As the new year comes upon us, one of the greatest gifts you can give your law firm is to establish some clear goals for 2019. A well-defined set of goals, according to Inc., gives you benchmarks to measure your success, helps you learn which actions help or hurt those goals, and gives your team a clear sense of direction. That said, goal-setting isn’t an end unto itself, nor will it ensure your success. I firmly believe there is a right way and a wrong way to set goals for your firm. Obviously, I can’t tell you what your goals should be—but the following set of dos and don’ts should provide guidance in helping you establish benchmarks that your law firm can actually reach.
DON’T Be Vague
Non-specific goals almost never get reached. If you set a goal that your law firm is going to generate $10 million in revenue next year, but you don’t offer any specifics as to how you’re going to generate that income, you’re setting yourself up to fail. A goal vaguely expressed isn’t really a goal—it’s a dream. And dreams are great, but dreams without a plan of action will only stay in the void.
DON’T Make a “Resolution”
I might diverge from public opinion on this point, but I think New Year’s Resolutions are generally a waste of time—as demonstrated by the fact that 80 percent of us have given up on them by February. The reason is simple: Resolutions have no substance. A resolution isn’t a goal; it’s a wish, or a statement of intention with nothing more than willpower to carry it along. You need more than force of will to achieve a goal—you need a plan. I much prefer setting New Year’s goals for my business rather than resolutions.
DO Set Goals that Are Ambitious yet Achievable
Many people set goals that are impossible to reach, generally on the pretext that they’ll still get more accomplished with a large goal than a small one, even if they don’t get everything they were shooting for. “Aim for the stars and you’ll reach the moon,” as the saying goes. It sounds noble enough, but I think this approach breeds discouragement because you don’t really get the psychological benefit of a “win” when you set goals so high you’ll never reach them. As a more practical approach, I recommend setting goals that stretch you enough to force growth, but which you can definitely achieve with discipline.
DO Set Milestones
In addition to establishing a goal, be sure to map out a path to get there over the coming year. If your goal is to double your clientele this year, how many new clients should you reach by March? By June? What new strategies will you use to bring them aboard, and by what point will you know whether the strategy works? Setting these shorter mile markers along the way helps you stay focused throughout the year.
Again, goals alone won’t bring success; only diligence and hard work will. But setting clear goals for your law firm in 2019 will help you apply the hard work in the right directions in order to maximize your success. If you need assistance in setting or reaching these goals, we’re here to help. Give us a call at (888) 207-2869.