Baby FeetIt’s that time of year when many of us are setting goals and making plans for what we hope will be a successful and prosperous 2009. It’s very tempting to set goals that are so lofty that you just know you will never achieve them. I suggest that rather than create a master plan that is so ambitious that you know it will never get off the ground, consider taking “baby steps” to achieve big changes in 2009….

This isn’t to say that you can’t dream big, it’s to say that you need to break the BIG dream down in to a series of realistic and achievable baby steps that will ultimately culminate in achieving the big dream.

Let me use myself and my law firm as a brutal example. For years we kicked around the implementation of many types of technology– electronic files rather than paper files, computer trial presentation, digital dictation, voice recognition software, video depositions, etc.

Without fail, not one of these great technology “ideas” got off the ground until we decided to just bite the bullet, quit screwing around with the “thinking” about the idea, and just dove in to the implementation of the new technology by taking the first “baby step”. Sure, just diving in occasionally resulted in some mistakes, but those mistakes often showed us the way to an even better solution.

Let me use the implementation of our “paperLESS” office system as an example. 5-6 years ago we decided to try to convert the inefficiency of our paper-based file system to a digital-based system. At the time, scanners were expensive, scanning software was clunky and confusing, and our staff thought we were nuts to change from the tried-and-true paper file system with which they were so comfortable. Realizing this was going to be an uphill battle if we rolled out the scanning system to the entire office, we decided to just roll it out to two of our personal injury paralegals who were enthused about the idea. Long story short, after working out some of the initial bugs, these two paralegals LOVED the new electronic files (no more hunting for paper files or documents!) and slowly but surely every paralegal, secretary and lawyer in the office was clamoring for a scanner for their own desk. Now, every shred of paper in the office is quickly converted to an electronic file and we no longer rely on the paper file.

The bottom-line is that we could have researched/debated/discussed this conversion to digital files to death or we could just take the baby step of putting a scanner on someone’s desk and letting them run with it.

Guess how we do it now in our office whenever we want to implement a new technology? Yep, gotta love those baby steps!! 🙂

Thanks for reading.

James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury and Malpractice Lawyer