Strategy workshops have the potential to unlock the potential of your business. They also have the power to hold it back, which can not be allowed to happen. This means you require careful preparation, knowledge and mastery of the strategic planning process and concepts you are going to use, and the right people need to be involved at the right time.
It’s also worth emphasising that these strategy workshops are more than just meetings; they’re transformative experiences that invigorate your company with purpose and direction. They will give you clarity on what you are trying to win, a clear strategy for winning, and a roadmap that takes you from where you are today to that better place.
The need and desire for change is usually the purpose of strategic planning workshops. When your workshops are communicated, structured and managed well, they are the first steps towards a brighter, better future for leadership teams, employees and investors.
An important step in the planning journey is to accept that the very system, the very plan, and perhaps even the very culture that got you where you are today, probably won’t take you where you want to go.
Positive change usually demands evolution, it demands innovation, it demands a break from the past and a leap into the future. It requires you to re-evaluate, to re-imagine, and to re-energize.
Your strategic planning workshops need to make it easy to lean on and learn from those within your team, as well as the experts you get to help you.
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The people helping you are not just your colleagues, or consultants, they’re your allies. Together you will create a plan that starts by pinpointing and reaching consensus on your vision and winning aspiration.
The together you need to unpick how you propose to win win via a clear and easy to follow strategy. You are then in a position to unlock the power of the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) framework. Your OKRs will give you a clear and achievable roadmap to success. Focusing resources, improving teamwork and distributing accountability.
Finally you focus on execution week-on-week. Moving yourself towards achieving your vision.
Your workshops are where you design a new business operating system, a new strategic plan, and a culture that can propel you forwards.
Here are some of the common issues that often arise during strategic planning workshops and advice on how to prepare, communicate, and ensure the importance of the process is well-understood:
Make sure the objective of the workshop is clear to everyone. Why are we here? What is the purpose of this exercise? What do we hope to achieve at the end of the workshop? These are questions that need to be answered and communicated to the attendees. You might say something like:
We’re committing to re-visiting where we are going to play and how we are going to win – this will form our strategy.
To do this we will start by asking the right questions, actively listening to the each other and our teams, and absorbing everyone’s perspective.
The business concepts we channel our conversations through include: setting a Winning Aspiration, Trends, Customer Pain Points, Value Propositions, Opportunities, Issues, and Capabilities. Don’t worry, we’ve got lots of examples and tutorials to help us.
To gather the information to come up with a winning strategy I need to you to bring your experience, energy, positive attitude and where you have them data and insights to help guide us.
Once we’ve an agreed strategy we’re going to be setting OKRs (Objective and Key Results) that will help us align our effort and track progress. We’re going to also receive help on how to use this goal setting framework really well.
As part of the process it is likely we will be evolving our ways of working to help us improve performance.
You will be required to make these days available to attend workshops at [location]. We’d also like you to ring-fence two half-days with your teams to discuss topics and do exercises that come up. Their input will be important.
If we get to the end of the process with a strategy we believe in, goals that roadmap our execution, focused and engaged teams, and we’re solving problems, learning and adapting faster than we have in the past, we’ve succeeded.
Ensure that attendees have all the necessary materials and information needed to participate effectively. This could include pre-reading materials, data, or a detailed agenda.
In any group setting, there’s a risk that a few voices will dominate the conversation. It’s important to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas.
If certain voices are dominant, or if some participants are proving more destructive than constructive, it can significantly inhibit the effectiveness of a strategic planning workshop. Here’s some advice to manage such situations:
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