Here are some tips to remember when undertaking strategic planning at your company.

A common understanding

Managers often assume that everyone who participated in a strategic planning meeting or presentation has the same understanding as the manager. This is almost never true without follow-up. I recommend the following:

  1. Leave time at the end of the planning meetings to have each participant provide their own summary of the conclusions. Gaps in understanding should be addressed at that time.
  2. Shortly after the meetings, the CEO should include a review of key items in his/her next one-on-one meeting with each manager. The CEO should not only assess the person’s level of understanding but also their commitment and belief in the plan. Any issues should be addressed immediately.

A strategic planning facilitator

The role a strategic planning facilitator should play depends on the CEO, the managers and the budget for the company. Ideally, unless the CEO and management team feel that a facilitator is needed to bring an outside objective third party to play devil’s advocate and/or to mediate, the vast majority of the process should be conducted by the CEO and the management team.  Accordingly, it is the CEO’s responsibility (with input from the management team) to determine the role of a facilitator.

Once the role of the facilitator and related budget have been determined:

  1. Write-up the desired role for the facilitator
  2. Complete a search for the appropriate person (get referrals from key advisors)
  3. Obtain a CV from the candidates
  4. Complete interviews and reference checks.

Undertake the due diligence necessary to satisfy yourself that the candidate has the experience, track record and personality to effectively carry out the role that you have defined for the facilitator.

Should you have any questions or feedback regarding the content of this article, please email me at

By Terry Thompson, Surrey, BC, CYBF mentor

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