(a) Tweak the environment 2/2

Contract automation requires to change habits, to change behaviour. To change people, you must learn how to change their habits. If the right habits are in place, good behaviour follows and the driver does not have to take charge. In SWITCH, this is called the behavioural autopilot. SWITCH proposes two aspects to think about when building habits:

  • the habit should serve and advance your mission,
  • the habit needs to be relatively easy to embrace.

Chip and Dan Heath observed that when behaviour is habitual, it becomes almost careless (it does not ‘tax’ the driver).

Do a ‘motion study’. If you’re trying to make a behaviour easier, study it. Watch one person go through the process of reading a request for a contract, bouncing back for additional data and details, searching for a model clause or latest-deal sample, copy-pasting it into the contract-to-be-created, formatting the clauses, aligning the contract’s terminology, checking the definitions, checking cross-references, checking legal entity details, et cetera.

Optimise further down the road. It is important to note that inefficiencies related to not-contract automation may well be in the back-end of the contracting process, where a signed contract needs to be filed in the contract (lifecycle) management system (and where the data that had – at least largely – already been inserted during the questionnaire of the Weagree Wizard must be entered by hand). Since the Weagree Wizard can be integrated with external applications, the old-school way of contract creation inherently contains inefficiencies that will be caught by actually connecting the Weagree Wizard with those external applications. Note where there are bottlenecks and where performance may slip. Then try to rearrange the environment to remove those obstacles, by linking. Provide signposts that show people which way to turn (or that celebrate the progress they’ve made already). Eliminate steps. Shape the path.

Shut down access to the analogue era. Getting the elephant and the driver on track, requires that you tweak the environment: optimise or create the circumstances to actually upgrade model contracts, to work on the clause library (or contract know-how, to use contract automation. If you were a teacher and wanted students to show up on time for class, just lock the doors. Soon enough they will learn that if they want to be in, they have to be there in time. If you want your team members to create contracts ‘automatically’, shut down the folders in which model contracts were stored. If you want people in the business to use the latest templates only, launch an upgraded version and make the old ones inaccessible. This is a step not to take before mainstream users crossed the chasm.

Continue reading (how to build and anchor habits)