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Plan for the future, but be wary of strategic plans

Some law departments, usually larger ones, prepare a strategic plan (See my posts of May 14, 2005: tools execs use to improve the performance of their organizations.). Various techniques help general counsel craft a strategic plan (See my posts of Dec. 9, 2005: scenario thinking; Dec. 9, 2005: the Delphi method (nominal group technique); Dec. 20, 2005: real options analysis; Nov. 25, 2006: brainstorming; and Dec. 21, 2005: work analysis.).

I am all for managers of law departments thinking long and hard about their current resources compared to their anticipated needs. If that is strategic planning, then go for it! What I question are elaborate processes, PowerPoint, meetings of teams, and formalization of the output in large binders. I have expressed my doubts about the efficacy of elaborate strategic plans (See my posts of Oct. 10, 2005: defects in execution often drag down strategic plans; Dec. 15, 2005: “law-department strategic plan” is an oxymoron; and Jan. 17, 2006: strategic narratives in place of strategic plans.).

In general, the term “strategic” has been sorely overused (See my post of June 11, 2008.).

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