Preparation by everyone involved
I cannot say enough about being properly prepared for the actual strategic planning meetings. The items that I found were essential to be thoroughly researched prior to the meetings are:
1. The most recent vision for the company, each manager’s vision for their teams and whether they feel it is still relevant and if not, what should be changed.
2. The most recent employee and client surveys. I would recommend that employee surveys be done each year and client surveys completed at least in the year that strategic planning is to take place.
3. Description of the markets that the company currently participates in or is considering participating in and the size of each relevant market.
4. The key competitors in each market and their strengths and weaknesses.
5. How the company compares to the competition and the key differentiators from the competitors.
6. The market share in each market that the company could realistically seek to capture (and related profitability).
7. An assessment of the company’s:
c. Opportunities (i.e. existing markets and new markets)
8. An estimate of the resources needed to pursue increased market share.
9. An assessment of the risks today and pertaining to any new opportunities (e.g. new markets).
10. Key obstacles currently being faced (or which could be faced) with new opportunities.
As you can see, the list is extensive and could include additional items depending upon your circumstances. This requires a lot of work and involvement from the relevant people prior to the meetings and most importantly leadership and commitment from the CEO. If all or most of the above items are left to be discussed for the first time at the planning meetings then the meetings will be far less productive.
A clear agenda for the meetings that all participants have had input into
One of the most fundamental rules for effective meetings is the production of a clear agenda ahead of time. Completing the items above will significantly facilitate the creation of a relevant agenda that will encourage participant engagement.
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By Terry Thompson, Surrey, BC, CYBF mentor, email@example.com