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When we came to ILTA it was telling that the focus of the conference was no longer exclusively about e-Discovery. Legal tech has evolved to include so much more than collecting and reviewing information. Over time, the legal tech community has had to confront issues associated with the cloud, mobile and social media.

Work, Life & Technology

Another interesting trend that emerged was the choice of topics tackled each day during the keynote. We were challenged to brainstorm better, embrace diversity to improve innovation and better understand how to work together across generations in the workplace.

All of this serves to remind us that there is nothing traditional about the traditional company. Whether it’s a law firm or global corporation, chances are things aren’t like they once were. There’s more technology, more diversity, more demands.

Today, Cheryl Cran, a leadership expert, spoke on the topic of Leading Change in a Fast-Paced, Technological and Multigenerational Workplace. A quick survey revealed that the room was a healthy balance between Baby Boomers (45 years old and older) and Generation Xers (those in our thirties and early forties), with a light smattering of Gen Y.

The Truth is Hard to Hear

At first, it seemed that Cheryl was simply reiterating the belabored stereotypes associated with each generational category. But soon she was uncovering truths about each of us that served to help better understand how we naturally come to lead and work with others. Through a variety of exercises we learned to identify what we do and why we do it, and how technology has influenced how we adapt to change.

Obviously anyone who has sat through a leadership seminar knows exactly what goes on during a presentation like this, but it speaks volumes to the types of issues the legal tech community is facing, outside of technology innovations. It’s not just there is new technology out there to integrate with, it’s that there are people with whom you must talk to first.

Though the audience was full of technologists and their legal counterparts, it was clear that there are still many different perspectives from which we view new technology. When shown the intro video for Google’s Project Glass, the oohs were outnumbered by the groans.

As a Gen Xer, it was at times hard to hear all the misguided stereotypes floating around about us and Gen Y, just as I hope it was hard for Boomers to hear the characteristics often associated with them. I hope that was the point, to confront us with a reality that we are uncomfortable with and are working hard to usurp.

It's About the Communication

Being a technologist in the enterprise, it’s not about technology, it’s about communication. Learning to effectively work with an empowered employee or a luddite, requires not better technology, but better ways to understand the perspectives of others. Much like any kind of change, how you are able to adapt will dictate the journey you take.