Does your team dread planning? Most leaders do, too. Frankly, motivating folks to care about the preparation, execution and follow through can be one of your biggest challenges as a CEO. Here are seven ways to make it fun, make it better, and wake your team up to the rewards of doing it well:
- Set Dates: Plan well ahead and set essential dates such as your event or annual planning session. For a medium to large scale company setting aside two to three days is a Best Practice.
- Read: Because what you want people to do is become informed. Because being informed leads to buy-in, which is your goal – to bring folks to the table with context and knowledge. Suggest a couple of books to your team to read before the event. Some examples are Scaling Up by Verne Harnish and Built to Last by Jim Collins. There are numerous articles on Strategy, Execution and Building a Vision. Two excellent articles are Jim Collins’ Harvard Business Review (HBR) article titled “Building a Company Vision” and Michael Porters’ HBR article titled “What is Strategy.”
- Strategic Thinking: In the weeks leading up to your event carry out an S, W, T (Strengths, Weaknesses & Trends) analysis to get the strategy juices flowing. Also, discuss the 4P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotions which can often lead to great Strategy ideas.
- Employees: Since not employees will be at the event it is essential to get their feedback. Carry out a simple survey several weeks before the event which collects what you should Start, Stop or Keep doing. This should be easy to administer.
- Clients: More often than not client feedback is filtered to the leadership team. Raw client feedback is vital to pick up patterns or trends which can influence your Strategy. Use similar questions to your employee survey.
- Top Three Issues: To save time at your Strategy Session it is essential to identify the top three company issues which must be addressed/explored/answered. To have a successful meeting, these need an answer, and these three issues can be identified through the leadership team answering questions or broader exercise using a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) workshop with the more general management team.
- Facilitator: It is Best Practice to bring in a professional facilitator who will allow everyone on the leadership team to actively participate. The facilitator can help if work is needed on the Core Values, Purpose, uncovering constraints and setting key performance indicators (KPIs). There should also be someone who is taking notes and pictures of all the ideas and discussions points which come up.
In following these essential preparations for a Strategy Session will lead you to a successful event. The One Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) should be completed with clear priorities and goals with owners so that this is not ambiguity who is responsible.
To download a copy of the OPSP template, click HERE.
In my follow up articles, I will go into more details about the agenda and completing the OPSP.
Robert Clinkenbeard – Global Business Coach and owner of The Radix Group – is a regular contributor to multiple leadership sites, magazines and is part of the senior leadership team with the Entrepreneur’s Organization. He can be reached at 480-251-2366 or [email protected]