If you’ve tracked with me for any length of time, you know that one of the key strategies I promote for law firm growth is to automate as much as possible. Anything repetitive (read: mind-numbing) work that can be done automatically, set up a system and process so it can run in the background. There are also procedures for effective marketing, following up on leads, reminders, measuring results, etc. But it’s probably not just you—you have a team to help you run things, and these strategies won’t work unless your team actually does them. So what can you do to bring them on board and make sure they use these business-building systems, processes and procedures?
Take an Inclusive Approach, not Take-It-Or-Leave-It
Remember that any change to your process should be designed to make your team’s jobs easier—and if it doesn’t, you shouldn’t implement it. We’re all creatures of habit, and most employees resist change as a matter of reflex. But if you can get them to see how the process saves them time and bandwidth, you should be able to get them to “buy in” to the idea as opposed to force-feeding it to them. Listen to their feedback, respect their concerns, but keep showing them how the process improves their job experience. The smart ones will eventually take ownership of it.
Refine the Process through Team Input
As you begin implementing new procedures, keep an open line of communication and be accessible to employee feedback. It may take a few tweaks to refine the process, and since your staff are the ones using it, they are the ones best qualified to report on how effective it is. Keeping this open communication helps your team feel involved in developing the new process rather than just having it imposed upon them—and that, too, improves buy-in.
Measure Results and Reward Performance
With any new system or process, you should have a method in place to test and measure its effectiveness—and in that way, you’ll also know whether people are using the process. Metrics create automatic accountability. When the new system brings better results, share that victory with your team with some sort of incentive or reward. It’s simple positive reinforcement, but it goes a long way toward keeping your team on board with new procedures.
You may have noticed a common thread with these tips—the key to ensuring your team uses your new procedures is buy-in. You can, of course, require your employees to use the new system as a requisite to keeping their jobs, but with that approach you’ll always have to keep standing over them and policing them—and that’s not what you’re in business to do. Once you have buy-in—once your team takes ownership of the process—you’ll never have to worry again about whether they’re following through.