When I recorded this video, we were on the quick slide down to the end of the year, and now we’re already almost 3 weeks into January. Either way, the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year is a time when many of us might be thinking about planning for the year ahead. Many of the solos and small firm lawyers I know don’t do much in the way of strategic planning because they either just don’t take the time to do it, or they think it’s too complicated.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated if you use my EASE method of strategic planning.
The four steps in the EASE method of strategic planning will make your planning a breeze:
- Strategize, and
Envision the Result You Want
This is the first step in the EASE method – Envision what you want the end result to be. This can be as large as what your firm core values will be, or as small as a goal to increase referrals.
Analyze Where You Are Now
The next step in creating a plan is to Analyze your current situation. Take stock of where you are. This is an important part of your strategic plan – if you don’t know where you are now, you won’t know where you need to go.
So if we take our small goal of increasing referrals, you first have to take a look at your referrals now:
- Who are your referral sources?
- Are you getting referrals for the kind of work you want to do?
- Where are your best clients coming from?
- How many referrals do you receive a month?
Strategize How You’ll Get To Your Vision From Where You Are Now
After you’ve taken stock of your current position, it’s time to Strategize. Take your vision or goals and identify objectives and benchmarks that will help you reach those goals. Create action plans with specific deadlines for completion. The action plans break down your objectives into discrete steps, so that you can move toward those goals.
Getting back to our referrals example, one objective might be to improve relationships with good referral sources.
- Create a schedule for referral communications with definite dates
- Contact three referral sources per month and schedule coffee, lunch, etc.
Evaluate and Revise
Finally, our last E in the Ease method is Evaluate and revise the plan. Planning is an ongoing process. Do your goals still make sense as time goes on? Are you meeting your objectives? Why or why not? What do you need to change about the plan?
With the EASE method: Envision, Analyze, Strategize, and Evaluate, you can develop a working strategic plan to help you reach your goals in 2020.
I’m Allison Shields from Legal EASE Consulting, wishing you happy holidays and much success in your planning for the new year!