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Change management: Taking a “keen but cautious” approach

Change management: Taking a “keen but cautious” approach

With so many technology solutions available to small businesses, it can be difficult to work out which software is worth trying. Craig Radford, Director at Paul Denny Conveyancing, says his firm takes a “keen but cautious” approach to sorting through the options and making changes. In this article, Radford shares what he’s learned about dealing with change management in a conveyancing office.

Never lose sight of why you’re in business
 
If a new technology offered to save you hours by replacing client consultations with a five-minute online task (not requiring client input), it wouldn’t necessarily be worth the switch.
 
“When confronted by change, there should be one primary consideration,” says Radford. “What do you do and how does the change fit in with that?”
 
Applying this to his own business, he points out that Paul Denny Conveyancing is fundamentally a personal services business.
 
“It is easy to underestimate just how intimidated buyers and sellers of property are by the whole process! We’re mindful of the fact that while we do legal work, what we’re really doing is helping people buy and sell houses. That’s got to be the ultimate consideration.”
 
Carefully weigh up investment versus benefits
 
Before you make a big switch, carefully consider the practicalities of change and how they will impact your business. Radford recommends asking the following questions:
 
·         How much time will it take for everyone to get comfortable with the change?
·         What other resources will be required during the initial changeover period?
·         What is the benefit once the change is complete? Is it worth it?
·         Does the change deliver the result it promises?
·         Do we even have the problem that the change addresses?
·         Are we looking for a solution to the problem this change solves? Do we already have a solution? Are other solutions available?
 
Radford often answers these questions by checking out demonstrations or dummy files and by talking to other practitioners who’ve already jumped on board.
 
Red flags: When to take extra care around change
 
Radford recommends doing your research on the company behind the software you’re considering before you commit.
 
“Providers who aren’t clued-up on your day-to-day functions or who haven’t taken the time to understand your business may warrant extra caution,” says Radford.
 
He also tends to be wary of those who are new to the conveyancing game, companies he has no previous dealings with and those he’s unable to get any feedback on.
 
Market penetration is another consideration when deciding whether, or when, to go ahead with a change. For example, rather than being the guinea pig for a brand-new app, you may prefer to first sit back and watch whether it takes off.
 
Tips for a smooth change management process
 
The change management process begins best with a high-level assessment, Radford says.
 
“We start with a fairly general discussion with staff around what it is we’re considering and make a really general early assessment. If no one is interested or capable of using it [the new software or technology], it’s a waste.”
 
He recommends choosing an office expert to become the in-house go-to person for any new technology. That person should be on hand for meetings and training.
 
Other things that can make for a smoother transition include:
 
·         Rolling out changes over several weeks to eliminate any “little roadblocks or gremlins” for later adopters. This is especially useful for larger firms.
·         Getting feedback on the change and revisiting how the change fits in with the business and its processes.
·         Staying flexible – you may have to make some subtle changes or deal with unexpected events along the way.
  
Radford’s keen but cautious approach can ensure you enjoy the benefits of new technologies while minimising the possibility of costly mistakes.

Craig Radford
Paul Denny Conveyancing
D: +61 2 9429 0000
craig@pauldenny.com.au

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