Many law firms, practice groups/offices and lawyers remind me of a quote from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road shall I take? She asked. His response was a question: Where do you want to go? I don’t know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn’t matter.

While most of our clients seem to have no trouble articulating where they want to go, many law firms and practice groups/offices are like Alice. I believe it is because they have not decided and tried to get a consensus among the lawyers on what they want to be and become. Self reflection in an organization can be a painful experience.

Like many large law firms, my old firm paid an outside consulting firm big money to advise the firm on what it should become. After receiving the advice, firm leaders conducted “town hall” meetings and were surprised to learn that the vast majority of partners didn’t want to implement any part of the consulting firm’s suggestions. Our partners could not agree on what they wanted the firm to become, but they could agree it was not what the consulting firm suggested,

What do the lawyers in your firm want to the firm to be? Is there a consensus? Do you have a plan to get there? If you have a plan, are you executing on the plan, or is it like the 2001 strategic plan my old firm “rolled out” at our partner’s retreat and rolled back up as soon as we got back to Dallas?