I hope that what I’ve posted up to now gives you a good sense for my background and the growth that my organization has experienced. I’d like to share the top 10 things I wish I’d known when I started this process. Over the course of the next dozen posts I’m going to reveal important points and principals I learned the hard way.
These learning opportunities have allowed West LegalEdcenter to make the changes necessary to support the large volume of accreditation required to continue to grow our business.
Lesson One: You Can’t Be Everything to Everybody – Know Your Mission!
This is the most important lesson I’ve learned along the way. You will often get special requests from your attendees, your speakers, your program coordinators, and your authors. How do you make everyone happy? Should you even try?
You can either let your audience define your priorities, or you can determine what those priorities should be yourself. Making the decision to take charge of your accreditation program – to run it instead of letting it run you – means two things:
1) You need to understand your organization’s mission, and your place in that mission.
2) Create a strategic plan for your accreditation department that helps meet this mission.
How do you determine what is your organization’s mission? A mission defines what you are doing, basically describing why you exist. It concentrates on the present. It defines the customer and the critical processes. It informs you of the desired level of performance. Most organizations today have a written mission statement that you can use as your guide.
For example, West LegalEdcenter’s mission is:
“Provide unrivaled professional development to enrich and empower the legal community.”
If your organization has a focused mission statement, then you know your fundamental purpose. You will need to create a strategic plan for your accreditation department that helps you meet your organization’s mission.
As the second part of lesson one, my next post will focus on creating this strategic plan.