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A Change Is Gonna Come…

Source: Major, Lindsey & Africa's Global In-House Outlook - Issue 2, September 2017

As Sam Cooke said way back in 1964. And change is definitely coming to the legal profession. But how ready are you for it?

It's quite possible, with developments in technology, the almost complete globalisation of markets, Brexit and the real threat to the billable hour posed by Microsoft's intention to eliminate it in its own roster of law firms, that the legal profession could change beyond recognition over the next several years. Firms will need to find new and more effective ways of working if they are going to take advantage of these changes rather than be swept away by them. However, as change management specialist Kotter International revealed at The Lawyer magazine's recent Business Leadership Summit, more than 70 per cent of large-scale change initiatives fail to achieve their objectives. Despite all the time, effort and brain power that has been devoted to better this strike rate, there has been little or no sign of progress over the past 25 years.

But is this really your problem? Can you not just keep your head down, get on with "business as usual" and let someone else sort things out? Well, unfortunately, no.

The thinking amongst the best minds in talent sourcing and career development is now focusing on the idea that hiring people just on the basis of their technical skills and past track record is simply not good enough in this ever-accelerating world. Instead, organisations should now be looking for capabilities that will allow the individual, and consequently the employer, to best cope with this increasingly challenging environment. And, surprise, surprise, one of the most highly valued capabilities is the ability to embrace change, both as an individual and as a manager or leader. So perhaps it's time to start thinking how your CV is going to show your ability to turn and "face the strange" (as David Bowie said, since we are on a musical roll) if you want to get your career out of the slow lane and into the fast track.

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