I Remember

Sitting out on the deck this morning, I remember so much. Some brought a smile and some sadness.  It was a melancholy morning. I remember when the starter switch for my car was under the clutch pedal. I remember TV test patterns and looking at that pattern waiting for the TV show to start. We had a 7-inch TV screen and a choice of a few shows after dinner before they signed off.

I remember physical intimacy, running on the beach to fly a kite, putting a reef in my sails during a rain squall, camping, and living as a civil war soldier in the wilderness, just for the experience.  Now I have to rest after I walk up my driveway to get the mail.  I remember when corporate management would greet me, when I published technical journals, when I gave presentations to large crowds, and when I thought what I was doing at work was so important.  Now, I am not sure any of that meant anything in the grand scheme of life.

I remember being taught by my father that my word must be my bond.  A day when the truth was the ideal. The idea of “my word is my bond” reaches back centuries. The books of Matthew and Numbers both contain passages in which one’s spoken vow becomes a sacred commitment. Nowadays, I see fake news and the leader of the greatest nation in my lifetime who has no concept of what truth is.

I remember being a proud member of the Navy stationed on a destroyer. Now I see a commander and chief that tells sailors to rip their ship name patch off and covers up the name of a ship with canvas because he does not like the name. I see countries asking us to leave, we pull out of alliances, and we deploy troops to coral peaceful protesters.

I remember when you worked for what you wanted. I wanted to go on a bare-foot cruise on a sailing ship, so I worked as Christmas help at a department store to pay for it. Now I see adults complaining because I didn’t buy coffee for the Keurig as they sit around.  Which reminds me, I remember when making coffee was a process that I started before I got dressed because it took time. Now I fidget because the K-cup took a minute to brew.   

I remember when I was sought out for advice and invited to attend events, now I only have memories, and the honor goes to the younger crowd.  But not all is lost.  I also see a young, energetic six-year-old that calls me pop-pop and still thinks that I can fix anything.

So many experiences and lessons learned in my 78 years that nobody wants to hear about. That same six-year-old informed me that she was in first grade now and no longer needed to be told what to do.  I just smile and say OK, but don’t touch that hot stove.

My challenge is the sheer number of changes and transitions that start to occur. I try to face my limitations with a healthy dose of humor. I don’t always succeed. I was told that a key ingredient for healthy aging is the continuing ability to find meaning and joy in life. One way to do this is to learn something new. Learning new activities not only adds meaning and joy to life but can also help to prevent mental decline. I was always interested in the historical story behind religions, so I signed up for an online college course presented by a seminary. So far so good. After each one-hour lecture I get excited about something new I learned.

Planning to vote in the next election is my other focus.  It seems to me that they are trying to make that harder to do, but I love a challenge. Those are my thoughts from this morning. Tomorrow find a good spot to watch the day begin and go down memory lane. I would love to hear your story.

Did you find some neat ideas in this blog? What are the exciting ideas you came up with, and how are you implementing them? Let me know by contacting me at dwfavor@catalystgroupinc.com.

{ 0 comments }

Let’s Do This

I suspect that we all have some idea of what influence purpose has in our life.  Your purpose is the reason for which you were created or for which you exist. That seems kind of harsh, but I get the meaning.  I have been told that if I figured out my purpose, I would bound out of bed in the morning eager to go.  Well, that has not happened for a while.  I sometimes wake up and just hit the snooze button.  I do have a sheltie that wants to be fed and put out and sometimes adds to the wake-up noise.  Not sure what happened the last 78 years, but I wake up with a few aches and pains, a hungry dog, and no real job to go to. 

I want to make the most of my time left on this earth.  I would like to experience all there is and live true to my values.  I have a vision of what that person is like, but I am not always sure what to do.  My problem is, I allowed events to take over my vision.  I have a muscle disease that drains me of most of my energy.  Some nasty virus has put me under a shelter in place order at best and attacking my friends at worst. My purpose is shifting to staying active, which redefines success.   Sometimes I forget what drove me to get this far. Without a well-understood purpose, there is no vision.  With no vision, there is no plan. With no plan, there is no eagerness to get started. I would think, get started with what?

Consider this, if you knew you only had a few more years to live, your stamina is low, and there is a mean virus outside the door, what would you do? I have a few fantasies that I like to play with, but I am not talking about a bucket list.  I mean something more. The one big thing I always wanted to do. Something like leaving a legacy.  I believe that your purpose should define some kind of contribution. Sitting in my recliner reading books, watching a webinar, or going to a class is just prep work, not my purpose in life.

Grab yourself a beverage of choice, get comfortable, and think about that for a moment. Now, let’s not drift off into morbid land and think about the number of people that will remember you when you are gone. Think more in the lines of contribution and today.  Do you want to start a pay-it-forward project, pass on all your knowledge, become the best partner ever, be the father of the year, or cure the virus?  Something with pizzazz.  A purpose that would get you excited. You should consider these elements when defining your purpose.

  • Belief/religion/spirituality – Over time, I have developed a belief in a purpose for life, which requires that we each contribute to something more significant. For those who have a sense of spirituality in their life, the purpose is a sense of meaning and connection. 
  • Health & Fitness – These are critical for living a balanced life. If your body feels better, you will feel better. If you feel better, you tend to engage more. To accomplish your purpose, you must engage. 
  • Social – It is very important to have an active social life, as it keeps you connected and involved with the world. Also, having fun and sharing laughs helps you recharge intellectually and emotionally.  All of this helps you realize your purpose.
  • Companionship & Intimacy – Ultimately, every person is searching for a lasting, meaningful relationship. It can be both nurturing and challenging. The result is a greater sense of ourselves and a more fulfilling and happy life. This tends to support your quest to realize your purpose.

Now, kiss that girl you have a fantasy about, climb a mountain, buy a lottery ticket, or whatever short-term thought is driving you crazy and get it out of your system. It is time to get real. I am guessing that you are alone while you are doing this exercise, so go ahead and be a little crazy. Even if someone sees you, who cares, they probably think you are over the hill anyway.  Put the past aside and create a picture of what that new purpose would look like. What would the process be to realize your purpose look like? Now do it. I remember a great line in a movie; unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the film. Work it. Live it. Love it.  What is the worse that could happen?  Exactly!

Did you find some neat ideas in this blog? What are the exciting ideas you came up with, and how are you implementing them? Let me know by contacting me at dwfavor@catalystgroupinc.com.

{ 0 comments }

What’s another Fantasy

Some of you may notice that I have chosen a charity for my birthday this year and wondered if there is a story behind that.  Well, of course, there is.  I could weave a great story but not today.  In this time of fake news and overblown egos, I thought we could get closer to the truth.  So, now for the story behind the story.

For years I have been embellishing my fantasy. I guess you could call it the ultimate bucket list.  It is not what you may think it is, and you won’t discover what it is today.  Hey, I said closer to the truth, not full disclosure.  Besides that, this, too, would be all about me. 

While I was having my coffee out on the deck yesterday, I was all frustrated about the alternative facts, storytelling, and fantasy worlds that I found watching the news.  That is when a small voice said to me, well, what about you.  Didn’t I choose to believe my own bias and tell a few stories.  I started to argue the point and realized that I was about to lose.  Then I thought, what would happen if there was one day that was not all about fantasies. That is when I got this note saying that perhaps in these trying times, I should choose a charity for my birthday.  I am just amazed when that happens, and I thought that was a neat idea. We are still under that stay at home thriller, so why not.  Even selecting a charity became a challenge.  The news release I got for my big announcement was full of their fantasy.  Then I noticed that I could edit the statement.  I started removing all the big words and grand statements. What you see on Facebook is my best shot, just the basics. 

That is my story, and I am sticking to it.  Oh, and I am too fond of my fantasy to give it up, it is just on hold.  So, enjoy the day and write your own story. It is not about the contributions or even the charity, that is my story. It is about thinking of others. Feel free to choose your own charity.

{ 0 comments }

Try an Online Meeting

For the majority of remote teams, communication is the key to success. Each member of the team must know what the others are working on. This is something that can be easily lost when the entire team is working remotely. Remote teams simply cannot function with inadequate communication between its members. Short daily meetings over Skype or Zoom is a great way to do this. The truth is, it doesn’t matter which remote tool you decide to use; just as long as your team has a good line of communication, your remote workers won’t feel isolated from one another. The key is that all members of the team have access to it and can use it. 

Zoom sets up easily, and team members seem to adapt quickly. There are a few things to keep in mind with any of these tools.  You need a web camera and a microphone, which is standard on most laptops but need to be added to workstations.  Next, remember that you have an active camera and microphone once the meeting starts. Some security considerations must be thought through because you are extending a business discussion into a home or location outside of your control.

The lack of company culture can plague any remote team. Sure, it’s easier for the boss to pop in to chat with a team that works in the same office, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t do the same with a remote team. Set up a daily Zoom meeting that is more like a coffee break than a formal meeting. Other tools allow you to chat, exchange messages or E-mail, or just talk. You don’t need to get fancy, just be available. Here are a few ideas to create highly motivated and productive teams:

  • Prioritize regular check-ins so team members feel you are paying attention to them.
  • Instead of the phone, use Zoom; activate your camera during the call and encourage others to as well, so your team does not lose their sense of community.
  • Virtual meetings may not create the same interpersonal connection of a face to face meeting. That doesn’t mean they can’t be fun. Who wouldn’t appreciate the chance to take their mind off of current events? Try to laugh before jumping into business, advice from ProHabits.com/thrive.

I have found that one of the key ingredients to work culture is regular events and a schedule.  We all start in the morning with our daily meetings and have a coffee break after lunch.  You can do the same with a remote meeting.

Again, it isn’t rocket science. Case managers and Firm Administrators should be working hard to ensure that each member of their team has a clear idea of their expected working hours, all deadlines, what it is that the team is working towards, and even the policy on taking sick days. Establish a routine and have team members check in often. Not keeping track of what’s being done, who is doing what, and who isn’t doing what they are supposed to, is something that can destroy any team.

You should be aware of how much work your remote team is getting done, and at what rate? Luckily, there is a simple way to make sure you don’t end up in this situation, and it’s also an easy fix if you do find yourself in it: monitor and evaluate your remote employees using the same KPIs you would when dealing with in-house workers.  There is an assumption that you have agreed to performance metrics.  Most law firms use a case management system to track cases and can use that same tool to keep track of work done.  The remote teams we have set up, keep track of everything they do in case notes, task checklist, and case milestones.  A few reports that are run each day or week will develop a trend which will show who the top workers are.

The amount of work being done can be too much or not enough.  Most managers are focused on getting the work done and who did the most, but you can also find a team member that does too much.  That is the person that is always online and working. They tend to burn out over time and, in some cases, can destroy the morale of the team.  Back to culture, set some expectations.  Those expectations should include breaks, family time, and time off. Everyone likes to know the rules of the game, and they all want an even playing field. It is OK to have a special project, but the norm should be the same as it would be in the office.  Tell everyone what the rules and expectations are and establish a routine.

Did you find some neat ideas in this blog? What are the exciting ideas you came up with, and how are you implementing them? Let me know by contacting me at dwfavor@catalystgroupinc.com.

{ 0 comments }

We Shall be Free

I believe that I often live someone else’s expectations. True freedom, for me, would be having the courage to follow my true self rather than the demands around me. That is not as easy as it seems because, over time, I have added the burden of values and community standards.  You can call that someone else’s expectations or restrictions that I have taken on myself. I have accepted values that say I should do this and not do that.  I have moved into communities that have standards that I have accepted. That is only part of the puzzle of freedom.  Freedom stands for something greater than just the right to act however I choose.  

Being true to yourself starts with knowing who you are and accepting yourself.  The problem I found was figuring out who I was.  There are a lot of clues out there in the many self-help books I have read.  Perhaps I was what I did and accomplished. I was an executive, a parent, a writer, or some other title.  None of those ideas seemed to feel right.  OK, so maybe I am what I own.  I am a homeowner, sailboat owner, or owner of the most expensive car in the neighborhood.  No, that did not ring well either.  Maybe I am what other people think I am.  Not so long ago, I was fearful of walking into a crowded room, thinking that everyone thought I was strange. Perhaps I was, but what I found out is that most of the people had no such thoughts. None of these superficial definitions work for me. 

The other implication is that I can be anything I want and ignore people. Well, that does not work, so I’m not saying be any way you want. The world is full of people who do that and don’t care at all about the effect they have on others or the world. I am not one of those people.

I had to stop and think about how I was raised, the culture I was brought up in, and the lessons I have learned. That would suggest that the values and the customs I have accepted have a lot to do with who I am today. Being true to myself means being accountable for my thoughts and actions. Here I am in my late seventies with a lot of obligations and an acquired set of values. All of that will determine how I perceive things.

All of these conflicts are present when a pandemic hits and changes all the rules. I have seen people that are paranoid about the perception of a government that takes away our freedom. I have also seen some that are upset because the government is not doing enough to protect our freedom.  There are questions like, does spreading the virus represent a threat to my freedom?  How about crashing the stock market or fake news?  I have seen people obsessed with proving their perception is correct.  Spending hours doing research looking for anything that proves that their position is correct.  At some level, this obsession has restricted their freedom more than anything else. I have restricted my freedom with concerns about health, the government, and the economy. 

Our world has become complicated, filled with uncertainty. We tend to resist change. When the uncertainty becomes too big of a burden, we give up.  We need to gradually get back to our true selves. I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy that will cause early respiratory failure.  That makes this pandemic a significant influence on my perception of things.  Others may see certain actions as a threat to their freedom while I may see the same action as a protection of my freedom.

What is real freedom? I watched a TV special that had a song that Garth Brooks sang back in the 90s called “We shall be free.” The lyrics reminded me of what real freedom is. I am still discovering who I am and working at being true to myself. It’s an exhilarating way to live, and I’ve found it’s OK to be me! Maybe when this is all over, we can start to focus on being free. Stop the fake news, the paranoia, and the finger-pointing. Getting back to who we are.

Did you find some neat ideas in this blog? What are the exciting ideas you came up with, and how are you implementing them? Let me know by contacting me at dwfavor@catalystgroupinc.com.

{ 0 comments }

Just Relax

Have you ever thought about meditation or been told to relax?  I went through both, and it took some discipline for me to start. I go out on the deck in the morning, weather permitting, and watch the sunrise.  For the first few weeks, I did not get the hang of meditation. Here is what I finally worked out after some coaching. Take a moment and allow your heart to open, to become receptive. This was not easy! The bottom line, relax, and find a comfortable chair where it is quiet.  I like to sit on my deck in the early morning with my coffee and our Sheltie. Now, consider three of your senses and name three things that you notice. In other words, name three things you’re seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling, or hearing. I usually select smell, feel, and hear. My taster is busy with my coffee and perhaps an English muffin. You select the three you like.

I do my three things for hearing, feeling, and smell.   I hear the wind in the trees, morning traffic, a bird chirping.  I feel the wind on my face, the cold chair on my bottom, and the deck on my feet.  I smell bacon cooking, coffee brewing, and the garden. At this point, I can do it again with more detail.  The wind feels cold, or the deck feels rough. The purpose of this exercise is to distract your mind from whatever is causing you to be anxious.

It does not take long to clear my mind from today’s worries.  After my three questions, I don’t give myself much time to get back into the worrying; instead, I announce that I am here and listen.  This was the hardest part for me because I was just too logical.  Who was I talking to? After a lot of thought and trials, I decided it didn’t really matter, just open my mind and listen.  Perhaps it was my mind talking or some supernatural source, who cares. Once I got to this point, the next hurdle was my desire to interpret everything.  Again, who cares.  Instead, just listen.  After a while, I started to ask questions. Ask yourself this question, allowing the answer to come naturally: What do I need? Expect the answer to be something like the need to be connected, loved, peaceful, or free.  If this stirred up any anxiety, I go back to my calming questions: what did I smell, feel, or hear?   Then I listen for the answer to my question.

Most of us have difficulty focusing our attention. I believe that we can’t focus on multiple things at once. So, when I’m thinking about an email response, it is difficult for me to listen, especially when what I hear is annoying or nonsensical babble. There I go with the judgments. I had to set a clear intention to be a better listener. I would catch myself getting lost in thoughts while I should be listening. Listening means to stop making judgments and forming responses before the message is completed. It takes some practice.

Now consider a second question: What do I need to hear from others? Words that we would like to hear are often what we would like to have in our life.  Get ready to listen again. In other words, be patient and don’t judge. Don’t be surprised if you hear about the needs of others. The purpose of the questions is just to get the conversation going. 

I spent a long time fighting this idea of relaxing because I wanted to be in control.  Many months went by before I decided to get over it and just listen.  In my logical world, I decided that spending a few minutes could not hurt.  What I discovered was kind of amazing.  I am not going to claim any miracles, but I will stand by my amazing comment.  I solved problems I had been working on for a long time.  I decided to call people that immediately said I was just thinking of you.  I offered help to people that later said they had been worried about something for a long time.  After my first year, I concluded that we are more connected than we want to admit and that we have more abilities than we use.  Even if nothing amazing happens, I feel more relaxed.  The whole exercise takes 30 minutes, and I get some needed fresh air, and our Sheltie gets a piece of my muffin.

Did you find some neat ideas in this blog? What are the exciting ideas you came up with, and how are you implementing them? Let me know by contacting me at dwfavor@catalystgroupinc.com.

{ 0 comments }

Let’s Relax

Have you ever thought about meditation or been told to relax?  I went through both, and it took some discipline for me to start. Here is what I finally worked out after some coaching.  I go out on the deck in the morning, weather permitting, and watch the sunrise.  Take a moment and allow your heart to open, to become receptive. The bottom line, relax and find a comfortable chair where it is quiet.  I like to sit on my deck in the early morning with my coffee and our Sheltie. Now, look into three of your senses and name three things that you notice. In other words, name three things you’re seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling, or hearing. I usually select smell, feel, and hear. My taster is busy with my coffee and perhaps an English muffin. You select the three you like.

I do my three things for hearing, feeling, and smell.   I hear the wind in the trees, morning traffic, a bird chirping.  I feel the wind on my face, the cold chair on my bottom, and the deck on my feet.  I smell bacon cooking, coffee brewing, and the garden. At this point, I can do it again with more detail.  The wind feels cold, or the deck feels rough. The purpose of this exercise is to distract your mind from whatever is causing you to be anxious.

It does not take long to clear my mind from today’s worries.  After my three questions, I don’t give myself much time to get back into the worrying; instead, I announce that I am here and listen.  This was the hardest part for me because I was just too logical.  Who was I talking to? After a lot of thought and trials, I decided it didn’t really matter, just open my mind and listen.  Perhaps it was my mind talking or some supernatural source, who cares. Once I got to this point, the next hurdle was my desire to interpret everything.  Again, who cares.  Instead, just listen.  After a while, I started to ask questions. Ask yourself this question, allowing the answer to come naturally: What do I need? Expect the answer to be something like the need to be connected, loved, peaceful, or free.  If this stirred up any anxiety, I go back to my calming questions: what did I smell, feel, or hear?   Then I listen for the answer to my question.

Most of us have difficulty focusing our attention. I believe that we can’t focus on multiple things at once. So, when I’m thinking about an email response, it is difficult for me to listen, especially when what I hear is annoying or nonsensical babble. There I go with the judgments. I had to set a clear intention to be a better listener. I would catch myself getting lost in thoughts while I should be listening. Listening means to stop making judgments and forming responses before the message is completed. It takes some practice.

Now consider a second question: What do I need to hear from others? Words that we would like to hear are often what we would like to have in our life.  Get ready to listen again. In other words, be patient and don’t judge. If you heard that you need kindness, to belong, or more peace in your life, maybe the next thought will be: May I begin to be kind to myself. Don’t be surprised if you hear about the needs of others. The purpose of the questions is just to get the conversation going. 

I spent a long time fighting this idea of relaxing because I wanted to be in control.  Many months went by before I decided to get over it and just listen.  In my logical world, I decided that spending a few minutes could not hurt.  What I discovered was kind of amazing.  I am not going to claim any miracles, but I will stand by my amazing comment.  I solved problems I had been working on for a long time.  I decided to call people that immediately said I was just thinking of you.  I offered help to people that later said they had been worried about something for a long time.  After my first year, I concluded that we are more connected than we want to admit and that we have more abilities than we use.  Even if nothing amazing happens, I feel more relaxed.  The whole exercise takes 30 minutes, and I get some needed fresh air, and our Sheltie gets a piece of my muffin.

Did you find some neat ideas in this blog? What are the exciting ideas you came up with, and how are you implementing them? Let me know by contacting me at dwfavor@catalystgroupinc.com.

{ 0 comments }

The KPI Question

I recently discussed KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), where I was asked why I needed to see the vision and the mission statements for the law firm.  The answer I provided was; the key performance indicators are based on the goals of the business, which are defined by the vision and the mission found in the strategic plan.  That got a blank stare, so I tried the more official-sounding explanation. A Key Performance Indicator is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively the firm is achieving key business objectives. That didn’t exactly go over any better, and I was asked, what is an indicator? Before I drown in this analysis, let’s use the KISS principle.  When I use the term KPI, I think of measurements of performance.  Let me also say I have seen where every single measure is called a KPI. That makes no sense to me as not all indicators or measurements are key – some must be more important than others.

Let’s start at the beginning.  The vision statement defines what success looks like. It should contain all the key elements you want to be successful.  You could start with a simple statement saying the firm is a successful law practice.   What does that mean?  So you change it a little to be, the firm is a profitable personal injury law firm that is known for great client service.  

Now you just defined two potential measurements; being profitable and having great client service.  OK, so far.  If you decide these are key to your business, you just defined two KPIs. Now you develop a mission statement to realize the vision.  The mission could be to provide personal injury legal services.  Not very exciting, so you work on it some.  The mission is to provide legal services for personal injury clients in North and South Carolina.  You quickly find out that a lot of law firms do that, so you try and differentiate your firm.  The mission becomes; we provide timely and compassionate personal injury legal services with the best settlements in the Carolinas.  You have just defined several more potential KPIs. All of this was done before we completed the strategic plan or decided on any processes.

You complete the strategic plan and define some tools, processes, and procedures to meet your goals.  Each of those will have a few KPIs. The point of this discussion is, you will develop a unique set of KPIs based on your strategic plan. Using KPIs is a good way to look at the success of a business.  There is also a balanced scorecard approach. The balanced scorecard asks that you translate the mission statement into specific measures that reflect success. The balanced scorecard looks at the firm from four perspectives – financial, client, internal, and growth.  Within the strategic plan, you would develop measurements relative to each of these perspectives — potentially more KPIs.

One last observation, we all have a different idea of what the measurement focus should be. You can probably guess that I look at the strategic plan as the starting point to define the business.  Someone else may be focused on marketing and another on job performance. I have even seen a focus on process effectiveness.  All of these ideas are correct as far as they go, which makes my recommendation to consider all of them.  I would say that too many measurements may result in analysis paralysis.  I would aim for no more than 5 to 10 Key performance indicators.  The rest of your list of measurements are metrics to be used for early warning of problems, performance evaluations, process effectiveness, or prediction of outcomes.

Did you find some neat ideas in this blog? What are the exciting ideas you came up with, and how are you implementing them? Let me know by contacting me at dwfavor@catalystgroupinc.com.

For more information on creating a strategic plan that works, contact cheryl@catalystgroupinc.com

{ 0 comments }

What is the story on KPIs

I recently had a discussion about KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), where I was asked why I needed to see the vision and the mission statements for the law firm.  The answer I provided was; the key performance indicators are based on the goals of the business, which are defined by the vision and the mission found in the strategic plan.  That got a blank stare, so I tried the more official-sounding explanation. A Key Performance Indicator is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively the firm is achieving key business objectives. That didn’t exactly go over any better, and I was asked, what is an indicator? Before I drown in this analysis, let’s use the KISS principle.  When I use the term KPI, I think of measurements of performance.  Let me also say I have seen where every single measure is called a KPI. That makes no sense to me as not all indicators or measurements are key – some must be more important than others.

Let’s start at the beginning.  The vision statement defines what success looks like. It should contain all the key elements you want to be successful.  You could start with a simple statement saying the firm is a successful law practice.   What does that mean?  So you change it a little to be, the firm is a profitable personal injury law firm that is known for great client service.  

Now you just defined two potential measurements; being profitable and having great client service.  OK, so far.  If you decide these are key to your business, you just defined two KPIs. Now you develop a mission statement to realize the vision.  The mission could be to provide personal injury legal services.  Not very exciting, so you work on it some.  The mission is to provide legal services for personal injury clients in North and South Carolina.  You quickly find out that a lot of law firms do that, so you try and differentiate your firm.  The mission becomes; we provide timely and compassionate personal injury legal services with the best settlements in the Carolinas.  You have just defined several more potential KPIs. All of this was done before we completed the strategic plan or decided on any processes.

You complete the strategic plan and define some tools, processes, and procedures to meet your goals.  Each of those will have a few KPIs. The point of this discussion is, you will develop a unique set of KPIs based on your strategic plan. Using KPIs is a good way to look at the success of a business.  There is also a balanced scorecard approach. The balanced scorecard asks that you translate the mission statement into specific measures that reflect success. The balanced scorecard looks at the firm from four perspectives – financial, client, internal, and growth.  Within the strategic plan, you would develop measurements relative to each of these perspectives — potentially more KPIs.

One last observation, we all have a different idea of what the measurement focus should be. You can probably guess that I look at the strategic plan as the starting point to define the business.  Someone else may be focused on marketing and another on job performance. I have even seen a focus on process effectiveness.  All of these ideas are correct as far as they go, which makes my recommendation to consider all of them.  I would say that too many measurements may result in analysis paralysis.  I would aim for no more than 5 to 10 Key performance indicators.  The rest of your list of measurements are metrics to be used for early warning of problems, performance evaluations, process effectiveness, or prediction of outcomes.

Did you find some neat ideas in this blog? What are the exciting ideas you came up with, and how are you implementing them? Let me know by contacting me at dwfavor@catalystgroupinc.com.

For more information on creating a strategic plan that works, contact cheryl@catalystgroupinc.com

{ 0 comments }

What is in a Title

I was recently asked what the difference between a manager, administrator, and coordinator is.  I have seen these roles change and get redefined over the twenty years we have been working with law firms.  The office manager is focused on resources like skills, money, and facilities.  A firm administrator would be focused on systems (processes, procedures, and tools). The office coordinator would be focused on a task like front desk, scheduling, or supplies. These are general definitions we have developed over the years, and often, these roles are merged. Recently we have noticed a reluctance to assign one person to each of these roles.  There is a fear that this would give too much control to one person.  Often this is a trust issue with the owner.  When this happens, we see the task that each role is assigned is farmed out with some being assigned outside of the firm.

The most common title we see in firms these days is the Firm Administrator.  Often, when we see that role, we see the task of oversight assigned to another staff member or an outside vendor. The way I look at it, it is like doing a reconcile on your checkbook; Assign that to someone other than the person doing the checkbook entries.

Did you find some neat ideas in this blog? What are the exciting ideas you came up with, and how are you implementing them? Let me know by contacting me at dwfavor@catalystgroupinc.com.

For more information on creating a strategic plan that works, contact cheryl@catalystgroupinc.com

{ 0 comments }