How can General Counsel ensure that their efforts to develop and modernise the legal team are not just short-term fixes, but create a sustainable path for long-term change? At Lex we have taken the traditional process of RCA and given it our own twist. Read on to find out more….
The importance of sustainable change in legal teams
To become more efficient, legal teams need to transform. But being more agile, being adaptable, embracing innovation requires enduring change, not short-term fixes. To create that enduring change, first it is vital to understand your legal team’s current reality (your “as is” state, your future objectives, and the gap between the two) and then address the gaps identified in a sustainable way.
This means undertaking a discovery process to identify the gaps and their root causes.
It’s important to go deep because root causes are often found in surprising areas — not just process bottlenecks but also in siloed teams, poor communication, and other areas of organisational complexity.
The deeper you delve into the core issues preventing efficiency and business growth, the more your legal team can make long-lasting and sustainable change. As the legal landscape evolves, staying adaptable and resilient is not a nice-to-have; it’s a necessity.
GCs: Catalysts for sustainable change
GCs play a unique role in introducing transformation in their legal team and leading sustainable change.
One crucial shift is helping legal teams to make the shift from a reactive to a proactive approach. This is about creating future-ready legal teams that do not merely respond to legal issues as they arise, but are agile enough to work in a culture of forward-thinking and constant improvement. It’s about changing the mindset of the legal team from those who fireflight to those who create value for the business by always ensuring it is on the front foot.
Where do you make a start in addressing this?
Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and its significance
A traditional method for understanding and eliminating inefficiencies is a Root Cause Analysis. A potent problem-solving technique, RCA follows a systematic and structured approach that aids informed decision-making and targeted solutions. This is achieved by uncovering the fundamental issues underlying surface-level symptoms.
Data collection, identifying contributing factors, analysing relationships between causes and effects, and reaching evidence-based conclusions are some typical tasks in this method. RCA ensures a comprehensive understanding of all the issues and challenges at play.
Because RCA relies on data and evidence instead of assumptions or personal opinions, you can use quantitative and qualitative data from various sources — such as case studies, metrics, feedback, and performance indicators — to draw meaningful insights.
Many challenges faced by legal teams tend to recur. RCA breaks this cycle by addressing the core issues responsible for the repetition, preventing the need for continuous firefighting.
What follows are some typical scenarios facing the legal teams today with challenges and the solutions that can be uncovered with RCA.
Inefficient knowledge sharing
Challenge: Limited knowledge sharing and siloed information which impairs collaboration across departments.
Solution: Creating a knowledge-sharing culture and implementing tools for centralised document management. This breaks down barriers and encourages cross-functional communication.
Risk management gaps
Challenge: Inadequate risk assessment and management practices which expose a business to legal liabilities and compliance issues.
Solution: Ensuring the legal team must proactively identify and mitigate risks, leveraging data-driven insights and industry best practices to bolster risk resilience.
Managing workload volumes
Challenge: Legal teams who struggle to efficiently manage high volumes of cases, contracts, or legal requests.
Solution: Prioritising tasks, setting realistic timelines, and implementing legal automation that alleviates workload pressure and improves team productivity.
Conducting a Root Cause Analysis
RCA typically involves:
Defining the problem in a clear and specific way (what is the process and where does it miss the mark).
Prioritising root causes to focus on significant factors with actionable solutions.
Gathering data from various sources.
Creating a high level roadmap of solutions over time — focussing first on feasible quick wins and building from there.
Using analysis tools such as fishbone diagram techniques or 5 Whys to drill down and visualise relationships between factors.
Creating team alignment (a relationship system) to ensure a strong foundation for this and future stages.
Analysing contributing factors such as human errors, procedural gaps, and external influences.
Drawing conclusions based on evidence and data.
So, how does RCA fit into the Lex Way?
RCA can identify problems and teach us how to fix them. But at LexSolutions, we believe in a deeper discovery process that does the following:
Aligning on purpose: without an understanding of the purpose behind the work being done, it’s hard to have aligned objectives. Purpose is the foundation on which everything else is built.
Understanding objectives and success factors: we can fix problems in a better and smarter way, and improve our chances of success if there are clear objectives and we know what success looks like.
Creating team alignment: problems are fixed by teams, not individuals, so creating good team alignment and positive relationship system is another foundational part of our discovery process.
Developing creative solutions: understanding root cause must be matched with creative solutioning. Sometimes solutions lie in surprising places.
Prioritisation: legal teams will face a multitude of problems and possible solutions. It’s critical to prioritise those within the overall context of objectives, needs and available resources. This forms the foundation for a sustainable roadmap of change.
A good discovery process lies at the heart of driving lasting change. When you can focus on the context, the users and the root causes, you instinctively foster a culture of constant learning and improvement. Your legal team gains valuable insights and knowledge for future problem-solving — with a clear direction. The process helps eliminate guesswork and ensures your team is actively addressing the most critical matters.
The Lex Way for Legal Teams combines RCA and other process improvement techniques with design thinking and relationship system coaching for a holistic, highly creative, engaging approach to solving problems and transforming teams.
Engaging the legal team in the discovery process
Successful discovery requires active participation from the entire legal team.
To encourage engagement, consider organising brainstorming sessions where everyone can openly discuss challenges and potential root causes. By leveraging diverse perspectives, you can cultivate a rich pool of meaningful insights and identify the problems faster.
At LexSolutions, we run our initial discovery workshops as structured sessions for legal teams to help gain collaboration, creativity and clarity around these insights. These sessions are built around three milestones to take your legal team to alignment and optimisation:
Calibrate. The discovery process as detailed in this blog gives you a deeper understanding within your team of where you are, where you want to be, and the barriers to getting there.
Formulate. Defining the possible solutions to get you to your future desired state and build a roadmap to getting there. When you work with Lex, we will deep dive into solutions and help you prioritise based on resources and impact. We will build a detailed roadmap and sprints to get to your future state.
Catalyse: Where the rubber meets the road. We’ll help you to execute your roadmap using the power of LexSolutions, where we can do the heavy lifting, provide light touch guidance or even additional legal resources. We also design and build specific solution(s) through an iterative agile process.
Helping legal teams with sustainable change The Lex Way
At Lex we have taken the traditional process of RCA and given it our own twist. Armed with insights from our initial Lex Calibrate session, legal teams can implement targeted solutions and address underlying issues at their core. A proactive and solution-oriented approach allows all stakeholders to become catalysts for transformative change, driving continuous progress and adding value to the legal team and the business as a whole.
Whatever challenges your legal team faces, we will work with you to bring our unique combination of design-thinking, systems coaching and a spirit of curiosity and innovation to help you solve them. Your people are the prism through which we view everything, so you can guarantee we will bring them along on the journey.
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