The Training Conundrum

by Affinity Consulting Group on April 26, 2018

By Jennifer M. Ramovs, Esq.

Most legal professionals we have the pleasure of dealing with agree that training is one of the most important investments they can make in themselves and their teams. However, when it comes time to schedule and pay for the training, it seems to be the first item to get slashed.

The problem with training is, we need it, but don’t have time for it. We want it, but don’t want to pay for it. And then, everybody suffers. We fight with the software instead of MASTERING the software.

It’s funny, though. Because I used to feel that way. “I don’t have an hour to learn how to use Excel.”  But when I was practicing law and putting together spreadsheets of damages from a construction project gone bad, or a Probate inventory, I spent COUNTLESS hours (non-billable, by the way) trying to get Excel to do what I KNEW it could do…I just didn’t know the commands. When I use simple features in Excel now like filters and conditional formatting, I want to go back in time and invest 1 hour…not only would I have gotten the work done faster, my stress levels would have been reduced. Happy, efficient lawyers are the best, right?

I’d guess that most people spend more time learning how to use their mobile phone than they do learning how to use Word, Excel, Outlook, a PDF program, their Practice Management or Document Management program.  And I can hear the reasons…I use my iPhone for everything – it is a productivity tool.

Consider this, though. The software in use at your law firm or legal department represents the TOOLS you use to get your job done.  We wouldn’t want to go to a Dentist who didn’t know how to use the drill. We don’t want to get an Xray from a person who “figured out” the Xray machine because it “Seemed pretty straight forward.”  And let’s be honest– If your morning latte gets made by someone who was never taught how to use the Frother – you WILL be mad.  You expect more from the pros, right?

So why then, when it is our job to effectively and efficiently represent our clients, do we skimp on learning how to use the tools we need to get our jobs done? Our clients expect us to be in control of the tools our entire team uses  – that means EVERYONE in your firm should learn how to use the programs you have spent good money purchasing. Talk about an ROI.

A good percentage of the firms I deal with who are switching software applications could have avoided a costly switch (both time and money) if they had invested in the proper training for the original product they purchased. As I like to say… “know what you own!”

Training has this awesome effect of making people’s job’s easier. The icing on the cake? Your team feels valued and appreciates the investment you have made in them. Happy, efficient teams are the best, right?

 

 

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