If you haven't noticed it seems like zombies are taking over the world. Video games, commercials, movies (seen that Brad Pitt movie, World War-Z?) - and maybe some law firms!
Innovate, innovate, innovate. Law firms must innovate. It's said over and over again - and often mimicked by some of the zombies themselves (who seem to mindlessly utter the word as they stumble around). Yet how many law firms are really innovating? And why NOT?? That is what I keep wondering - and the answer is...because those who want to innovate and look for ways to innovate are afraid of or stopped by...yep, you guessed it - the ZOMBIES!
So, with some tongue in cheek of course, let's see how you law firm innovators out there can cure the Zombies and save your law firm!
How to Spot a Law Firm Zombie
Our research has shown that Law Firm Zombies exhibit the following 'tells' when presented with an innovative idea or solution:
1. The first action they take is call other law firms to see what they are doing - to be sure they don't do anything differently.
2. They order that an 'analysis' be undertaken so they can prove to everyone that no one else is doing things like this and therefore their law firm shouldn't do it either.
3. Finally, to be sure innovation never takes hold, they refuse to show up to meetings or talk to anyone having to do with the innovative thought or idea. If cornered, they attack the innovators - yelling "troublemakers" as loudly as possible.
How to Cure a Law Firm Zombie
Now that you know how to identify the zombies that are holding back your law firm's ability to innovate, let's look at how you can cure them!
1. Wake them up. Law firm zombies are no different than other walking dead - they have fallen into a bit of a malaise. So first thing we need to do is wake them up. This means we have to throw some 'water' into their faces in the form of reality - and accountability for their ongoing lack of innovation or blocking of innovation. There is plenty in the news DAILY to help here...start educating now and consistently.
2. Perservere. Zombies, being mostly dead, tend to suck energy from the system. They tend to beat out innovators because its hard to combat a 'dead weight'. The trick here is, you have to out perservere them - and you can. Facts and logic prevail when consistently put up against old ways of thinking. Here again, educate, educate, educate.
3. Take Risk, with Incremental Proof. Finally, YOU have to be willing to take some risk up-front, choosing to implement innovative ideas and solutions. Start small - take money from budgets you have allocated for other projects and re-allocate them to key, incremental innovations. But, from the beginning, be prepared to have metrics proving that your innovations had an effect. But don't stop - keep going - incrementally introducing new ways of thinking and doing things - proving over and over again that it works. Careful! If you find you aren't willing to do the 3 things listed above to cure the zombies...you had better perform a self-evaluation to see if the zombies have abducted you along the way!
The bottom line here is that each of you in your law firm is responsible for your firm's ongoing success. Unlike in the past, when RISK in a law firm was seen almost wholly as a bad thing, law firms today have to learn how to take calculated RISKS to be DIFFERENT from their competitors.
Innovation, quite frankly, can feel scarey and comes with an investment. It means NEW, UNPROVEN, UNTRIED - by definition! It also means DIFFERENTIATED, ADVANTAGE and HIGH VALUE when it is chosen and implemented well.
Don't let the zombies in your law firm stop your firm from choosing and implementing innovation. Choose to be different. Choose to trust yourself to know when you see something innovative. Be willing to try that innovation over doing the same things law firms have always done (that is - what everyone else is already doing). Choose differently - and see your law firm succeed in ways not before seen.
I'll give you a hint on a way to start - with protecting your revenue and profitability by innovating your marketing & business development approaches. Zombie's approach - CRM as the end-all-be-all (20 years of trying the same thing that hasn't worked yet). Innovative approach - click the button below.