A lot of time and effort goes into formulating a strategy. This might involve partners’ conferences, staff consultations and animated debate – and ultimately, agreement upon strategic objectives, how they will be achieved, and perhaps a mission statement. The strategy is then published within and sometimes outside the firm, but what then? Too often the immediate demands of practice, the need to satisfy clients and achieve fee income targets, take over completely and it can be easy to slip into decision-making without regard to the agreed strategy. How can you maintain consistency with what you say and what you do? First, make sure that all partners publicly subscribe to the overall plan. All should sign the strategic document and publish the signed copy so that no one signs up lightly. I know of one firm that encourages anyone in the organisation to challenge any partner or anyone else for doing anything in conflict with published strategy. Second, keep reminding decision makers of the framework for their decisions. Head the agenda of each meeting of partners, departments or teams with key points from the strategy document, and require minutes of such meetings to say how decisions made reflect overall strategy. Ensure that accounting procedures are aligned to strategy, so that billable time is properly recorded and not written off unless in circumstances allowed by your strategy, and that no one fails to obtain payment on account of costs where strategic principles require it. Culture change can be hard enough to achieve with existing personnel, but there is no excuse for making it even more difficult by bringing in new people whose attributes are not aligned to that strategy. If, therefore, you require that everyone makes best use of IT, you look foolish if you hire someone who boasts that they don’t know how to switch on a PC, no matter how good a lawyer they are or what fees they earn. Make sure that your recruitment procedures lead to taking on people who fit in with what you are trying to do. Finally, remind everyone of the firm’s objectives. Put them on screensavers on their PCs, on performance review forms – why not even on the backs of payslips? Introduce these ideas and, who knows, you might look back at your next annual conference and congratulate yourselves on actually doing what you said.
STARKVILLE — With six minutes all that was standing in between Ole Miss and another loss in Starkville, Andy Kennedy looked at his players in the huddle and challenged them.Who wanted to make a play? Who wanted to win? One guy said, ‘I do.’ And then Stefan Moody did it, making three 3-pointers in a row as part of an eight 3-pointer, 29-point night that was one of the best in recent memory for a Rebel at Mississippi State.The fact only one player spoke up is a concern for another day, but on Thursday night Kennedy was more than willing to take a 71-65 win. It was the first for Ole Miss at Humphrey Coliseum since 2009, and the first time since 1998 Ole Miss swept the season series.“(Moody) was the only guy who showed a pulse so we ran it to him and he made one and you know me well enough that if you make one I’m going to see if you can make seven,” Kennedy said.Said Moody: “He was looking for somebody to step up and make some plays, and I told him I wanted the ball. He gave it to me.”Kennedy said he ran a little different of a play call each time, but the end result was the same — Moody would come around on a curl near the left wing, catch the ball and let it fly. And give the Bulldogs credit, because each time the space in between Moody and them shrunk. But each time the 5-foot-10 guard with a 46-inch vertical found enough room to get off the shot.“He’s a monster athlete. He can get separation on anybody,” Kennedy said. “What I think has gotten better with him is he’s starting to accept the role of our go-to guy. That’s difficult for a guy to do right out of the gate, especially a guy that has not played at this level.”The first half was as poor a 20 minutes of basketball as Ole Miss had played in a long time, and the Rebels were lucky to only be down 32-27.Things changed early in the second half — Moody hit a 3, defensive specialist Martavious Newby got another 3 to immediately follow and then made a shot at the basket. By the first media timeout, Ole Miss was on a 12-4 run and led 39-36.Still, Mississippi State kept coming right back at Ole Miss and refused to quit. It went that way for a while, with the favored Rebels stretching out the lead and threatening to pull away before the underdog Bulldogs would rise up and pull it close again.Much of that had to do with Craig Sword, who tried to go shot-for-shot with Moody and did well for himself with 19 points. Sword tied the game at 52-all with seven minutes remaining, and Gavin Ware gave the Bulldogs the lead with a pair of free throws.But then Moody caught fire, and it was too much for Mississippi State to overcome.It was a win Ole Miss had to have, and not just for the sake of the rivalry. The Bulldogs came in with an RPI of 180, and a loss would have been potentially very damaging to the Rebels’ NCAA tournament hopes. Kennedy was quick to say that Mississippi State is better than that number suggests, but he also understands the reality that asking the selection committee to make the same judgement is dangerous.“This is one of the games that as difficult as it is to come in here and win, it doesn’t give you the pop from a numbers standpoint,”” Kennedy said. “I think our team has passed the eye test. It has. Now our numbers have to make sense. That’s why this game is important, to keep our numbers moving forward.”Contact Hugh Kellenberger at [email protected] Follow @HKellenbergerCL on Twitter.