It's January, and that means that articles, discussions and advice abound about setting goals for the new year. Have you set your goals?
I asked a number of attorneys recently about their professional goals for 2010. Almost all of them responded that they'd like to increase revenues, expand their client base, or grow their business in 2010. Are those really goals? After all, doesn't everyone want to make more money this year than they did last year (especially with the dismal economy in 2009?)
If you're going to bother setting goals at all, those goals should mean something - they should be tied to the core principles of your practice and the services you provide to your clients. They should be specific enough to gauge whether you're making progess toward those goals throughout the year, and to allow you to identify what else needs to be done to meet the goal.
Make sure your goals are realistic. You can have a wish list of things that you'd like to accomplish, but that isn't the same thing as having goals. Your goals need to be achievable within the time frame you've designated. Taking on too many goals at once or goals that are unrealistic will overwhelm you. If you reach your goals early, you can always add more.
Prioritize and commit. You can choose the goals that will have the most impact on your firm or your clients, the ones that are easiest or fastest, or the ones you've put off the longest - but whatever you choose, make sure you are committed to it.
Merely setting the goal means nothing unless you've got a plan to achieve it. What will you do differently this year to help generate more revenue? Your plan should include interim objectives or benchmarks and outline the strategies and methods you intend to undertake in order to achieve your goal. Will you generate additional revenue by mining existing clients for additional work, increasing your fees, taking on higher level clients, expanding your practice, or something else?
Last, but not least, you need to create action steps and accountability to move you forward. At each stage, identify the individual tasks that need to be accomplished.Who will do the work? Who will hold them accountable and how? What is the deadline?
Take a look at the goals you've set for your practice in 2010, refine them and make a plan to achieve something great in 2010!