In our law firm we have found it very useful to adopt a very straight forward type of strategic planning. I thought it might be useful to share the primary components of our type of strategic planning with you.The importance of strategic planning: A strategic plan gives us the big picture of what we want to be in the future and it provides a roadmap for getting us there. A strategic plan assists you in achieving success today as well as down the road, years from now. So it's important that everyone in the company understand the plan and help make it happen.
Strategic planning team: The team should include the company's CEO and abut 5-8 others in a variety of positions with different perspectives and personalities.
VISION: A vision describes what the business will look like in 3 to 5 years. This is important because companies that only work on the "here-and-now" can easily get caught flat-footed. So, it's important to step outside our day to day activities and create a vision of who we want to be in the future. Once you know what you want to be in the future, it is much easier to determine a course for getting there.
MISSION: A mission states the purpose for being in business in the first place. Even though Mission Statements have a bad reputation as being just a meaningless bunch of words, accurately identifying and communicating a company's mission really serves a valuable purpose. If you woke up in the morning with no identifiable mission for your life, what would that day or even week or month look like to you? Would you feel as focused and organized as you would if you woke up knowing why you were going to do the things you had planned? I wouldn't and a business is the same way. So a mission matters because it answers very important questions like why do we do what we do?"
VALUES: Values are the guiding principles we live and do business by every day. These should deeply affect how employees feel about the company, the work they do and how they go about doing it. Values are often built around a basic theory. A few example values (short form) are: Dedication to our clients - When difficult choices are required, the best interests of the clients are always paramount. Integrity - Accountability for our actions and honesty guide us in our professional and personal lives and gives us confidence in our choices. Respect - Collegiality in the workplace, respect for our surroundings, commitment to our families and friends, and our own self-esteem are traits we revere.
OBJECTIVES: Once you have established the above, you need to start getting tactical and establish a reasonable number of achievable objectives (we use 3-5 depending on how broad they are). After brainstorming many objectives, then we decide which relates to the most critical issues facing our business in the next few years. Example objectives include becoming a best practices company, acquiring more non-automotive related clients, reducing overhead by 4%, etc.
ACTION PLANS: Now that you have objectives, how do you go about achieving them? We develop a laundry list of actions to take in the next 12 to 18 months. These action plans are where the rubber meets the road. This is where you'll see actual changes that improve the business. These are specific actions with specific deadlines and specific people designated to carry them through.Strategic planning is an ongoing process that does not end and, if used properly, is a great resource to grow and sustain your and your clients' companies.
Cynthia Umphrey helps families and business owners make significant personal and professional life decisions. Ms. Umphrey calls upon over 10 years of experience in estate planning, probate administration, business structuring and business exit planning to guide you though life's most important choices.