Whilst the world continues its unrelenting propensity for being in perma-crisis mode, uncertainty seems the only thing that is – well, certain. For those of us at the helm of teams and organisations, we are charged not only with finding ways to steady the ship but also keeping our eyes fixed firmly forwards. The difficulty is to look beyond short-term instability - where the urge is to do whatever it will take to survive - and instead find ways for our organisations to thrive. Growth in turbulent times may well be the headline, but how do we master such a challenge?
Digital transformation is fundamental to the fight, whether you are managing a business or heading up its functions across an organisation. Its meaning has long since expanded from the adoption of a new piece of technology or the upskilling of the team in data analytics; and legal, in particular, has struggled to keep pace with the need for change even though we all face the same challenges. For us, digital transformation is as much a mindset as is about technology. As at its best it requires a deep, authentic and uninhibited overhaul of what it is to ‘practice law’.
Leaders, whether in legal or across the wider C-suite, must reverse-engineer the old ways of doing business. Clients and customers are the new heart; their experiences are critical to the make-or-break of the business. Talent is harder to find and to keep, and the wider set of stakeholders we are now answerable to is shifting the old hierarchies and power structures. Never has there been a better set of conditions to support the fundamental overhaul of how we deliver our purpose.
Real digital transformation requires recognising that change is needed but that it must be managed so that people – hearts and minds - are brought along on the journey. It asks us to develop a critical eye, to grasp what doesn’t work, to scrutinise the enduring hangovers of what once constituted ‘business as usual’. It requires courage and hope. It requires a culture that makes the uncomfortable comfortable, facing into our natural human tendencies to fear and resist change.
Legal must finally out itself as a business-critical function, sharing its combined experience and commercial acumen across the board. Data should be both embraced and understood as a tool that translates into value-creation, efficiency, and business optimisation. Leaders must harness the motivations and passions of individuals and leverage these to build energised teams whose collective desire is to delight by going beyond the expected outcomes.
There’s opportunity in our current chaos, and leaders should be using this time to reimagine the future. Growth is possible, even during a period of turbulence as destabilising as the one we are collectively experiencing. We hope to inspire you through our key insights, helping you uncover and action the first steps to what lies beyond today’s horizons.