 that would meaningfully improve your work?

  • Refocus your strategy?
  • Add or remove one particular responsibility?
  • Pull the plug on an underperforming project or work relationship?
  • Be in closer touch with your clients?
  • Rethink your business model?

To be honest, I’d love to do all the above in 2011.  However, that’s really too big a bite to chew.  Even with the best intentions in the world, tackling all of these at once is likely to result in an undigested mess. Since I want to move from wishful thinking to a better reality, I need a more limited approach. In my case, it comes down to one thing: focus on the true value of my work.  Once I know what generates value, I know where to concentrate my efforts.  If I can do this one thing in 2011, I will radically improve my reality and the reality of my clients.

So, if you’re committed to moving past paper resolutions and wishful thinking to something concrete, what’s the one thing you can (and will) do in 2011 to improve your reality at work?

[Photo Credit: Win Lwin]

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The Change Management Challenge of Legal Project Management

Andrew Terrett (Director of Knowledge Management, BLG) and Joshua Fireman (VP and General Counsel, ii3) presented a full-day workshop on legal project management (LPM) at the Ark Group Legal Knowledge Management Conference (October 26, 2010). Here are my notes.

The presenters ran out of time — after a busy, information-filled day. So we ended the day with a brief discussion about Change Management and the other challenges of legal project management (LPM).

Change Management for LPM (courtesy of John Kotter)

1. Create a sense of urgency
2. Build commitment
3. Develop a sense of urgency
4. Communicate the change vision
5. Develop an organization to effect change
6. Deliver short-term successes
7. Consoliate wins and produce more wins
8. Institutionalize change.

Eight Common Errors & Their Consequences (courtesy of Andrew Terrett and Joshua Fireman)

1. Allowing too much complacency
2. Failing to create sufficiently powerful guiding coalition
3. Underestimating the power of the vision
4. Under-communicating the the vision
5. Permitting obstacles to block the vision
6. Failing to create short-term wins
7. Declaring victory too soon
8. Neglecting to anchor changes in the corporate vision

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KM and Change-Resistant Lawyers

Scientists have been warning doctors and patients alike about the dangers of over-using antibiotics. One of the biggest problems they see is that improper use of antibiotics has led to the development of drug-resistant bugs. Because these super bugs are becoming increasingly difficult to treat, they bedevil modern medicine.

Similarly, we find that there is a phenomenon that bedevils many law firm knowledge management personnel: change-resistant lawyers. These are the lawyers who really aren’t interested in learning about new ways of doing their work. They are comfortable in their routines and don’t want to budge. Even if you wax rhapsodic about the multiple benefits of the new thing you are proposing, they are likely to tell you why they would rather stick with the old thing they’ve been complaining about.

What makes lawyers so change resistant? Nothing as simple as too many antibiotics. Rather, I suspect it is a combination of some of the following factors:

  • *Change is scary. As a result, many people tend to avoid it like the plague.
  • *Change can impose more work on an already over-burdened lawyer. Time-strapped lawyers are rarely willing to spend time they don’t think they have to learn a new system.
  • *The 9x Factor is an enormous barrier to change since you have to prove that your innovation is likely to be nine times better than what already exists.
  • *Change management is an art that not all knowledge managers have mastered. While we usually can plan change management steps leading up to and directly after launch, we don’t always succeed at creating a new environment that supports the desired change.
  • So how can you help lawyers embrace change? First, start with their clients. If the change is demanded by the client, that will improve the odds of lawyer adoption. If that isn’t an option, consider obtaining a mandate from senior firm management. However, be aware that lawyers are notoriously independent and may subvert your new program in a passive-aggressive way by barely complying. Yet another approach is to adopt guerilla tactics: work with small groups of lawyers who either have experienced so much pain with the current system that they are willing to try something different, or have glimpsed a vision of a better future that compels them to move out of their rut. Finally, don’t discount the value of incremental change. Sometimes that’s the only change scared, busy people can achieve.

    What ways have you found to help change-resistant people?

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    Are You Ready for Change?

    Are you resistant to change? Are you an obstacle to change? What kind of questions are those for a knowledge manager? Important questions.

    So much of what we do involves change. In fact, we’re constantly urging our internal clients to try new things, adopt new methods, be open to change — provided it’s the change we’re recommending. But are we willing to eat our own dog food?

    You can’t be an effective change agent unless you yourself are open to change. To be sure you are open to change, see how you measure against a professional change agent’s 9 Tips for Change Agents:

    1. Be open to data at the start — when you are open to the data, you are no longer trapped by your preconceptions and prejudices.
    2. Network like crazy — the more people you know, the more inputs you have.  This increases the challenges to your mindset, which is a good thing.
    3. Document your own learning — this process of reflecting on what you are doing will accelerate your learning.
    4. Take senior management along — involve management in benchmarking, help them understand when your recommendations are standard or unusual.
    5. No Fear! — to promote change is to invite challenge and resistance.  You can’t do this if you’re worried about job security.
    6. Be a learning person yourself — unless you are learning (the right lessons), you won’t be effective.
    7. Laugh when it hurts — a sense of humor and optimism is critical when asking people to do what they most resist (i.e., change).
    8. Know the business before you try to change anything — Do you have real experience on the front line?  If not, it will be harder to help.
    9. Finish what you start

    While all of these are important for knowledge management, item 8 poses a special challenge for law firm knowledge managers who do not have experience as practicing lawyers or paralegals.  Here’s what the author of these 9 Tips has to say about her business:

    I don’t think you can do this work if you’re just a theorist. I’ve been a sales rep, I’ve been in a marketing job where I worked with the operations side. So when I go about the work of creating a change strategy, I already have an understanding of the people in our organization and what they do.

    if you aren’t either a practicing lawyer or paralegal, how do you address this issue?  How do you gain practical knowledge of the business and stop being a law firm knowledge management theorist?  Is your method effective?

    Being open to being wrong, being open to the learning that comes from failure — these are key hallmarks of a person who is ready for change and ready to be change.  What about you?

    [h/t to @weknowmore for pointing out this Fast Company article.]

    [Photo Credit:  nhussein]

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