Juris Doctor Actoris

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For those of you wanting to be a Barrister, relax as there is a new innovative course of study, Juris Doctor Actoris (JDA) now available at the soon to be famous University of Geelong that has been specifically designed to ensure your success.

Unlike most legal degrees that take years to attain, the JDA is a practical course that is based entirely on the behavioural observations of numerous Barristers professionally working in the courtroom, in their private chambers, and when frequenting with other like-minded legal individuals in the wine bar.

The following is a snapshot of the course syllabus:

Unit JDA001: Shakespeare
All good Barristers need to be proficient actors, as the courtroom is your stage. You need to work the jurors into believing your credibility, sincerity and that your guilty client is indeed most innocent. Like all good actors, you should never let the truth get in the way of a good story. You are there to perform, to be the chameleon that morphs into the requisite personality for the optimum financial gratification for both you, and those that you represent. Should you client be exonerated from the recalcitrant charges, well may you bask in the additional bonus of good fortune. Yes, to be, or not to be, that is the question!

Unit JDA002: Vocabulary
In this unit you will memorise every page of Roget’s Thesaurus and utilise each word in a myriad of unfathomable discussions in preparation for the opportunity of prolonged verbal discourse when your clients enter your private Chambers. Here the objective is to bamboozle those present with an endless array of complex nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs that are totally unrecognisable, but that maximises your time-charge potential for financial gain owing to your long winded legal instructions.

Unit JDA003: Wardrobe
Like all good actors you need to know how to dress to impress. In this instance, only the finest Italian or French wigs and gowns will suffice. But don’t limit yourself to these items, if you need a fashionable suit/dress, then make sure you don’t scrimp as your client will only expect the best. Remember, you also need to maximise your tax deductions, so the more expensive the better.

Unit JDA004: Wine
For those students new to the machinations of the court, this academic unit will teach you the finer points of wine drinking and will provide you with the added certification of being a qualified sommelier. Knowing how to disguise your insobriety when in front of the judge post a long lunch with your fellow Barristers is a skill that is a must for those wanting to succeed in this profession.

On the successful completion of these four fundamental units, you too will be able to walk into any courtroom with the knowledge that you will be able to hold your own against any professional barrister, particularly those that have not yet mastered the practical life skills that you now possess. And remember, the law, and not you, is an ass.

The Script of Change

Theatre..

The life of an Actor is one of continual change. When the Actor is handed the script that defines their character in a theatrical play, they immediately immerse themselves into exploring their new role in a professional manner, as does all the acting cast. Initially, they may have some reservations or hesitancy on their newly assigned task, but they accept the challenge knowing that with time and practice they will eventually master what is required from them.

The Actor will also typically make extensive research into the profile of their designated role to ensure their performance in credible and consistent with the other performers in the play.

With time, the actors start to discard their own individual personality and begin to morph into the required behaviour that is required in order to ensure the required artistic success.

The parallels with that of an actor and an employee experiencing a corporate change management program are quite similar and many a business organization can learn a lot from the process.

The Script – In a corporate change management program the employees are typically provided with high-level objectives that they are then expected to deliver with a sense of urgency. (This is like handing the actor the script and then asking them to make a public performance with minimal time to prepare for their role. The result will undoubtedly not be optimum).

Role Practice – Employees are asked to modify their behaviour to be consistent with the required change management program. To many employees, this new behaviour may be quite challenging and inconsistent with their experience and skill set. (The actor needs time to practice and research their new role to make sure they get it right. They will make many mistakes prior to the actual performance, but these mistakes are opportunities to learn, modify and master their new role). Business management needs to provide employees with the skills required to deliver the change management program and to tolerate any learning mistakes made along the way.

The Props – Most corporate organizations use posters, videoconferences and other e-messaging techniques to try and support the change program. However, most are deemed to be superficial by employees and do not achieve the targeted result (In a theatrical play the stage is continually changed to support the actors and to create an atmosphere that embellishes the actors on the stage, and those observing off-stage in the audience). The corporate office provides a vast array of potential prop opportunities, some examples: why not move the CEO from their office to a desk out with the employees (a bit like having a military General out in the battlefield with their troops, rather than sending commands from the isolated HQ), move the employees to another external office which may have less of the corporate trimmings to signal the change in work environment and thought, or reposition work teams from their well established office position to other parts of the building (or into fragmented teams), etc, etc.

Have Auditions – many employees have been type cast into their existing roles based on their previous experience in those roles (An Actor auditions for a variety of different roles and is willing to explore new opportunities and characters). In a corporate change management program, employees need to be given a script that allows then to think differently and to utilise many of the skills that may have been hidden as they were only allowed to use some of their personality attributes that were consistent with their current role and job appraisal criteria. For a change management program to be successful, HR needs to allow employees to exhibit other creative and innovative flairs of skill that the organization may have actively suppressed (which may be one of the reasons why the business needs to now change!)

The theatrical play, together with the corporate change management program, will enjoy raptured applause and success when all the participants have been provided with the required time to practice, perfect their script, and have the appropriate props. The outcome will be a shout of “BRAVO” from the audience (and the business community)!

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