Most firms agree on the importance of documenting a strategic plan, but few have plans that are easily communicated and integrated with technology, human resources, succession, training/learning and other plans. Having a plan for its own sake is not the goal. Accountability and execution differentiate great firms from those that are just maintaining the status quo. Not every firm wants to grow, but growth is indeed the lifeblood of a firm.While strategic planning is about the big picture, overall planning requires much more depth. Focus and ongoing improvement are critical to a firm's success. Partners are often the problem - as well as the key - to success. If partners don't buy in to the firm's vision and make a commitment to be held accountable, its leadership as a whole will be easily frustrated and ignore the planning process.

Some partners conduct a meeting (e.g., a firm retreat) that focuses on the past, rather than the future. The firm's challenges and strategies may be discussed at these events, but no one is typically held accountable to do anything about them. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, I am happy to tell you that there is a better way, and many firms are learning to think, plan and grow.

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