The fear of change

Anyone who has worked in a business or indeed any other kind of organisation for any length of time will have heard the response “but we’ve always done it like that” and possibly cringed.

Change is always scary and often resisted, as the simple fact is, most people are happier doing the thing they know well. Think about your current “to do list”, be that a mental one, a written one or the one you hold in the dedicated app on your laptop, linked to your smartphone and tablet. Chances are, the thing you are least adept at doing is the thing you will tackle last. It’s human nature to focus on the tasks you know you are good at, and have done before.

In simple terms, you use different parts of the brain when learning something new, rather than completing a routine task, and the brain must work harder – something we’re all pre-dispositioned to avoid. If you want to deep dive into the psychology of this, this article can explain it far better than I

Yet innovation is at the heart of us as human beings, or I wouldn’t be sat at a laptop typing this. I am old enough to remember when computers didn’t sit on the desk of every person in the workforce, and remember only too well the struggles we all went through when forced to start using one. Yet I couldn’t imagine life without that technology today.

We understand the fear of change, particularly when it comes to doing something in a completely new way. Case preparation is a great example of this. We know from talking to people in the day-to-day process of our work that many solicitors, lawyers and barristers have no desire to move to a digital case preparation solution – pen and paper is working perfectly fine as far as they’re concerned. Yet they would not dream of operating without a smartphone, or email or a plethora of other innovations that form part of everyday life now.

In some ways, innovation is still viewed in the same way as those infamous viewers of the very first cinematic film. They ran screaming from the room as they thought the train captured heading towards the camera would in fact jump out of the screen and run them over. People fear being “runover” by getting to grips with new technology. But our users now view HyperLaw as an intrinsic part of their professional life, and couldn’t dream of going back to hauling about stacks of paper and files, appended with sticky notes and highlights.

If you think about some of the people we admire the most, sportsmen, scientists, adventurers, inventors and entrepreneurs, they are the people who don’t fear change, but embrace it. They purposefully and specifically embrace change, to find new ways of doing things or to go to new places, and henceforth are at the top of their game.

So next time you dismiss a new technology as too hard to learn, or lean towards the old way of doing things through fear, take a quick look around you. My guess is you will already be using a whole range of technology that is less than 10, 20 or 30 years old, and think about embracing the new before your competitors do.

Mike Washburn
Managing Director

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