How Technology Shrinks Our Fictional Divide and Fosters Positive Change

“I’m sorry, can you wait a second? Someone’s knocking on the door. I think my new drum kit is here!”

“How adorable, I didn’t know you rescue St. Bernards!” 

“What beautiful children! How are you handling homeschooling?” 

And so began a few of my recent video calls while working from home. Many of us initially connect online to discuss business, but our children, pets, pastimes, and most immediate concerns have become part of our daily conversations at work.  

As a result, the fictional divide that separates our personal and professional lives is crumbling. We show ourselves as we truly are everywhere we go ⁠— at work, home, and play. What will it mean for the future of law when technology tears down the wall completely? Here’s how lawyers who embrace a leadership mindset will find opportunities for growth and positive change.  

Bonding over bulldogs 

COVID-19 is a shared global experience. Worldwide, people are experiencing the same fears, uncertainties, and anxieties; in essence, developing collective empathy. That feeling, combined with how technology brings us into each other’s personal spaces, is spurring an evolution in our relationships. Inviting others into our kitchens via a screen is still a lot like having them over for dinner. We want to learn more about the work others do, and they want to know about ours. 

More authentic interactions with colleagues and clients allow us to explore more meaningful business relationships. When you bond with a client over a shared love of bulldogs, you gain a more personal avenue for learning how to serve their unique needs. When you’re privy to things that matter to someone, and you see how they contribute to their communities, you can determine more ways to support and provide value to them.  

Technology such as Contract Management Software (CMS) lets us do away with cumbersome spreadsheets and confusing paper files that kept us mired in the office. Aided by CMS, we can focus more on people, processes, and business strategies. 

Features such as automated routing, notifications, and activity tracking create reliable structures around projects that ensure they don’t slip through the cracks and stakeholders contribute when and where required. On-demand audit trails preserve decision-related discussions to simplify the resolution of future issues, enabling true growth and progress. 

Finding top talent in more places 

Cloud technologies have completely changed how we work. Tools that erase the confines of physical location and time enable law firms and legal departments to access a broader pool of previously hidden legal talent. 

People whose physical challenges or issues such as social anxieties prevented their physical presence in the workplace in the past often flourish in remote work environments. Parents and caregivers who can now participate in work activities on flexible terms no longer need to choose between their family’s health and their company’s success. 

Software-as-a-service CMS platforms give organizations a single — yet widely accessible — location for all departments to collaborate on the creation, negotiation, and management of its contracts. Features like real-time communication during contract review mean that no matter where a person works, they can easily collaborate with other stakeholders whenever needed. 

Cloud technologies make it much easier to assess and appreciate the productivity and impact new hires deliver — not how many hours they can sit behind a desk.

Every day is “Bring an Engineer to Work” Day 

Bringing more diverse people together via a CMS platform enables legal leaders to gather critical feedback and seek out new perspectives. In opening yourself up to this process, you discover beneficial new ways to approach issues and solve problems. Engineers, analysts, and experts from a wide variety of disciplines enrich our analyses with new insights, knowledge, and systems data.

Working with others and consolidating information on one CMS platform helps legal teams develop a more complete and in-depth understanding of situations and the implications of the available options. For example, many GCs I know partner with privacy specialists and data security experts to ensure they get a full and accurate view in assessing more remote work opportunities for employees and increasing digital services for clients.  

Fill your cup 

Technology tools such as CMS platforms complement and heighten your leadership skills to make digital transformation easier. As the wall between our personal and professional lives dissolves, we can seek to become more empathic leaders who cultivate relationships based on genuine interests. Making real connections enable us to think in new ways and appreciate aspects of people we may not have truly seen before. We also benefit from increased efficiency, accuracy, and consistency. 

It’s important to remember that the disappearing divide works both ways. It also means receiving empathy in kind. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so the saying goes. Connecting through technology can help you fill your cup as much and as often as you need. Like parents who exchange homeschooling tips or dog lovers who share a common purpose, if you share what’s important to you, you’ll discover you’re far from alone.