Workshops are a great alternative for a comprehensive consulting project if you’re short on time or budget. Getting everyone on the same page for solving problems, making smart decisions, developing action plans, and training.
Usually facilitated by a consultant, workshops can be very effective for solving lingering business issues and developing solutions. Workshops are also great for training.
Customized Workshops for Problem-Solving and Training
To be effective, a workshop for a company audience needs to be custom-tailored to deal with the specific issues the firm is dealing with.
If a workshop is too broad in scope it becomes ineffective. Clearly defined themes are best. Also, there’s only so much time available.
A workshop program structured to address a specific problem should include all stakeholders, not just the decision-makers. Also, to make the session more effective, to prepare for the workshop, the facilitator must meet with the stakeholders to get a better understanding of what the problem is.
Each stakeholder, or department within an organization, may see the problem differently and, consequently, have a different solution in mind. Some stakeholders may not even acknowledge there is a problem in the first place. This is why preparation is so important to identify these gaps ahead of time, and not on the morning of the first day.
Workshops can also be very effective for training management teams and key employees on important business concepts, methods, and tools.
In a hands-on environment, a one- or two-day workshop can get everyone up-to-date on a variety of topics that are important to how the business is being operated and how key business decisions are made.
A workshop consultant with experience in facilitating workshops will be able to develop a program on a topic that is unique and of particular interest to the business, such as:
- Business strategy
- Marketing strategy
- Competitive analysis
- Industry analysis
- Product pricing
- Segmentation and targeting
- Differentiation and positioning
- Value proposition
- Digital marketing
- Sales & marketing processes
- Internet strategy
- Lead generation
Strategic planning workshops
Rigorous strategic planning takes time and requires a committed, longer-term approach. On the other hand, a well-designed workshop can be a great way to quickly address strategic issues, set priorities, and define action items.
A two- or three-day workshop can include a comprehensive overview of strategic competencies, the competitive position of the business, and the key strategic priorities the firm should be focusing on.
These workshops involve a thorough review of the marketing strategy, sales & marketing processes, and formulation of the smart marketing strategy needed to beat the competition.
A hands-on program guides management through the formulation of an actionable marketing plan.
Meeting facilitation – A consultant makes sure that everyone contributes to the discussion. And, because workshops typically only last a day or two, it’s important to manage the agenda to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
Managers can fully participate – No longer distracted by having to run the workshop, executives can now fully participate in the discussions and contribute to problem-solving. The workshop facilitator keeps the meetings on track and on schedule.
Expertise – The workshop facilitator brings experience and expertise to the meeting to help management address and solve their business issues. The discussions can be more in-depth and are likely to produce results.
Fresh eyes, independent perspective – A consultant brings fresh eyes and an independent perspective. This helps to create clarity and challenges the status quo, improving the effectiveness of the workshop and the quality of the end result.
Usually, the workshop facilitator has experience across a range of market sectors. This allows them to share ideas and best practices.
Structured decision-making process – A problem-solving workshop should not end in limbo. A key objective is to address the issues, get everyone’s input, and then make smart decisions about how to move forward.
The workshop facilitator needs to make sure that decisions are made. Leaving things at an impasse is not a good way to wrap up the event.
Creating an action plan – Decisions need to be followed by action. Creating an action plan is a key deliverable of the workshop.
The action plan defines the specifics of each action item such as the objective, the person responsible, deliverables, timeline, as well as the budget and resources needed.