Strategic Planning – Why Now?

Posted by Jeffrey N. Berman on

The end of our current office lease is rapidly approaching.  As a result, we have started the process of deciding do we stay in our current office, do we move to a new office, and what our next office will look like.  For us, like many businesses, a new major undertaking like signing a new long-term lease requires that we determine our goals and needs for the next five-plus years and identify the best approach to achieve our goals and meet our needs.  Is this a good time for strategic planning?

We all know that strategic planning is essential when a business starts and thereafter on a fairly regular basis. At Berman Fink Van Horn, we also believe that strategic planning is vital as we plan for our next long term commitment. Strategic planning at this point in our life cycle requires us to re-examine our vision for the law firm, reassess our personal goals and talk about our personal goals for the future. In addition, strategic planning gives us an opportunity to find new challenges, shake any complacency, reinvigorate all of our employees, and design a course to assure that BFV continues to thrive.  This is also an opportune time to determine if we have “the right people on the bus”.  Most of us have read Jim Collins book “Good To Great”.  Strategic planning should include an evaluation of whether you have “the right people on the bus”.  Collins says, “People are not your most important asset. The right people are.”

We are a member of an international group of law firms known as LawPact®. I recently attended a LawPact® conference in Toronto.  A major focus at the conference was on strategic planning for law firms, but the lessons I learned apply to all businesses.  The basic process for strategic planning should include a discussion of as many of the following as possible: (1) a mission statement, (2) the business vision, (3) a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis, (4) goals, (5) strategies, (6) tactics, and (7) follow-up. First and foremost, get started and don’t worry about the form of the strategic planning. Use a facilitator if necessary. Finally, don’t wait for the strategic planning process to be fully completed.  Good ideas should be implemented immediately. Let me know if you want to know more about what I learned in Toronto.