Our firm is an eight-attorney firm in Cincinnati, Ohio. We have been together for fourteen years. There are four partners and four associates in the firm. Over the years we have traditionally had a year-end attorney planning retreat with limited success. This year we have decided that we want to dedicate the entire time to developing a strategic plan for the firm. What can we do to ensure that our strategic plan leads to actual implementation?
Implementation should be planned in the retreat and the strategic plan itself. One of the biggest problems that firms have with strategic planning retreats and strategic plans is they end up on the shelf and there is no accountability for implementation.
Be sure you come away from the retreat with a strategic plan that includes an action plan section with a specific plan for follow-up on every strategy/action plan item. Specific strategic plan action items should be broken down into specific tasks. It is critical that individual task assignments and target dates for reporting and completion be made explicit. These assignments should be documented in the strategic plan action plan section and in the retreat minutes or notes. In addition, a system of post retreat follow-up meetings to access progress is suggested to maintain the momentum achieved at the strategic planning retreat.
Many firms benefit by incorporating specific strategic planning action items on a firm master calendar as well as individual calendars and review progress quarterly.
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John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC