Creating and Inspiring Organizational Vision; Leading and Managing Change

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, opportunities and 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 operational efficiency, culture transformation, and organizational and individual development. In this module, participants will recognize that in-house counsel enable change, whether leading, managing or supporting it. They are able 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.

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  • 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?
  • Change
    • Watch the Harrell and Sudmann TEDx videos.
    • 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?
    • How has your emotional intelligence impacted your effectiveness to lead and navigate change? What did you learn from that experience?
    • How have you seen others react to and engage your Legal Department’s change?
    • What methods or approaches has your Legal Department implemented to drive change? What has worked and what has hindered change?

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 complexity of change and share approaches and methods to support success.
  • Learn how people personally navigate change and your role in guiding that navigation.

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