A burning platform can be best explained by the quote "jump or fry".
During The Lawyer Marketing Leadership Summit last week we were treated to a lively panel by Sadie Baron, Ray Berg, Damian Taylor and Mike Polson that touched on some points relevant to the idea of a burning platform.
The topic of discussion was based on the need for a new approach to law firm marketing. I felt that the discussion (and no surprise given the profile of the panel) elevated into a wider discussion around the need to change and become more creative to drive innovation that achieves customer-centricity.
Sadie, Mike and Ray agreed that people are at the heart of change and law firms need to stay relevant as an attractive place to work. The panel also suggested that looking to recruit from outside of the industry is advisable (Freshfields demonstrated this with their Head of MarTech joining from The Economist).
The firms represented on stage are certainly at the right stage to drive change. As Handy's S-curve (below) demonstrates that firms need to drive change when they are on top and it is crucial for there to be sustained and consistent leadership.
Whilst technology is certainly associated with this change Ray pointed out that firms need to take the following approach:
All were in agreement that the legal market is a burning platform for change and this must be driven hand in hand with the client.
Charles Handy’s famous S-curve, shown in the schematic diagram in a contemporary legal services adaptation, explains that the time to start the change journey is when a firm is still on top, and not wait until it has passed its peak and looking down the slope of decline. This is doubly hard when partners say to their leaders “Look how well we are doing; we’re busy and times are good”. But the far-sighted recognise there is a burning platform in the legal services market that necessitates transformational, rather than incremental change in law firms. Any change journey needs sustained and consistent leadership in order to create lasting meaningful changes, and to improve overall change readiness and organisational change capability in the process.