We shared six great best practices in our last post about Strategic Planning and wanted to extend your value by giving you another six. Here are some great ideas to help you and your leadership team to get offsite and spend 1-3 days wisely building a great approach for your next 15-16 months.
Start With A Roundtable: A great way to get everyone’s creative juices flowing is to have each attendee speak to and present the 3 Strongest Accomplishments they brought to the table this year in their area of responsibility. After they’ve outlined their greatest accomplishments, have them pivot to the three things that didn’t get done that would have had the largest positive impact on results. They are talking only about THEIR area of responsibility, not any other areas of the company. Keep these presentations to fifteen minutes per person, and keep on track. By forcing everyone to present quickly, you force them to prepare and to be clear and concise.
Sprinkle In A Creative Company-Wide Review: Ask your assembled leadership team to think about every other area of the company, anything BUT their area. Have them write down two lists of three things on a sheet of paper, first, the three greatest accomplishments this year company-wide (not including their area) and the three biggest unmet challenges in the company. Have everyone pass their papers to the person to their right or left and take turns reading the lists. Capture the items on a whiteboard or large post-it note.
Add Another Company-Wide Review: Ask your team to write down on a sheet of paper, sticking to just two things per area, the following: What’s working in the company today? What’s NOT working? What’s missing? What’s confused in the company today?
Identify Opportunities, Trends & Themes: Have everyone assembled look at all of the ideas that have been conjured during the discussion and ask them to identify areas that would improve the organization’s ability to generate success, recurring themes, trends in your industry that might affect your firm. Then suggest proactive measures that might be taken to leverage trends or to maximize your ability to affect the themes positively.
Put People First: Talk about your people in the company at length. What has the experience been like this year for the team? Are they having fun? Are they stressed? Go through each area quickly and place team members loosely into three categories: High Performers, High Potential, Need Development. Encourage your managers to use the remainder of the year to leverage the time remaining to ensure that your High Performers and High Potential associates feel the love and support, and then ensure that the associates who need development are getting coached and trained in ways that can quickly help them to deliver better results.
Winnow The Objectives and Cascade: During the time you have together, boil the list of objectives that you are considering as next year’s Priority Objectives down to a manageable number, like 3-5. Too many objectives will frustrate and confuse your leadership team, and the associates who roll up to them in their teams and departments. Executing brilliantly against 3-5 objectives will have a much more positive and significant impact on your team than making a moderate impact on 23 objectives, trust me. Demand that your leadership team cascade the 3-5 Keys To The Company’s Success to their teams within 48 hours, and then follow that up with a company-wide message that highlights the 3-5 priorities, and the “whys” that make them imperative to your success in 2017.
Having spent a day or two, or perhaps three on developing a simple, yet executable strategic plan, you are poised for success. Now pivot towards executing against it, and get the tactical next steps written down, and figure out who is the best person to own each tactical step and when it needs to be accomplished. You are now well on your way to being more competent and certainly more confident in planning strategically. The beauty of strategic planning is in being relevant and in being sure that you execute. A brilliant strategy that is never executed has no value. On the other hand, a mediocre strategic plan that is executed flawlessly will almost always move the organization forward. Focus on execution and get going in September or October, don’t wait until November or December to start planning for next year.
Michael works with many small and medium-sized companies around the United States to help them to build a phenomenal culture of consistent success. Michael enjoys leading companies through one day, two day, and three day Strategic Planning Workshops, designed to ensure that next year will be your BEST YEAR EVER for your organization. If you’d like more information to help you go it alone in planning your first-ever Strategic Planning Retreat, send Michael an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, if you’d like Michael to travel to your town to meet with your Executive Leadership Team and help you to develop a brilliant and executable Strategic Plan, send Michael an email. Either way, Michael will be delighted to send you his 25 Best Practices on Strategic Planning for FREE!