Question: How do we get all the attorneys in the firm to buy-in and participate in creating both a firm plan and individual plans?

Answer: Generally, in my experience, successful planning is caused by an emphasis on the process from the top. The primary rainmakers of the firm, the management and managing partner all must be in concert: Planning is important and needs to be done by everyone in the firm.

Start with small projects, perhaps even individual coaching, to experience success with the process. Then, everyone will buy into the process.

A more forceful approach would be to determine compensation bonuses/rewards on the basis of plan development (a realistic and aggressive plan merits more compensation) and achievement of plan goals. Failure to achieve goals, however, should not be punished without consideration of the reasons for not achieving the goals: Personal illness, change of business conditions of clients, hard work but unrealistic goals, etc.

John Wooden, famed UCLA basketball coach says: “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” It’s better to know where one wants to go in his/her career. There, then, is a greater likelihood of achieving the goals.