One of the myths exposed in Scott Berkun, The Myths of Innovation (O’Reilly 2010), is that people love new ideas. They don’t, especially if the idea challenges their accustomed way of thinking or their power. Berkun lists (at pg. 57, with more at 90) ten negative things often slung at those who put forth a new idea (See my post of Oct. 12, 2010: how to defend your good ideas from attack.).- I have paraphrased eight of them as if a senior staff meeting were considering offshoring legal services.
“This offshoring will never work.” “No client will want their work done in India.” “The theory may be fine but it can’t work in practice because of this, that and the other problem.” “Our clients and law firms won’t understand it.” “Getting these legal services done isn’t a problem.” “These legal services are a problem but no one cares.” “Getting these services done is a problem, our clients care, but we can solve it better another way.” “This is a solution in search of a problem.”
I will add two more: “What other Fortune 500 companies identical to ours have years of experience with offshoring these services and found it to be terrific?” And, “We already tried it, remember, and it bombed.”
Berkun observes, wisely, that emotional and psychological resistance affects opponents more than the merits (at 61): “Innovative ideas are rarely rejected on their merits; they’re rejected because of how they make people feel.”