(c) Rally the herd (shine a spotlight on the early signs of success)
Contract automation embedded in daily practice. Especially when it comes to innovation in the legal sector: the elephant, the emotional side of people, always looks to the herd for clues about how to behave. In times of change, nobody knows how to behave and that can lead to problems. Chip and Dan Heath observed that people do what they do because they see their peers doing those things. That’s safe; avoids risks. Lawyers are very good at this, avoiding risks. When the herd has embraced the right behaviour, they encourage leaders to highlight that it is working and to publicize it. Chip and Dan Heath observed: behaviour is contagious: help it sprint.
Be smart about social pressure. If the majority of your team are already using contract automation, publicise that fact. Such social pressure will influence the others to conform.
Beware! If only a minority optimised their way of working, the quality of their work or contributing to a robust contract know-how base; communicating this poor fact may lead others to slack off (forever). Solution: can you set up a free space to protect your pro-contract automation minority from being squelched or co-opted? (In essence, a free space turns a minority into a majority.)
Endemol Shine used Weagree’s contract drafting ecosystem. There are many ways to create a free space. You could encourage those who adopted contract automation to take a ‘working lunch’ whenever they deem helpful, where they could coordinate over a meal. Endemol Shine asked us whether their legal counsel who inserts templates into the Weagree Wizard could work in our offices. It proved very successful, also for all other customers that subsequently used office space to automate their templates; it provides them the possibility to work uninterrupted, and to ask all template-insertion questions and model-contract-upgrading questions they encounter. An afternoon of working at Weagree’s contract drafting ecosystem facilitates a leap forward.
When people embrace contract automation, make it visible. People who resist change tend to cluster together and create a kind of ‘echo chamber’. They may conclude, falsely, that most people dislike the new direction as much as they do. As a leader, you should fight the echo chamber by showcasing people who adopted contract automation. Shine a spotlight on the early signs of success. At ASML, the first generations of in-house counsel emphasised how successful their contract automation solution was: succeeding generations picked it up contagiously. The new way of contract creation with Weagree was so successful that the business started asking for it as well.
Note: if a bright spot lights up, make sure everyone sees it.