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Our first look under the hood usually reveals that the transformation project has been resourced with inexperienced employees or contractors. There are budget and scheduling blowouts often due to being incorrect from the outset, and the original scope of work and the intended benefits have been vastly reduced. Firm morale is at an all-time low.
He who represents himself has a fool for a client.
Most of us will call a plumber if there is water leaking from the ceiling, and similarly, a licenced builder when planning a home extension. Presumably the reason we engage professionals is because we want the risk mitigated expediently and the job completed with visible benefits. It may also be because we don’t have the skills to take on these challenges ourselves and want peace of mind in knowing the job will be delivered competently, and with no surprises.
Astonishingly, the rationale we apply to engaging professionals around the home is often ignored within the workplace. Too often we see such jobs allocated to well-meaning but less than competent employees. Worse, awarded to those who have mastered the art of using impressive buzzwords without much substance behind them.
So why do we make these decisions in the workplace when the risks of getting it wrong are so high and the consequences can be enduring? Is it ego, cost, favours owed, or wanting to appease an eager employee who wants to prove they are up for a new experience?
Law firm executives suffering from a failed transformation project often engage us to remediate the damage and eliminate the organisational distress they are experiencing. Not only has money been wasted, but more critically, time enjoying the benefits of getting it right the first time are lost forever. And here’s the rub, it’s often more expensive to unravel the nonsense that has been implemented than to engage the professional from the beginning.
Our first look under the hood usually reveals that the transformation project has been resourced with inexperienced employees or contractors. There are budget and scheduling blowouts often due to being incorrect from the outset, and the original scope of work and the intended benefits have been vastly reduced. Firm morale is at an all-time low. The outcome – digital changes mirroring the manual process they were to replace.
To avoid these problems, we recommend beginning with engaging a seasoned professional who not only has the experience to effectively lead your transformation, but also has sufficient subject matter expertise to know when other specialists are required at critical junctures. Importantly, the professional needs to understand that this includes tapping into the firm’s corporate intelligence and internal subject matter expertise where available. This approach commands the firm’s engagement in the transition, which is vital for on-going business continuity.
We recommend a thorough due diligence process when engaging professionals, specialists and internal subject matter experts. Validate their past performance with similar projects, evaluate their experience with leading transformation, and tease out their degree of change management expertise. Transformation involves people embracing change, not just implementing technology changes. Investing wisely in the due diligence process will always lead to the benefits being sought and avoid the disasters we too often listen to from our clients who are facing relentless angst.
Reach out if you would like to learn more about the best ways to lead transformation.
Robert Wagner, Managing Partner, Harriss Wagner Consultants & Advisers