The Bridge - August 2013 - (Page 9)
Effective change management for sustainable records future
By Roger Meertins of Williams Lea
When we talk about going green in the records and document management in the legal community, the
discussion often moves towards becoming paperless through the implementation of a digital solution.
This can be a nonstarter for most firms, due to cost and resource limitations. There are multiple ways to
approach this challenge, and we will explore some of them in this article. Some of the solutions should
allow you to take steps toward meeting reasonable sustainability goals without breaking the bank. Let’s
not forget that a solution is only valuable if it meets the specific needs and goals of the organization.
Only then will it allow for the innovation you hope to achieve. I will touch on a few options for firms large
and small, to take the next steps towards having a more sustainable and environment-friendly Records
and document management practice; the bulk of time will be spent tackling the other issue that has
been a barrier to innovation in this practice area, effective change management.
Many organizations cite a lack of funding, resources or limited expertise in the field as reasons for not
moving the ball forward. Within the industry there has been a perception that an external vendor solution
can be the only option, with many vendors competing for this lucrative business. We will not spend time
discussing some of these vendor options since there is an exhaustive amount of data on the subject and
you can acquire this information from any legal trade show or simple internet search. Ultimately, if a vendor solution is right for
you, it will be important to remember that any solution you choose should be tailored to fit your organization and not the other
Too many organizations purchase systems that are unable to communicate with their current systems and fail to meet the objective of an integrated enterprise wide solution. Success is more than just implementing a great tool or process. Success is
achieved when a firm is able to implement the right strategy to maximize utilization of that tool or process, while achieving widespread acceptance. Whether big or small, throwing money or resources at this challenge rarely leads to the desired result. If you
can effectively define the need within your organization, understand the capacity for change, mobilize commitment, align infrastructure, plan and execute the change, you will be well on your way to successfully implementing a sustainable environment
friendly solution that fits your firm.
As a potential project leader or change agent, you will need to start with an important question, “Why is making the change important?”. The answer will help you to define the need and develop a vision for your firm. It is critical that your stakeholders share
this vision, otherwise you will not be able to mobilize commitment. Without commitment, your solution, whether large or small, will
be seen as a novelty within your organization. When viewed this way there will be no perception of value. Innovation is more
widely accepted when it is seen as component of the long term strategy of the firm. Avoid being locked into a particular solution
or process. If you are not able to get commitment, the proposal will not be well received. When stakeholders feel included they
will throw their full support behind you. If they feel forced or excluded your solution will be met with many objections and not have
the desired impact.
Aligning infrastructure is another challenge that many innovators face. They fail to thoroughly understand the staffing, IT, budget,
policy, or organizational requirements for any change. You are doing more than changing a process or adding a new tool, you
are changing behaviors. It is important that you are reassessing the infrastructures, processes and tools to ensure you are still
achieving your desired goal.
Effective planning and executing is achieved when the scope of the change gets a clear mandate and agreement from your key
stakeholders. It will now be important to manage this change with passion, make it a key priority within the organization, it should
be publicly supported, resources should be made available and stakeholders should be counted on to help overcome any resistance that may occur.
When reviewing possible solutions, you should use two categories to assess the complexity of the project: ease of implementation and potential impact. Use a simple scale of easy, moderate and hard when referring to ease of implementation and small,
medium and large when referring to the overall impact on the environment and your firm’s culture. I will provide an example below, however it is not limited to any particular solution.
The first option is easy to implement with a small impact. Sometimes it is easier to replace the light bulbs in your house than it is
to install solar panels. Changing the recycled content of your paper is simple step toward a more sustainable environment. To
achieve the largest benefit use 100% post-consumer, chlorine-free recycled paper in all copiers and printers. You can also request that your vendors produce large blowbacks using the same type of paper. A study conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shown that a lawyer on average uses up to 100,000 sheets of mostly virgin pulp paper
per year. The production of this paper alone releases up to 4.5 tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere. The adoption of simplistic paper management practices recommended by the EPA may reduce such emissions by up
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Golden Gate Chapter
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Bridge - August 2013
The Bridge - August 2013
Final Rule Makes Changes to HIPPA Regulations and HITECH Act and Could Lead to More Breach Notifications
Relationships in Business
Effective Change Management for Sustainable Records Future
Records Management: What it Means for Legal Services Professionals
Change is Good: E-Discovery and the Modern Practice of Law
2012– 2013 Fiscal Years Financial Report
Salary Survey Order Form
2013 Business Partners
Golden Gate Chapter Leadership
August 2013 Calendar
The Bridge - August 2013