Ten ways how to stimulate and disseminate improved ways of working

“[I]nnovations spread quickly when organizations focus relentlessly on selecting and spreading ideas in ways that ease the burden of thought and action for everyone involved.” The quote comes from a thought-provoking article in the McKinsey Quarterly, 2008, No. 4, at 131, by Stanford professors Hayagreeva Rao and Robert Sutton. That sentence started me thinking about how a general counsel can “select and spread” progressive management ideas.

  1. Require and publish a cost-saving idea every quarter from every managing lawyer (See my post of Dec. 21, 2008: try a method and report on it.).

  2. Design self-study and team-teaching activities (See my post of Feb. 19, 2009: collective learning by a leadership group.).

  3. Similarly, assign pre-reads for retreats and offsites.

  4. Push lawyers to call other law departments, ask them questions about how they manage something, and report back (See my post of Feb. 12, 2008: retreats and conferences with 8 references.).

  5. Experiment deliberately with different practices and study the results (See my post of March 25, 2008: deliberate experiments by law departments.).

  6. Hire consultants to share new ideas and variations on old ones (See my post of Jan. 1, 2008: consulting with 15 references.).

  7. Put on “creativity hats” (See my post of Aug. 28, 2006: six hats of decision-making.).

  8. Play an active role in professional networks and groups (See my post of Sept. 22, 2008: social networks such as Legal OnRamp, with 7 references.).

  9. Read widely and with an open mind in the business literature and circulate articles.

  10. Frequent thoughtful blogs (See my post of Feb. 15, 2009: send URL permalinks of thoughtful posts.).

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