I've been working with a firm recently and I have really enjoyed the time I have spent there. We started right at the beginning - I worked with the Managing Partner and the Board to answer the questions "What is Strategy". We have then gone on to work to develop a strategy for the firm which was launched to the firm as a whole last Friday. During the party in the evening - we're in France and so every major announcement is followed by some sort of fête - the Managing Partner cornered me and said, "I have been thinking. I like the strategy we have, but what now?"
We had, in fact, spoken about the next step some months ago, but it was great that he had realised that developing a strategy - or coming up with a plan - is not enough. It is a vital first step, but at some point you and the firm need to actually do something, rather than simply talking about it.
So - there needs to be a plan. I think that there are only really three questions that need to be asked - what, when & who. It is as simple as that - take the strategy and apply those three questions. What are we actually going to do; when are we going to do it; who is going to do it?
For example, let's say that part of the strategy is to build dominance in international regulatory work. Ok then - what needs to be done to achieve that? This leads to a discussion about the major players in the field and, importantly, includes the insurance companies. What is the firm going to do to attract their attention? This might lead to a discussion about newsletters, short courses, lectures, training sessions. When is all this going to be done? Deadlines must be applied otherwise a year will go by and no-one will have been able to fit any tasks in. When are the sessions to be established? When will the PR start to make sure that the firm takes maximum benefit from the investment they are putting in. Who will actually do things? Who will contact people? Who will liaise with marketing and PR? Who will write the lectures and plan the courses? Who will deliver the training? What pro bono work might be taken? Who will do it? On and on.
A whole lot of small questions and a bit of hard work later and you have an operational plan that will put your strategy into play.