So, we’ve established that your aim will be to set up the optimal Target Operating Model, and that you’ll need to understand the business strategy first, then go do some discovery work among your user base to deepen that understanding as you find out their requirements, then set the parameters for your own team to align with the objectives of the business.
So far, so good. Now to the writing.
Before you start this, recognise what you need to do. The output of your strategic process should not be a one-hundred-page document which is going to sit in a drawer gathering dust. It needs to be a living thing, which will be reviewed and amended as you go along.
The initial output we recommend is some kind of presentation (PowerPoint / Google Slides remain king here…) which can be rolled out to all who need to see it, and which will be easy and appealing to refer back to as you go along. One important element of the rollout is getting people excited about this. It should be aspirational; it should feature stretch goals.
You’ll also need some kind of project plan or schedule detailing when everything is going to be done by and think about training for the rest of the business, where necessary. You may also put your mind to other artefacts, whether that be FAQ documents, infographics and possibly even some templates for tactical actions.
Make your strategy part of your work, not your free time – a rookie error. Too many people write strategy after hours or at weekends, classically on a Sunday, maybe in the afternoon after a couple of glasses of Merlot or whatever. Your strategy is fundamental, it’s a work thing, not an after-hours thing or ‘whenever I can fit it in between walking the dog and taking the kids out’ thing.
Your strategy should speak to your modus operandi, your style of business. It should be clear that this is what we are, this is who we are, this is what we do. It should create positive engagement with the concept of Legal, making it live for the business. If you create a good strategy, it’s much more likely that the CEO – who may well want to sign it off – will take you into their strategy process, which is where you’ll hit the strategic big time.
It’s tempting to think there might be a grid or template you can fill in, but this is the wrong way to approach strategy. One size does not fit all. Your Legal strategy should be as bespoke as the business you’re serving, and your strategic process will be vital learning for you, so treat it as an opportunity not a chore. Another important input to strategy is Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Most lawyers have already been operating to some form of KPIs, but more often the businesses we work with use Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) which as it implies, is subtly different, identifying often three Key Results which illustrate how the Objectives will be met.
It’s worth getting your head around how precisely your business measures itself, but don’t necessarily expect to simply map general OKRs onto Legal, as they likely won’t measure what you need to measure – Legal just doesn’t work like other teams and general OKRs won’t have been conceived with Legal in mind.
Rather, you’ll have to adapt what you’re given or come up with your own OKRs. This is a vital part of the process, so it’s worth getting as right as you can and reviewing and tweaking as you go along.
Tracking your own KPIs/OKRs will be vital if you’re going to justify adding resource. That may not necessarily be directly within Legal. For instance, if you find that Marketing is generating 80% of your requests, maybe Marketing needs their own dedicated resource, a satellite to your core Legal team.