Early adopter or silent laggard?

Early adopter or silent laggard?

Do you want to be an early adopter or a silent laggard? One of the big questions for us as organisations is how we want to adapt to change. Do we want to be dragged kicking and screaming?

For the team and myself at Being More Human, the answer to this question is a no-brainer – we want to be on the leading edge, living the future.

As with organisations, different industries can have different change appetites. Some that are ripe for disruption include law, accounting and HR. They have more in common than initially meets the eye.

They are advice-based industries that have been doing things basically the same way for a very long time. They are people heavy and must charge high fees to cover their expenses. Many of these organisations are also very conventional and risk adverse. However, whether it is cloud accounting, online conveyancing or recruitment tech platforms, there are shifts that are starting to be made. Adjustment is necessary.

Clearly though some things are not working. Let’s take one thing that’s not working for example – time costing and billable hours and minutes. It might be convenient for a method of counting money, but it can drive negative, demotivated and passive and aggressive workplace behaviours. By far and away, it is the most current way of billing in these firms. The problem is that this process was designed for efficiency, not for the human.

I was recently chatting with Ian Rodrigues who is the Director of Bishop Collins Accounting and previous NSW State Chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. He states “the profession does not understand the history of the billable hour method and it has persisted largely as an unquestioned concept, like when we thought the world was flat. What is most interesting, is the business advisors who provide advice to other businesses about business and costing use billable hours; it is an amazing irony. Currently there are some firms that are departing from that, but they are few and far between.”

It turns out there are not many other industries where taking a longer time on a task is rewarded with more money. Or, in fact, where quantity is more important than quality. A law firm partner says it this way – “the billable hour makes no sense, even for lawyers. If you are successful and win early on, you have no work. If you get bogged down you make more money; that is frankly nuts”.

Every industry has its sacred cows that drive negative, outdated behaviour. Things that have been that way for so long in the industry that no one would ever believe it is possible that the earth is actually round (or so I hear?)!

What are the sacred cows in your industry? Are you being a sacred cow in your industry? In what way could you shift toward becoming an early adopter?

That’s why we’ve collaborated with Christina Gerakiteys to deliver the My Relevant Future Leadership program to help businesses in law and accounting learn the skills and know-how to transform into an early adopter.

Are you an early adopter or a silent laggard?

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