Facilitation of strategic planning sessions is best done by an experienced facilitator who creates an atmosphere of openness and engages the entire team. A facilitator makes sure that everyone is engaged and that the process stays on track.
When a planning meeting is facilitated by an executive it is usually difficult to get real break-through 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 changed.
Our approach to facilitation is particularly well suited for small business. We keep the planning sessions productive by:
- 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 discussion ‘on topic’
- Testing assumptions
- Providing new insights and perspectives
- Moving the process forward
- Acting as a sounding board for ideas
- Assisting with the action plan development
Strategic Planning that Produces Results
Properly conducted, Strategic Planning is not a waste of time and money, but a comprehensive process for management to set a new direction for the firm. Serious topics are discussed in-depth, leading to better decision making. These decisions are then captured in an action plan, ready to be implemented.
In addition to facilitating the meetings, we usually become an integral part of the planning team for our B2B clients, taking on tasks such as gathering market intelligence, conducting analysis, developing financial models, and evaluating new opportunities.