Strategic Planning Retreat Facilitation
When you invest the time, energy, and money in strategic planning retreat facilitation, you want to be sure that your investment pays off. The stakes are high for strategy retreats; people need clear, compelling, and meaningful results that collectively move the needle.
Strategic Planning Retreats Often Underdeliver
According to Harvard Business Review, companies, on average, only deliver sixty-three percent of the financial performance that they promised. Most executives ascribed the failure to meet strategic expectations on poor strategic planning and execution.
Even though well-run strategy retreats can help senior teams to get aligned and create high performance, too many executives have been part of strategy sessions that were not based in reality, did not create strategic clarity, pushed the company in the wrong direction, did not truly align the leadership team on the most critical issues, or did not have the desired business impact.
Not Just Another Meeting
Recognize at the outset that your strategy retreat is not just another executive leadership team meeting. Strategy retreats are broad in scope and implication. Leaders need to not only peer into the future and take a big picture view, but they also need to be grounded in the reality of the current market conditions, corporate culture, and talent capabilities of their people.
Tips to Get Strategy Retreat Facilitation Right
Strategy retreat facilitation success is largely dependent upon preparation, expectation setting, and planning.
At a minimum, make sure that the CEO or team leader fully understands and approves of the design, their role, and most importantly — the desired outcomes. It surprises us how often agendas are put together to fill time slots versus achieve strategic objectives.
Also make sure to agree upon the strategic timeframe — One year? Three years? Five to ten years? Remember, not everything can be tackled in a one- or two-day strategy retreat. Strategies are about difficult choices. Be very clear about what is and is not in scope to keep people focused on what matters most.
Active employee involvement in strategic planning can and should occur before, during, and after the meeting.
Once you have gathered enough feedback, design and utilize prework to ensure that meeting participants have a common baseline for the current situation, complications, implications, and objectives. It will help you to hit the ground running with a common context.
Make sure that you identify and work with those who have interest in and influence over the success of your strategic plan before you walk in the room.
Nemawashi plus prework will also provide you the opportunity to sort out any issues prior to the session so that valuable time together will not be wasted.
This means creating enough psychological team safety while avoiding harmful workplace politics, not allowing individuals to dominate, filtering out irrelevant and burdensome data, and focusing on pertinent issues. As much as it is important to have healthy debate, the facilitator must work to keep on track, identify barriers to success, and define implementable action plans.
The Bottom Line
Most teams schedule annual strategy retreats. Are yours getting the results that you desire? You will know you are headed in the right direction when your key stakeholders believe that your strategic plan is believable, winnable, and implementable within your unique marketplace and workplace culture.
To learn more about strategic planning retreat facilitation that works, download Should You Facilitate Your Own Strategy Retreat? What to Consider.
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