In most situations, the facilitation of strategic planning meetings is best done by an experienced facilitator who can create an atmosphere of openness, engaging the entire team. A facilitator makes sure that everyone contributes and that the planning process stays on track.
When a planning meeting is led by an executive it is usually difficult to get breakthrough results. Old topics get rehashed and prevailing opinions do not get challenged. Tough questions are avoided and ‘group think’ is prevalent. You’re likely to end up with the same-old ‘strategy’ as the year before. Another document collecting dust on the shelf, and nothing really changes.
We bring a facilitation process, combined with a fresh and independent perspective, that is particularly well suited for firms that don’t have any time to waste. To keep the strategic planning sessions productive we focus on:
- Managing the planning process
- Making sure everyone is engaged
- Preventing anyone from dominating the discussion
- Avoiding ‘short-cuts’ to the process
- Keeping everyone focused
- Ensuring no issues get skipped
- Asking challenging questions
- Challenging the status quo
- Keeping the discussions ‘on topic’
- Testing assumptions
- Providing insight and perspective
- Moving the process forward
- Acting as a sounding board for ideas
- Assisting with the strategic plan development
Strategic Planning that Produces Results
With proper facilitation, Strategic Planning is not a waste of time and money, but a structured process for developing a sound strategic plan that sets a new long-term direction for the firm.
Detailed information is gathered about the state of the business and the marketplace. Serious topics are discussed in-depth. All of this leads to better insight and smart business decision making. The strategic decisions are then documented in a comprehensive action plan, ready to be implemented.
In addition to facilitating the meetings, in most situations we become an integral part of the strategic planning team, taking on tasks such as gathering market intelligence, conducting analysis, developing financial models, and evaluating options.
Implementation is Key
As important as it is to go through all the planning stages, the key to success is the committed implementation of the strategic plan. Without carrying out the agreed-upon strategic initiatives the company will not see the results of all the hard work that went into the planning effort. The most important aspect of strategic planning is the execution.