Overcoming resistance to change in Technology Enablement

According to Dr Larry Richard, a former lawyer turned psychologist, the typically lawyer personality profile, is one which scores very low on openness to change. One of the main challenges behind embedding legal technology into in-house teams, is overcoming resistance to change. However, it is understandable that people are resistant to technology that at first glance appears to make their daily working life harder. Equally, we are so much less likely to be resistant to technology that helps us or makes life easier for us. There are many changes in technology that has made our lives easier and therefore is readily adopted; ordering a taxi or food via an app are obvious examples.

Communicating and developing multiple training strategies (whilst needed) will not be enough. It is also particularly hard to embed technology if there is another (easier) possible route for the user. According to the Nudge theory, developed by leading behavioural economists Richard Thaler and Cass R, Sunstein understanding and changing people’s behaviour is likely to be much more successful by analysing, improving, designing and offering free choices for people, rather than dictating that a new approach must be followed.

Consequently we have to work really hard to ensure that we develop technology from the perspective of the users, understanding the importance of empathy and putting yourself in the shoes of the person using the technology, this way, they are much more likely to choose to adopt the technology. Using design thinking principles or agile business driven development methodologies to develop technology around the users is therefore essential. And it doesn’t stop there, once the technology is launched, constantly requesting feedback and making improvements is also mandatory. The challenges associated with embedding technology is by far the greater with technology not designed with the user in mind….lawyers like all other users are resistant to change that hinders and does not help.

Amy McConnell

Vodafone Business
Amy McConnell is Head of Legal Operations for Vodafone Business. Amy manages a multi-disciplinary team whose goal is to shape the legal team of the future. Amy is responsible for the development and delivery of the legal digital strategy, implementation of a contract management platform, transformation, knowledge strategy, process improvements and resource & panel management. Amy has worked in Vodafone for 13 years, in a variety of different positions and was recently seconded to the role of Chief of Staff to the Vodafone Business CEO. Amy is able to use the knowledge and experience gained from this role, combined with her legal background, to lead the Legal Operations team. Amy was selected as a Timewise 50 Power Part Timers in 2015.