Of all the meetings top executives go to in a year, none is more important than the strategy off-site, where the most essential conversations for the future of the business occur. Yet it is the rare management team that can say its strategy off-site truly changed the way the business is run. At best, participants do some vague direction setting and work on team-building skills; at worst, they write off the retreat as a waste of time and resources. It needn’t be like that.
Strategies are best developed by those tasked to execute them.
Many companies have the skills and expertise required to develop their own strategies, but could use assistance in designing and facilitating the overall process. With an effective approach that engages the right people, engenders the right conversations, and leverages the right data, senior executives can make strategic decisions together as a team and feel prepared to execute them.
Strategic planning efforts should be highly collaborative and alignment-focused. Over the course of strategic planning conversations, such as senior executive strategy offsites, budgeting/resource allocation meetings, and large leadership workshops and conferences, teams answer the following questions:
- What does success for the business look like in 3-5 years, and how will it be measured?
- How will the industry be different 3-5 years from now? What trends are driving the change?
- What actions are competitors taking today and likely to take in the future?
- What opportunities can be pursued to capitalize on changes in the market and/or improve the core business?
- What new capabilities and assets will be needed to realize those opportunities?
Each session leverages proprietary tools and frameworks that challenges the team and keeps them focused and honest. By the end of the process, executives clearly articulate their strategy in a way that can be easily communicated to the broader organization.
Once the strategy is announced, senior leaders charter the strategic initiatives needed to achieve it. Key cross-functional working sessions are facilitated to help leaders establish accountabilities, allocate resources, prioritize milestones and deliverables, and prepare for execution.
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As the pandemic eases and we resume gathering in person, hybrid meetings will become a permanent part of how organizations function. These meetings bring added complexity at the same time that our collective Covid-driven year of meeting virtually raised expectations for remote participation. We share eight best practices to help make your hybrid meetings more effective.