A stock objection we hear from our potential clients, often the marketing team, is that their fee earners are uniquely Luddite. That they, as a firm, are extra special in their digital hopelessness.
The typical conversation can be boiled down the following:
Passle: "We make it easy for even the busiest, and most senior fee earners to demonstrate their expertise online. Ta Daa!"
Marketing Team: "Hum... You clearly haven't met our lawyers/ consultants/ accountants/ engineers!"
I think there are a couple of points to make on this.
First, the feeling of uncertainty and discomfort in creating an on-line presence is a very real one for our users.
Our typical user would be, by any objective measurement, extremely bright. They are also well educated - two or more degrees is run of the mill. But this is exactly the problem. They know enough to know that they don't know everything. And given that they sell that expertise, they suffer more than most from "impostor syndrome" - the feeling that people are sniggering about them in the dark, that they might get 'found out'.
When we launch Passle we invariably run a competition - there are several benefits to this (developing habits and such like) but one of the most important is allowing the participants to focus on getting bragging rights over their peers - and crucially not worrying about the whispered doubts.
Second, though the senior team may not find it as second nature as the younger generation, they are very keen to engage online. They just don't know how to do it, and, given the serious time constrains they act under, little time to find out. Typically they also know very clearly that they are not doing their jobs well if they ignore these issues.
There are, of course, many facets to digital transformation but if you can get your senior people engaged in promoting the firm through digital channels it provides an excellent mechanism by which they can understand social media and digital marketing generally. Ultimately meaning that your decision-makers are more adept at dealing with the modern world, and your staff and customers know it too.
See this excellent McKinsey article on the dangers of not.
If you think of the average age of most board members around the world—and, frankly, of their backgrounds as well—they are not digitally ready. A recent Russell Reynolds survey suggested, I think, that only 4 percent of global 500 companies truly have a board that’s digitally ready... To make a digital transformation happen, you need complete alignment—from the board through the executive team through the whole organization. Without that “air cover” from the board and from shareholders who understand the change that you’re taking the organization through, it is very, very hard to do it successfully. Many board meetings are backward looking in their approach... Many board members are often not active customers of the company’s products or services. I think there’s a new generation of board director emerging that is much more hands-on, with a more entrepreneurial background.