Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Are You Asking the Right Questions in Planning Your Firm’s Strategy?

Yogi Berra once said “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.” Sometimes, though, even if you do know where your firm is going, without an effective plan, you might NOT get there anyway.

An effective strategic plan binds and motivates your whole team into cohesive action toward a goal. Sports teams understand this clearly, but design firms struggle. Too many design firms’ strategic plans contain ‘wishy-washy’, undefined, and unclear goals that accomplish little or nothing to drive your firm forward. As a result, most of these
plans just end up collecting dust on a shelf.
The following questions should help you in preparing for your next strategic planning session.  But be sure you write out the answers! Answering the questions on paper is meant to be a stimulus for thinking about the sessions and your firm’s future. Each person to be involved in the planning session should get a copy and answer all the questions.

1.   What is your definition of growth?
2.   What is your mental picture of what the practice should be like in three years?
3.   What role will you play in your visionary practice?
4.   How many people can you manage personally?
5.   What effect does your ownership plan have on growth?
6.   What talent will you need that is not present now in the firm?
7.   Why is growth important to you?
8.   What impact does your management of time have on growth?
9.   List three external factors that can help you grow, then list three which will hinder growth
10. Define change.
11. How do you implement change?
12. What conflicts do you perceive between your visionary firm and the present situation?
13. Why do these conflicts exist?
14. What can you do to resolve these conflicts?
15. Define the kind of leader you are.
16. What impact does your leadership style have on growth?
17. How do your clients perceive the firm?
18. Is their perception in line with goals for your visionary firm?
19. Crystallize your thoughts into a one sentence strategic goal for the firm.  Be specific.
20. Is your firm a matrix? Team? or departmental organization?
21. Describe the culture of your organization.
22. How would you characterize communications at your firm?
23. Do your people feel empowered? Why?
24. Describe how good your firm is at design.  Why?

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