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Human nature, cognitive bias, the amygdala… whatever we attribute it to, humans are resistant to change, making effective CLM (contract lifecycle management) change management a challenge. Historically, this resistance to the unknown may have been key to the survival of humanity. Today, it can be prohibitive to creating an agile, constantly advancing organization.

This isn’t a prophecy of doom – it’s more a call to rise to the challenge. And also a call to understand that growing pains and initial resistance are both common and need to be addressed. People will always choose the path they’ve walked before over a brand new one – until the benefits, vision, and concrete steps are shared and reinforced.

So, naturally, when it comes to creating, negotiating, and facilitating agreements, members of a Legal team will prefer their preexisting methods of day-to-day work over adopting a new solution.

CLM (Contract Lifecyle Management) offers incredible benefits, especially through increased efficiency and improved accuracy. The key to ensuring your company reaps the full benefits is through adoption of end users – which is where fully-informed and well-handled change management comes into play.

Drive Maximum CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management) Adoption for Higher Return on Investment

Your people adopting your new technology is the key to gaining the highest return on investment. The three key elements for change management are:

Focusing on current dissatisfaction. If you’re looking to implement a new cloud application – especially for something as crucial as CLM – then clearly there’s a problem with the current situation. What complaints are you hearing? Make a list. Remind people frequently of the issues the old process created.

Share your vision for the new CLM application. Highlight all of the ways that the new application solves the problems that have been creating dissatisfaction.

Finally, provide concrete first steps for adoption. Outline the entire process of adopting the new cloud application and make sure you have solid documentation for your people to follow. Not only do you want them to understand the new program, you want to empower them to use it. When people have a well-developed path to follow, change comes much easier.

Some easy ways to drive CLM adoption and get that higher return on Investment are:

Do: Enlist key members of leadership to champion the change.

Combating the natural resistance to change can be done by ensuring that there is visible and consistent support from individuals who stakeholders trust with their best interest. Not only should there be a vocal “champion of the change” who is leading the charge, but their sentiment should be felt from the top-down.

A woman stands next to a standing desk with her laptop. She is wearing a coral pink shirt.

This is especially critical of middle management, who often is tasked with empowering their direct reports to contribute to, or adopt, something completely new.

Don’t: Stretch key contributors too thin.

Trust us, we know how exciting the possibilities of DocuSign can be. When news of a digital transformation spreads across an enterprise, or a small business adopting a CLM, like DocuSign, for the first time, there are many important stakeholders who could potentially need to weigh in on aspects of the project.

It’s critical that decision makers are identified before a project begins, and that those individuals are clear on the expectations of their role. When all members of a project team are clearly aligned on respective responsibilities, they can better manage their time between the project and their day job.

Do: Standardize documents that will be turned into templates.

Legal documents are always evolving. When designating the agreements that will be templatized for your CLM, make it a point to standardize any clauses or terms if possible. In most implementations, the development team will only have time to take whatever version of a document they are provided and turn it into a dynamic template. The more customization involved in a template, the more daunting it can be for a future member of the Legal team to make edits in the future.

Taking the time to standardize internally prior to reaching the Design & Discovery stage of a project will build trust with internal stakeholders by showing them that all efforts are being made to set them up for long-term success.

The History of Why This Works: The Gleicher Formula (& Dannemiller Version Clarification)

In 2019, Julia Watzek, Sarah M. Pope, and Sara F. Brosnan conducted a very interesting research project in which they compared the ability of humans and monkeys (specifically rhesus and capuchins) to see who would adapt to a new way of completing a task more readily. All participants, monkey and human, were shown one way to do a task, then shown another way, the second of which was more efficient and led to being rewarded quicker.

Both surprisingly and unsurprisingly (somehow), the monkeys adopted the quicker, more efficient way more readily than the humans. Yes, you read that correctly.

There are a lot of nuances to this, but the gist is that, whether the changes are small or large, humans like to stick with the tried-and-true way of doing things. Rather than fighting this human instinct, we have to work with it.

David Gleicher created what’s known as the “Formula for Change,” which Kathie Dannemiller later simplified. It looks like this:

C (Change) = D (Dissatisfaction) x V (Vision) x F (First Concrete Steps) > R (Resistance)

Basically, if there’s dissatisfaction with your contract lifecycle management, a solid vision for the future, and a concrete plan in place to move forward with, the want to change will be greater than the resistance.

C (CLM Mastery) = S (Spaulding Ridge) x D (DocuSign) > Resistance

Utilizing a Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) system is an ideal way to streamline your contracting process. It takes documents from one end of the cycle to the other, initiation to authoring, approval to execution, and beyond, through ongoing management, compliance, and contract renewal.

DocuSign’s CLM enables you to do business faster, increase compliance, and improve customer experiences. Customize workflows specifically for your unique business cases, build a clause library to easily pull from, and increase cross-team collaboration with track changes built into this single source of truth. There are even pre-trained AI automations you can use to extract, analyze, and report on key contract data points and legal topics.

Spaulding Ridge is the largest DocuSign Partner in the world, working with organizations of all shapes and sizes to implement, conduct change management, and provide continuing support with managed services. We are experts at business transformation.

Do away with contract mishaps, with the uncertainty of who made what change, and customize a unique Contract Lifecycle Management tool specifically for you and your business’ needs with the smooth change management tactics employed at Spaulding Ridge.

To talk more about contract lifecycle management (CLM), reach out to Megan Stoughton at Spaulding Ridge.