Why Have a Strategic Planning Meeting? (and how to convince your leadership it’s a good idea)
The more we facilitate strategic planning meetings, the more we recognize the challenges that you face as a leader who is wanting to create change and a develop a new future for your organization. You may understand the importance of strategic planning (or our custom Aligned Strategy Development), but does the rest of your leadership team?
If you’re talking to someone who has never done strategic planning before (or worse, someone who has done it, but it didn’t go well) it may seem like a make-work exercise with limited benefits.
“We already have so much to do, and you want us to take 2 days off? Have you seen how many emails I have?”
We have found that it’s really easy for people to be “DOERS”; They are often focused on being busy, moving quickly and perhaps not taking the time to look out into the bigger picture to ensure that they are doing the best things to move the organization forward. In other words, it’s possible to be too focused on the micro (the tasks and the small details), while ignoring the macro (the big picture/the direction of the organization). While it is important to move forward on tasks and projects, it is also essential for the entire team to be aligned on the organizational direction.
If your team doesn’t have a vision in the first place, how are they supposed to know what is the right thing to do?
Alice and Wonderland – Public Domain
Sometimes if you’ve been inside the business or organization long enough, you accept things as “how they are and how they have always been”.
As a progressive leader, you know that you have the power to transform anything at any time and that through a well developed process you can create anything that you want to see for your people or for your organization.
Are you wanting to get your team on board with have a strategic planning meeting?
We know you’re busy. We know you have an endless to do list, a full calendar, and many people to talk
to, making you wonder how you’re going to get it all done.
Creating a strategic plan and thinking strategically are not about doing more. They are about focusing how you spend your time so that you are more effective in reaching your goals and getting to where you want to go.
That said, no organization has an unlimited amount of time, money or people resources. Strategic
planning can help you make the most of the resources you have, allowing you to have more enjoyment in your work while you’re doing it.
Here are 8 benefits of having the meeting, and a download you can with your leadership team to get them on board.
You’ll create a clear vision for what success looks like in the future. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there?
You’ll identify priorities for the short and medium term. You can’t do everything at the same time – let’s
focus on what needs to be done now, and then do it well.
You’ll get alignment and buy-in around direction and strategy. Having these conversations will move your team from implicitly being on the same page to explicitly being on the same page; the clarity will energize the whole team.
4 Identify Challenges
You’ll create an opportunity to talk about key issues facing the business (competition, changing trends, etc.). You want to ride the waves, not get smashed by them. Being reactive throws off your plans, and takes your eye off your goals.
You’ll create a clear roadmap for the rest of the organization. Your people want to know where the organization is going and how they can contribute. An engaged staff is 20% more productive than one that is neutral (or, worse, dis-engaged). Your people want to win – this is how you can help them.
6 Open Communication
You’ll create space for people to share what’s going on with them and what they want to see as the future of the organization. It will open lines of communication and improve teamwork. Need we say more?
You’ll empower others (above and below you) to take on tasks that will move the organization forward. As a senior leader that means less firefighting and more focusing on what you do best: leading and executing. Strategic planning doesn’t need to take a lot of time either. Start with a one or two day meeting offsite to set the foundation, and review your plan quarterly. The focus and the results will speak for themselves.
8 Values and culture
You’ll create the culture, values, and behaviors that you want to foster within your organization. When
your values are clearly articulated, your team will understand what you expect from them on a day-to-day basis. Culture and values are the glue that keeps a strategic plan together.
Written by Anthony Taylor
Anthony Taylor is thought leader on strategy and leadership. He’s a published author on the subject of entrepreneurship and strategy, Anthony can be found doing keynotes in both French and English. You can connect with him on Twitter @anthonyctaylor and have him work with your team on your strategy and organizational development.