When you are planning to do strategic planning, it is important to consider setting and duration, level of detail and the role of the CEO. Properly evaluating the options for each will help you get the best results from your strategic planning session.
Setting and duration
There are a variety of approaches that could be used when strategic planning depending upon the agenda, budget and overall objectives. I would recommend two to three days devoted to strategic planning meetings. Also, consider holding the meetings at a location outside the company’s offices in order to minimize distractions. If the objective is to simply conduct effective strategic planning meetings these meetings could be held in town at a location that provides the necessary meeting facilities. If the objectives include team building, rewarding the management for past performance and more (and the budget permits), then holding the meetings at a location out of town that offers other amenities can be worthwhile.
The level of detail
I have attended meetings where the discussions were kept at such a high (i.e. 50,000 feet) level that I left the meetings wondering what we had actually accomplished. I felt we stated obvious high level objectives with little but failed to identify how to accomplish them. I have also attended meetings where far too much time was spent on detailed tactical planning at the expense of effective strategic thought.
The challenge is find the balance between both. I found the most effective meetings were the ones where the pre-meeting preparation had been properly completed by all participants. This enabled us to address the strategic planning and goal setting more quickly and thoroughly. It also gave us time to develop the tactical plans, decide who was responsible and identify target dates.
The role of the CEO
The CEO must take the leadership role and set the example to the rest of the team. The CEO must also assess the abilities of each person with respect to strategic planning and help determine the objectives for each person in the process. An outside facilitator may play an important role in the strategic planning process.
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By Terry Thompson, Surrey, BC, CYBF mentor, firstname.lastname@example.org