From Planning to Profit: Vision Building for Strategic Planning

By Cheryl Leone, Law Firm Coach

When do you quit dreaming? There are some people who go through life creating dream after dream and there are some that simply quit – give up and live out a dream of the past. If you are going to transform yourself and your practice you must rediscover the art of dreaming.

Visionless people view all change as a threat. They live in denial of the future, wedded to the past, longingly remembering the way things used to be. Life is an endurance test for these folks and hanging around them is a test of patience. This is not you!

A vision statement is a clear mental portrait of a preferable future. Vision involves change. A good vision statement will take you out of your comfort zone and will frequently redefine success for you. Your vision is a long-term approach to life. It is not something you will accomplish in the next quarter, the next year or probably not within the decade.

The lack of personal vision can be physically and emotionally debilitating. You have no desire to do anything. You are not excited. There is no anticipation about the day, no looking forward to getting up in the morning. All you want to do is exist. When you create a vision that you really believe in the energy comes back.

Remember this is a picture full of colors and emotions. So go ahead and dream. You don’t have to share this secret place with anyone. The primary reason for doing this is just to get you into the proper frame of mind to discover your purpose in this world. Your vision will provide some guidance while you are defining your mission, calling or purpose.

Personal Vision

We at Catalyst learned from the start if we could not get our clients to build a personal vision, the business vision failed. It is a simple thought process. Why are you working? It is not to just make money. It has to be to meet personal goals down the road. Someone will truly work hard if they think it will bring them the boat, or the house, or a college education for a child. The trick is to figure out where you want to be down the road. If you visualize someday living on the ocean with a boat and having your grand-children at your knee you better figure out how to have a way to accomplish that. When you are driven by personal dreams you will always succeed with a business dream.

Business Vision

A business has to have a vision of its future. Without it you are just a reactionary owner. . This vision should be related to or support your personal vision. Here is an example of a business vision for a law firm we helped.

“We will be the leaders in injury law with a team of bright, highly motivated, dedicated people who have a compassion for life, justice and client service. We value the rights, freedoms, and responsibilities of our democratic society. Our team will be self-starting, exercising initiative in accomplishing our goals, acting on situations and opportunities, rather than be acted upon. We build and nurture lasting relationships, both within the firm and with our clients. Our team is viewed as being professional, aggressive, and compassionate.”

What is your reason for starting a business?

  • Something to do?
  • Something to make money?
  • You want to support a cause?
  • You like the outward appearance?
  • You want the tax benefits (yeah, right)?
  • You love the work?
  • You like helping people?

Once you figure this out you can now start dreaming about what it is you want for your practice.

Having done the above exercise you should be able to answer some simple questions:

  • Are you living as the person you want to be?
  • What is the point?

It is hard to visualize your future many years down the road particularly when you are younger. Someone who is 50 may see it in yearly segments; a 30-year old may not even imagine what their life would be like at 65. Goals change as we grow and mature. Even values change as we gain life experience.

We at Law Firm Coach created a form called “Triangle for Success”. It is a very simple way of looking down the road. It requires our clients first to dream about what they see as the best possible personal life down the road. Then we have them think about where they want to be professionally down the road. Then we build a personal plan making sure that the personal goals are met. Each year our clients (including former clients) will email us their updated vision. Why do this? Because you and life change but you must always be moving forward. That is strategic planning at its finest.

About the Authors

Principals Dave Favor and Cheryl Leone are the founders of Catalyst Group, Inc. with its corporate offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. Rounding out the Coaches is Attorney Carl Solomon of Columbia, South Carolina. They share a common value and belief system that everyone deserves a chance to work for themselves and do it in such a way that it is profitable, enjoyable and respected by others. For more information email our Head Coach.

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