Last week I received a question asking me,“What is the best way to help people find the switch to illuminate the light bulb in their heads about the crucial need for vision, mission and values?”
This is a common question I receive from Law firms. The thought of creating a strategic vision and mission is counter intuitive to professionals who want to accelerate the growth of their practice in a difficult economic climate.
The instinct is to go out and start “doing” an activity or to respond to an event of “special marketing offer” that requires an immediate decision.
Accelerated results come from the power of a firm to work in unison toward a shared vision.
It is similar to an elite group of rowers whose power comes from the synchronicity of each person working together. Speed and power is achieved by rowing in unison in the same direction. If one person is out of sync the whole group’s ability to succeed is challenged. If a few people are rowing out of sync, the results can be disastrous.
This is true in organizations and law firms, for example, before I conducted a strategic planning retreat for a collaborative law group, the organization had 12 committees all working in different and sometimes opposite directions. Board members had different opinions of what were they thought were the high priority activities for the organization. This created tension among board members and even worse reduced the efficiency of limited and valuable human and financial resources. The organizations members were questioning the value of their membership and getting frustrated with the lack of results they were seeing.
The group participated in a in two day retreat that was preceded by interviews and targeted strategic assignments for board members. In the retreat, the board clarified the purpose of the group which put everyone on the same page as to “why” the organization existed.
This lively discussion allowed everyone to listen and convey what they believed was the reason for the organizations existence. The value from this process was not just in coming up with a great mission statement; the value came from the dialogue and mutual understanding of the companies reason for being.
Once everyone was in alignment with the purpose for the organization, they were able to move forward and create a shared vision about what they wanted the organization to achieve.
After defining the vision and mission, the group efficiently and effectively developed a plan to translate their vision into results. The energy of the group was ignited because the retreat discussion was focused on the organizations most important results. An action plan was created and is now used as a road map for prioritizing agenda items at every board meeting. The plan is being followed and the group has experienced breakthrough results.
It is difficult to answer the question about illuminating the light bulb on the value of vision. However, my response would be, it is not what the vision is… it is what vision does. Optimal results are achieved when everyone in your team knows where they want to go (clarifies what success looks like) and are in alignment on how to get there. In other words, they are all rowing in the same direction.
Let me know if you are part of a team that is rowing in different directions. I will provide you with some ideas on how to get everyone working towards a common goal.