ELM18 was a great success, with attendees telling us they enjoyed learning from trainers and speakers, as well as networking with peers and relaxing together at the Bernardo Winery “Wine Down.” Our keynote presentation – featuring both Jonah Paransky, General Manager and Executive Vice President of ELM Solutions, and Carey Lohrenz, fighter pilot, author, and leadership expert – was one of the “greatest hits” of the conference and encapsulated some of the most important guidance attendees received throughout the event.

Here are a few of the key themes that Jonah and Carey touched on.

Be ready to adapt to change

Change is a constant in legal and claims operations, as Jonah noted. The expectations of senior leadership have changed, increasing considerably where department performance is concerned. Five years ago, legal operations was an experiment being tested by just a few of the largest corporations, but today the average company with more than $10 billion in revenue has 21 people on their legal operations team. The rise of these teams focused on improving efficiency and results means that corporate legal departments are no longer the late adopters of technology that they once were. It’s commonplace now for many processes to be automated, with leaders considering how to use even more new tools, such as artificial intelligence.

It may sometimes feel like a lot for legal and claims staff to keep up with. But Carey shared an even more extreme example. When she was a fighter pilot, Carey regularly had to go from 0 to 100 mph in two seconds to take off from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. And when it was time to come back, she’d have to get back down to zero in just over a thousand yards. That kind of rapid change sounds nearly impossible. But with expert teams working together to make it happen, even something that daunting can become the normal course of operations.

Continuous improvement is possible

Every time Carey and her fellow pilots flew a mission, they would spend time afterward going over the details of what had happened, good and bad. They were constantly collaborating in order to find the strengths and weaknesses in what they had done. It wasn’t about determining who was right, but identifying what was right so that they could repeat the right steps, cut out the wrong ones, and get better and better over time.

Sometimes this means making a change that isn’t your idea or that you are unsure of, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. Fear of failure can be paralyzing – and paralysis doesn’t help to make things better. Carey believes that if you do just one thing every day that scares you or makes you uncomfortable, after 30 days you will be performing at a higher level.

When Jonah polled the audience of ELM18 attendees on their top priorities, the very clear winner was a desire to continue improving operational efficiency. Again, Carey’s perspective can be helpful in a legal department striving for improvement. By implementing tools that provide decision-making support when and where the information is needed, legal and claims department teams can better manage their work and drive improving results.

Know what’s most important and focus on it

An important part of that continuing effort to improve is knowing where to concentrate your efforts. In the case of an aircraft carrier, everyone knows what is most important: safely launching and landing planes. Carey and her fellow pilots used to remind each other “If you lose sight, you lose the fight”. No matter how brilliant your strategy or team may be, if you lose sight of the objective, you won’t get there.

At ELM Solutions, we are focused on our core objectives of strong technology leadership and great end to end customer experiences. We maintain this focus by constantly investing in the technologies and processes that yield the best results for our customers, from implementation and throughout our relationship.

ELM18 was a great example. We were joined by clients who are just starting their engagements with us, as well as those who have partnered with us for many years. The annual opportunity to bring our experts together with those on our customer teams lets all of us learn from each other’s strengths and experience. We move forward knowing we can stay on course and reach those high altitudes.