3-minute read, 10-minute exercise
There is a very good chance that you were trained as a lawyer to do your work, achieve a certain number of billable hours per day and do it again the next day.
Then do it again each day each week, try to take a day or two off or have a huge unbillable task take up an afternoon and then scramble to catch up on billable hours on later days. How did you feel when you finally made it back to only needing to achieve the billable hours for one day on that day? Good? Safe?
There is also a very good chance that you were taught one way to perform your work. It would have been the most accepted way to perform the work at the firm you were at as a junior lawyer.
You became very good at performing your work quickly and with minimal mistakes, so you could achieve your billable hours target without adding much unbillable time. How did you feel when your work for the day was barely corrected, and you didn’t have much time wasted as unbillable? Good? Safe?
Change is Uncomfortable
New ideas seem great in theory. I bet you have a heap of them that you think about from time to time. It makes you feel good to have ideas and know that you can come up with them.
New ideas even look great as an exciting change for other people. It’s much less risky to watch other people implement new ideas because it means that we get to stay safe.
What stops you from implementing your new ideas for your practice? Excuses. Whether you put reasoning to the excuse or not, there will usually be something that’s stopping you from implementing those ideas.
You don’t have spare time? Well, you probably could find time to implement your ideas if you didn’t use any excuses. Tough, but true. Look at your schedule and cut back on something else that takes up your time. It might mean a short term sacrifice, but if it gives you time to implement your new idea, it will be for long term gain.
You don’t have the money? Well, have a look at your idea and the principles behind it. Do you need lots of money to implement your idea, at least in some form? Do a little research and think outside of the box. There are generally lots of affordable ways to implement new ideas. Also, think about how you implement the idea. It might be best to implement your idea on a small scale first, then increase its size later.
Excuses Are Safe, But Are They Good?
Excuses are a good way to keep you safe. They give you reasons not to take a risk with your new ideas for your practice. They protect you from feeling uncomfortable, anxious or embarrassed and direct you back to the good and safe feeling that you get from sticking to your old routines.
Excuses can be useful if you have wild ideas that are incredibly risky and don’t make good business sense. The keep you, your team and your practice safe.
But using excuses to prevent you from implementing any ideas, particularly smaller ideas that lead to positive change, isn’t good.
What happens to all of the new ideas that your team comes up with? Do you have a forum to communicate new ideas? Have they only been met with excuses? Has your team given up even telling you about new ideas?
It’s time to change.
The legal industry is changing rapidly, and the use of technology in practice is growing exponentially. Look at the excuses you’ve told yourself about any new ideas over the last 12 months. Are you holding yourself and your team back?
Be Open to New Ideas
Use the next 10 minutes wisely. Schedule a team meeting for half an hour in a week or two to brainstorm ideas. Now write down a few ideas that you’ve been thinking about for a while. You know you have a few. Don’t write down any excuses or reasons why the ideas would or wouldn’t work. Just write down your ideas.
In the brainstorming session, go through the ideas and be open to listening to the ideas presented from other team members, without thinking about whether they would work or not and why.
Then work with your team to choose one idea to investigate further. See what you and your team can accomplish when you take away the excuses?
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