Friday, October 24, 2008

Is Your Firm Ready for Change?

There is a difference between, "We need to change" and "We are ready to change." In fact the difference is pretty easy to detect.

We Need to Change (as spoken by a partner or principle):
  • "How things are is unacceptable. Let me tell you how things should be."
  • "I have had considerable success doing these things. Let's do it this way."
  • "We are totally behind the curve on what other firms are doing. We need to do that too."
  • "I totally understand what you are saying, but, I have this idea that will put us over the top!"
  • "I read this article/book/whatever and totally get what we need to do right now. Stop everything so that we can focus."
  • "I totally get where you want us to go but I'm not ready for all of that. Let's talk about what I think we can do."
  • Etc.
Ready to Change
  • "What do you want us to do?"
All of the responses above come from a place of fear.

The difference is who controls what comes next. It is so hard to give over control of any part of our careers or our thinking, but so many successful firms have done just that. I have never doubted the excellent skills of the people within the firms I have worked with... and I do wish they would spend less time doubting mine.

The difference between a firm that wants to change and a firm ready to change is the willingness to trust someone other than themselves. If you can take this step the dividends will amaze you!