A big part of my job is showing others how technology can be used for the greater good. Technology is a Tool and how that tool is used is the difference between success and failure. If you view technology as an annoyance and something to be avoided, how you use the tools you have will be a hindrance to your success. Learning the best way to apply the newest tools is the key to building efficiency and convenience in your jury operation. Here are 5 tips on how to make incorporating new technology in your court work for you.
Get the Right Fit for YOU
You want to acquire the right jury system for your needs without overdoing it. One school of thought is that you should get as much technology as you can afford – that it’s better to have it and not need it right now than walk away with too little. The issue here is that when you get too much, your new system may be overly complicated at first. You risk ending up with something you’re not prepared to utilize completely. Worse, if the new system becomes frustrating it’s difficult to be motivated to use it efficiently. The right software is the one that has the features you need – a simple configuration at first and layer on more products and services when you are comfortable.
It is YOUR System – Own it!
One of the most common momentum killers when implementing new technology is the inclination to wait for someone else to act, take initiative, or take charge. Someone else (my boss, my vendor, my co-worker) will figure it out/learn how to use it/etc... This typically results in the project not meeting expectations, taking longer than initially planned, and general lack of enthusiasm for rolling it out. These are symptoms of a lack of ownership. Ownership of the idea and the responsibility that comes with it. Getting the new technology required for success marks the start of your journey to success, not the destination itself.
Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” When you acquire a new piece of technology, the next step is to make it your own. How you utilize it, learn it, make yourself responsible for it is essential to a successful implementation. It’s no secret that success comes when you want to learn the material. This is why when you’re considering your software options, it’s imperative to include your users in the decision making process. You want to get their “buy-in”. They’ll get excited about the benefits of the new application and will be fully on board when training starts. You can see them take ownership. When you make a commitment to a new piece of technology, you invest your attention and energy in it more profoundly because you now experience ownership of that technology.
New Technology – Don’t Do What You Have Always Done
One of the things that surprises me when I speak to people about new technology is their desire to use it to achieve the same goals and do the same things they always have. Whether it is a lack of foresight, failure to question the way things are done, or generally being uncomfortable with change, people can be resistant to implementing new technology, even when implementation is in a person’s own best interest. Henry Ford once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
The whole objective of implementing new technology is to improve your circumstances and your chances of success, to make your job easier. Achieving this entails having an open mind. An open mind means you are willing to consider or receive new and different ideas. It means being flexible and adaptive to new and better ways of doing things to incorporate the new technology in the best and most effective way possible.
So, the next time new technology is being placed at your feet, ask yourself, “How can I make this work for me? How can this improve my operation/business/court/etc…? What opportunities does this new technology offer me if I embrace it? It might be scary. It might feel imposing. However, if we limit ourselves to what we know and what we’re comfortable with, we won’t get the most out of the thing that’s new.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Part of being open-minded to new technology is knowing what the technology is capable of. This can only be achieved by fully engaging with it. Practice, practice, practice! Your new jury system will come with a fairly comprehensive manual, training, guides, and resources to help you learn. While reading these are a good starting point, you need to be fully acquainted with your software before you can trust it. You need to know what it is capable of before you know where you can go with it. It is important remember that a jury system is not self-driving. It’s a powerful tool that, when utilized to its fullest, can make the grind of jury management infinitely more tolerable. To do this, you will want to become an expert.
To become an expert, you need be well-acquainted with the basics first. Once you've got the basics down, you can explore the new system on your own with your new-found knowledge. This can help you see what is most useful to you specifically, allowing you to get more interested in investing some time learning to properly use it at a new level. However, this also means that you need to be diligent and consistent in your practice. Don’t take a whole day away from your work to watch training videos or cram in practice over a small period of time. Your mind will be overloaded with information and you won’t remember anything you learned. Commit to learning and understanding the new system a little bit every day. The next day, try to review what you learned the day before.
Consult with Experts
Learning the ins and outs of a new system can be confusing, frustrating, and requires diligence. That is why it is important to rely on the expertise of your vendor to help you take your jury operation to the next level. You can do this by tapping into their extensive knowledge and experience to learn how you can use your new system to its utmost efficiency. If the system you have chosen is used elsewhere (as it should be), your vendor’s sales contact, project manager and support staff should have insight into what works, what doesn’t, what to look out for, and tips on how to make good use of the technology you have chosen. They are involved and use the technology all day, every day. No one should know it better than your vendor, so working their advice into your current business process will help get the most out of the product they have developed.
You will need to be open to your vendor’s ideas. The new system should fit with your vision of what your jury operation could be, so making sure there is a fit first is critical to using the expertise your vendor provides. If the best practices and ideas of your vendor do no match with what you are open to, you cannot make this new tool work in your favor. Lastly, once you and your vendor establish a game plan, learning the steps through practice is the best path to success.
If done correctly, upgrading to a new jury system will mean changes in your business processes and infrastructure. You cannot underestimate the importance of making a smooth transition and allowing your vendor to help. It may require a significant amount of effort to keep everyone on the same page, but if you chose the right system, it will be worth the effort in the end.