When talking to law firm leaders, it’s not often that you hear complaints about the strategic planning process itself. Planning for the future is always a good idea. Implementing that plan is where the rubber hits the road, though. This is also where things often become problematic.
It’s one thing to agree to do X, Y and Z; it’s quite another thing to actually do X, Y and Z.
Here are several tips to advance the ball when it comes time to implement your firm’s strategic plan.
4 Tips to Help You Implement Your Law Firm’s Strategic Plan
- Communicate, communicate. Did I say, communicate? I don’t have to tell you how often lawyers and staff pretty much justify every process with “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” If a plan is to have a fighting chance against that mentality, everyone needs to do know why it’s time to do things differently. Messaging is most effective when transparent, consistent and positive.
- Create actionable tasks. Let’s face it, most lawyers are successful because they have a “check the box” mentality. Leverage that mentality to the firm’s advantage. Identify what boxes to check and don’t forget to say when they need to be checked by.
- Measure your progress. Tasks are essential, but they’re not enough. How will you know if a completed task accomplishes anything? When you’re putting together your list of tasks for the plan’s goals, make sure you have metrics to measure whether the goals were achieved.
- Remain open to change. Your plan may not be perfect. In fact, it probably isn’t. You’ll realize that when you start implementing. Some of the best ideas on paper somehow don’t work out. This is not the time to dig in one’s heals and insist that the idea has merit. Be flexible and change course when necessary. With that said, be careful when contemplating changing course. Sometimes the idea is still good, it’s just taking longer than anticipated to achieve the goal. The answer, at times, may be patience—not shifting gears.
Follow a Process to Achieve Your Firm’s Goals
While every law firm will have its share of naysayers, taking the necessary steps to create a strategic plan is usually not very problematic. The trouble often comes when attempting to implement that plan. By following the tips laid out here, you’ll be closer to making forward progress and achieving the goals you set in place for your firm.