Yesterday saw the first presentation of the new PM Forum training course on “Being more strategic” (a Strategy workshop) which was hosted in the marvellous client space at Linklaters solicitors. Whilst most delegates were from law firms there were a good number from accountancy practices and even a representative from the property profession.
The challenges that delegates faced in their roles were daunting – reviewing the firm’s overall strategy, repositioning, managing post-merger integration, building consensus across international networks and gaining greater buy-in to the strategic process to ensure strategy implementation.
What is strategy?
After reviewing definitions of strategy from Mitzberg, Evans, Sola, Couturier, Porter, Day, Schoemaker, Kotler, Collins and others, the delegates decided that the most important elements of a definition were: higher purpose, direction, route map, competitive advantage, sustainability, identification of core challenges, choice, focus and co-ordinated action.
Various models of strategic thinking environments and competencies were examined and after some self-assessments we identified the various resources needed for strategic thinking: time, observation, information, open minds, external perspective, challenging questions, analytical and creative skills, discussion, understanding of goals, systemic thinking, identification of assumptions and biases, access to decision makers, buy in to the strategic process, facilitation skills and agreement to aims and plans.
Strategy development as an empowering process
A key lesson was the need to take people on the strategy journey so that they engaged with the process, participated in the identification of issues and opportunities and contributed to the strategic choices and solutions.
Theory supported by practical tools
Most delegates found it valuable to have a whole raft of strategic models pulled together in one place as well as the ability to try out a number of practical tools that they could take back and use at their firms. Tools that were found to be of most value included:
- Examining assumptions and dominant mental models
- Brainstorming a combined PESTLE (STEP) environmental and five forces competitive analysis
- Structured approach to analysing the impact of organisational culture
- Grid to break down and reframe core challenges
- Creative exercise for finding a mission statement
- Using the “from” and “to” framework to summarise strategic change
As I had suspected, there was too much material for the half day session (although there was a lot of additional material provided and signposting to further readying) so I will tweak the session before it’s next presentation and we may considering extending it to a full day (Let me know your thoughts on this).
- Barrister marketing: What is the best way for barristers to market themselves?
- What do I do with only a limited marketing budget?
- Reflections on Managing Change and Leadership (with book list)
- Marketing planning – Are you seaweed or a limpet?
- Book Review: Good strategy, Bad Strategy – The difference and why it matters by Richard Rumelt
- How can I improve the quality and effectiveness of my business plan?
- Book review: The seven keys to managing strategic accounts – Sallie Sherman, Joseph Sperry and Samuel Reece
- Strategy and Planning
- Economic update from David Smith (Sunday Times) at the BCO President’s Lunch
- Improve marketing campaign management for professional service firms
- Marketing strategy for personal injury lawyers at MASS conference
- UK growth ahead - Accountants Haines Watts and Grant Thornton research UK business growth prospects and optimism
- How can a lawyer become more effective at business development?
- How can I improve my pricing strategy?
- The decaying carcass of a law practice? Legal market trends
- UK accountancy market trends
- 6 counter-intuitive market trends – Books, luxury goods, universities, small businesses, feminisation and older women
- Grown-up corporate social responsibility and the regulatory environment - Strategy book on “Aligning for advantage” by Professor Thomas Lawton
- Book review - Rainmakers and Trailblazers: A step by step guide to Business development for lawyers
- Marketing accountability and creativity, crisis management pragmatism, social media success and new banking brands at AMBA
- Views on the new marketing standards from CIM?
- Property marketing case study – CBRE at MIPIM with bears and bulls video and social media
- What are the essential skills for modern marketers?
- Book review: “Leadership transformed – how ordinary managers become extraordinary leaders” by Dr Peter Fuda
- Client feedback – Insights into general counsel needs (2014 part one)
- Review of law firm strategy and finance (First half 2014)
- Book Review – “How to think strategically: Your roadmap to innovation and results” by Davide Sola and Jerome Couturier
- Book review: “Developing a business strategy – How to use strategic planning to start up or grow your business” FT Essential Guides by Vaughan Evans
- Creativity 3 – Update on brainstorming techniques
- Creativity 4 – Enhancing creativity using Leonardo da Vinci’s seven methods
- Accountancy marketing case study – Grant Thornton and Lexis® Interaction® aligning partner KPIs with business objectives
- Legal client feedback – Group General Counsel of Colt (telecommunications) 2014 (and procurement tips)
- Business development for professional service firms – Summary of MBL seminar
- Leadership masterclass by Luan de Burgh
- Opportunities and challenges in the legal market – presentation by Steve Billot of Duff and Phelps
- Bottlenecks, bulldozers and caught in the cross-fire – Highlights from a stakeholder management and buy-in session (2016)
- Seven thoughts on stakeholder management, engagement and buy-In – Workshop summary (April 2021)
- Positive, persuasive and persistent - Therapy and theory of partner buy-in
- Accountancy marketing case study – From client referrals to sectors and social media
- Animal magic and the art of gaining buy-in: Leeds September 2019
- 7 building blocks of a proactive marketing executive (2015)
- Being more strategic – Six insights (Bias, Data, Complexity, Tolerance, Journey, Skills)
- How do I run an internal marketing focus group (e.g. a sector group)?
- Are you ready to change? Remember the change process
- Strategy basics – Mission and vision statements with hedgehogs and helicopters (Video)
- 10 top tips for targeting – bring focus to your sales efforts
- Before you set your goals – check your limiting assumptions
- Environmental analysis (SLEPT) and planning - Future of Jobs Report 2018 (impact of technology)
- Be more strategic – A metaphor: Analyse, join and align the dots
- Current Consultancy Themes
- The pricing (and value) of legal services
- Professional Service Firms: Reflections on 2014 – Actions for 2015
- How do I deal with difficult partners?
- Legal case study – Anatomy of a law firm merger (Ross & Craig and DMH Stallard)
- Strategy case studies and more matrices
- Strategy and scenario planning: Blowing the cobwebs off your mind workshop (with Allen & Overy)
- International relationship management – Highlights from a talk by Allan Evans at BDO accountants
- Getting it past the partners – All about buy in
- Sign up for the 2nd Estates Gazette Property Marketing Summit
- Be more strategic – creating behaviour change
- Accountancy marketing case studies – Strategy and relationship management at BDO, Grant Thornton and RSM International
- Improve learning effectiveness – Using Kolb’s learning styles
- Strategy basics - Mintzberg
- Property marketing case studies – Relationship management at DTZ, GVA, JLL, Knight Frank and Savills
- Seven deadly sins of business plans – and how to fix them
- Change management in a surveyors’ practice – Bridging the gap between the old and the new
- The Lawyer UK 200 Workspace report – Law firm use of real estate
- Research update on the most in-demand soft skills
- Book review: Chaotics - The business of managing and marketing in the age of turbulence By Philip Kotler and John A Caslione (scenario planning)
- Be more strategic – PESTLE, Positioning and Plans
- Be more strategic – Look to the stars and keep it simple sailor
- Growing Your Property Partnership