Last week I told you about my work as a faculty member at the Managing Partner Forum in St Louis. The most popular aspects of the conference are the Managing Partner Idea Exchanges. They are broken down by firm size and Aviva Cuyler from JDSupra and I facilitated the small firm group that included firms up to 40 lawyers. I would like to share some of the highlights with you.

One of the topics we addressed was… CHANGE. We discussed the various ways that Managing Partners have had success implementing change and here are the top five:

  1. Bring in an outside resource to shake things up.
  2. Create financial incentives.
  3. Emulate success – look at what has worked in the past and do more of it.
  4. Focus on and support the people who are interested in implementing the change.
  5. Minimize the risk of opposition (e.g. sunset the changes unless they are approved again after a certain period. Start small and work your way up).

There is no question that change is difficult even when the current situation is painful and ineffective. I think the list our group came up with could be extremely helpful for anyone in any position in a firm… you don’t have to be the Managing Partner to initiate change. These days "business as usual" is not a good thing. We need to continually strive to improve, grow and stay competitive.