Goals & Planning Marketing

A rough guide to strategic planning

In several of my blog posts since December I have been stressing the importance of strategic planning.  A lot of time, money, and effort gets wasted because lawyers and law firms engage in meaningless acts of marketing.  Strategic plans are the most important tool for ensuring you act wisely.  In order to help you to accomplish this, I have developed a rough guide to strategic planning, which I will share with you in blog posts over the next month.

The first chapter of my guide starts with Mission, Vision, and Values – three simple concepts that are easy to get mixed up. 

Your Mission Statement describes what your firm does and who your clients are.  It captures the very essence of your practice, the relationship with the client.  A Mission Statement is focused on what you do in the present.

A Vision Statement describes how the future will look if the firm achieves its mission. A Mission Statement gives the overall purpose of an organization, while a Vision Statement describes a picture of the preferred future result your firm is after.  Your Vision Statement will tell a compelling story about the future you are going to create. 

Once you have your Mission and Vision figured out, it is important to take some time to think about values.  Values are the core beliefs at the heart of your firm’s culture, and are the foundation of all the actions you will take, and investments you will make. 

Here is a list of questions to guide you through the process of determining your firm’s Mission, Vision, and Values.  You can also use these questions for developing your own personal plan.

Mission questions:

What do we do?
Who do we do it for?
What is the benefit to the clients?

Vision questions:

What do we ultimately want to achieve with our practice, in terms of service to others?
What do we want the firm to be known for? 
What reputation do we wish the firm to have in the business, legal, or other communities?

Value questions:

What professional and personal attributes do we value most?
What professional and personal qualities do we wish to be known for in the legal community and by our clients?
What qualities and attributes do we wish to characterize our firm?

The answers to these questions form the foundation of your plan.  The next step is strategy.  Stay tuned for that next week!

If you have your own questions and ideas on this topic, I would really enjoy hearing from you.  I am always interested in learning powerful new questions for exploring Missing, Vision, and Values.   If you have some you’d like to share, or other suggestions, please add them in a comment below or send me an email. 

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at allison@shiftworks.ca or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.