The difference between a successful firm in the Old Normal Era and a successful firm in the New Normal era is huge. How to get from one to the other? Big changes. So how to get to the New Normal? Watch this video by Dan Heath who, with his brother Chip, authored Why Change is So Hard. Punchline of the video?
And here’s why this matters for change: In almost all change situations, you’re substituting new, unfamiliar behaviors for old, comfortable ones, and that burns self-control. Let’s say I present a new morning routine to you that specifies how you’ll shower and brush your teeth. You’ll understand it and you might even agree with my process. But to pull it off, you’ll have to supervise yourself very carefully. Every fiber of your being will want to go back to the old way of doing things. Inevitably, you’ll slip. And if I were uncharitable, I’d see you going back to the old way and I’d say, You’re so lazy. Why can’t you just change?
This brings us back to the point I promised I’d make: That what looks like laziness is often exhaustion. Change wears people out—even well-intentioned people will simply run out of fuel.
What’s the point for law firms? How hard is it going to be to rewire the DNA of law firms built on hourly billing? Do firms think it is easy to start operating efficiently, cutting out the fat that has been fodder for increased billing for decades? It is exhausting in the extreme, and people like Dan Heath might love to do case studies on law firms seeking to become Value Fee firms. But the point for law firm leaders is that every change needs to be thought out carefully and new behaviors monitored with an eagle’s eye for prey.