Module 4 Briefing Sheet

Creating and Inspiring Organizational Vision;
Leading and Managing Change

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What is your legal department’s vision of success? To what are your legal departmental outcomes aligned? How does your legal department contribute to working less reactively and more responsively?  In this module, participants will recognize that an effective in-house legal department has a long-term vision and a strategy; the department members rely upon responsiveness and resilience rather than simply reacting to the tyranny of the urgent. Additionally, the best legal leaders aren’t just responsive, they are proactive in igniting change by identifying issues and opportunities and mitigate risks before they happen. Their ability to do this is often contingent upon having a grounded sense of “what is happening now” “where must we going?” and “why?”.

A great leader, like a great company, creates an inspiring vision that often links to one’s deep and personal values and, for that reason, attracts employees, clients, and other stakeholders. You might consider for a moment, beyond a paycheck, why did you join your company? And equally important, why do you stay?

Researcher/author Peter Senge suggests that any time you can articulate a “current reality” AND a “desired new reality” you have a space of creative tension. Where creative tension exists, therein lies an opportunity to share one’s vision of success, and the impetus for inevitable change. In-house legal departments are often tasked with bringing clarity to ambiguity (current reality) and minimizing risk (desired new reality). Their roadmap for change may involve creating continuous improvement, operational efficiency, culture transformation and organizational and individual development. In this module, participants will recognize that in-house counsel enables change, whether leading, managing or supporting it. They demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly the business rationale for change and to gain the support of business partners and other stakeholders. They exemplify essential skills in managing both process and stakeholder needs by aligning rules, roles, processes, and decisions with the direction of the change.

The success of most change initiatives is likely when leaders:

  • Understand the organization’s culture attitude toward change.
  • Are committed, equipped and empowered to act on change initiatives.
  • Invite stakeholders in the change process and communicate outcomes.
  • Engage others in communicating a clear and realistic vision for change.

In the pre-work readings and video below, you will find valuable information regarding:

  • The difference between Mission, Vision, Values and Strategy (“Your Company’s Purpose Is Not Its Vision Mission or Values”)
  • The distinction between outcomes and outputs as you consider your vision (“It’s Not Just Semantics: Managing Outcomes vs. Outputs”)
  • The importance and process of communicating vision (“Communicating a Corporate Vision to Your Team)
  • How our own personal reactions to change can impact our ability to achieve results (“The Real Reason People Won’t Change”)



Organizational Vision

  • Read the Kenny and Decker/Decker articles.
  • What is your Legal Department’s spoken or inferred purpose/mission/vision? How is this reflected in the Department Strategy and ways of working? How does this inspire or motivate you?
  • Recall your personal brand and personal vision work from the Intro Module and your work with Dana Galin. Refer to any specific notes or outcomes you have for yourself. How is your personal vision aligned with mission/vision of your Legal Department?
  • View the Simon Sinek video and reflect on the following: How resilient, inclusive, and service oriented is your department’s vision?
  • View Lisa Su’s video interview and reflect on these questions:
    • How does your legal department think about making bets for the future?
    • How does your legal department engage other stakeholders in conversations about future planning?
    • How does Lisa Su explicitly or implicitly share a vision that is resilient? Inclusive? Service-oriented?
  • Interview two to three stakeholders who are impacted by your legal department. Have a short conversation with them using the following questions:
    • What business outcomes would you like to see our legal department help create?
    • How does our legal department contribute to your team’s / organization’s success currently, and how might we contribute in new and different ways?
    • How can our legal team be invited to the table earlier in your planning processes and as a result what might change?


  • Read the Mills-Scofield and Lahey/Keagan articles.
  • Identify a meaningful change that you are either in the process of making or would like to make to help your Legal Department be more effective, or raise its profile in the broader organization, or implement a new policy/procedure, or something else. What is the intention of the change? Who will the change benefit? How will you know that it was successful?
  • What has been your experience leading a change initiative and what did you learn from that experience (highlights and lowlights)?
  • How would you describe your Legal Department’s culture regarding change?
  • What implications does your mindset have on your leadership effectiveness and how you navigate change?
  • How does you’re your legal department acknowledge/recognize outcomes and outputs?

COHORT MEETING (Meet to discuss the following BEFORE Classroom Session)

  • Check in and share any additional learning from the previous session.
  • If you have them available, share the Vision Statements for your Legal Department and Organization/Business.
  • Share your responses to any of the personal reflections above.


Part 1)    Creating Department Vision and Inspiring Stakeholders

  • Understand the importance of having a Legal Department vision, and the role you might play in its development
  • Apply leadership thinking skills and learn frameworks to help you create an Organizational/Department vision that inspires desired outcomes by being Resilient, Inclusive, and Service-oriented
  • Develop messaging and practice communicating that vision to excite and inspire others to engage and live into the path forward

Part 2)    Leading and Managing Change

  • Learn a model for planning and leading change
  • Understand the dynamics and impact of “creative tension,” and share best practices to inspire stakeholders as you lead in that tension
  • Learn how people personally navigate change and your role in guiding that navigation

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