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Strategic priorities compared to strategic plans

As part of the material Rachel Taknint, VP – Law Department Planning and Operations & Associate General Counsel of Northwestern Mutual, made available to members of the Association of Life Insurance Counsel (ALIC), she included a summary of the Law Department’s 2007 strategic priorities. Each one is admirable.

Align legal services with Company priorities.
Make processes more efficient.
Encourage collaboration at all levels.
Build engagement.

Each priority has supporting detail as to how the Northwestern Law Department intends to make progress on it.

A law department’s strategic plan is different than its strategic priority list (See my posts of Dec. 15, 2005 on the term “strategic plan” being oxymoronic; Oct. 10, 2005 on implementation as key and Dec. 19, 2005 on “active inertia” as a drag; May 31, 2006 on strategy vs. planning; Jan. 17, 2006 on narratives instead of strategic plans; Aug. 8, 2005 on SWOT analyses; and Dec. 9, 2005 on scenario planning.). A strategic plan attempts to cover all important contingencies in the future and also extends further into the future than do annual priorities. A strategic plan may also alter something fundamental, whereas priorities indicate more what will be emphasized with incremental improvement.

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