Fresh Insights

When we get our people together for strategic or team planning days – we are conscious of making the time and effort count.  We come with great expectations when our people gather, and rightly so.

I can recall sitting in far too many ‘strategic planning days’ which turned into talk fests of problems; lots of opposing ideas and often the loudest voices winning.  It’s like a Pro Hart’s art with his food on carpet situation.  Seemingly creative but a hell of a mess to clean up or make sense of.

It’s a shame, but too many strategic planning day’s lack clear outcomes and true collaboration.

Why?

  1. We don’t select the right problem to solve or the right purpose. It can be that the workplace or strategic problem is too big or complex to understand, or we just start in the wrong place. According to a Harvard Business Review a ‘strategic off-site's success is largely determined by what happens before it convenes’.   The quality of the conversations are then focused on the right issues, in the right order.
  1. The people in the room are not contributing to owning or solving the issues. Just because the people are in the room doesn’t mean we are engaging them in the right way.  Harrison Owen, the Originator of ‘Open Space Technology’, a highly successful problem solving methodology, tells us that we should invite people to attend these days so the ones that want to be there are.  It changes the atmosphere.  Now there’s a concept. 
  2. We don’t have the right person facilitating. It could be that the ‘expert’ we hire to help solve our problems can be hit ‘n’ miss.  Or, our internal person is not experienced at designing or leading these planning days.  There is no doubt that the leader of the day sets the tone for success. 
  1. We run it same old way. Aside from the golf or drinking activities, we assume we can run it like we do every day meetings. Which often look like information downloads, sit and listen and then respond. Or grab a whole lot of sticky notes and markers in the hope they will get filled.  The design of these days need to be different if we want better outcomes.

Most leaders, when they are being honest, tell me that they are not sure how to pull the ideas and the people together - to get tangible outcomes.  That’s ok.  Running successful planning days is not their expertise. 

We waste so much time and money pulling people together to solve issues and the resolutions are, way too often, average and impractical, at best. 

It doesn’t have to be that way.  We should not be settling.  It’s too important.  Our program ‘Decisionate’ knows all about great planning days.  It’s about;

Your people, solving key issues, as one.

‘Decisionate’ is about ensuring;

  1. A clear roadmap. Your strategy and problem solving days are inspiring, and gives people clarity about the future.
  2. People work as one. Your people coproduce ideas which result in working well - as one. Not just during the day but

Brilliant planning days identify nine key elements to make the time and money worth it;

  1. The appropriate people are involved, at all stages.
  1. The right process is decided, and then trust it.
  1. The core problem is identified, not just the loud ones. 

We also know that great planning days happen before and after for the best outcomes.

 

If want to make the time and thinking count when your people gather next, let’s talk.

 

The smart, savvy and fast growing businesses are focused on setting up their people to get on with being clever; managing through the sheer pace of change; staying ahead of the market with new ideas; and attracting and keeping the brightest sparks.  So the question then becomes – how to navigate all of this as smoothly and productively as possible… and make great money?

When thinking about customers, whether businesses or consumers, we are all trying to build outstanding strategies, systems, processes and operations to connect and impress (B2B) but in the process we are missing what makes these outstanding… having remarkable conversations with the people behind those strategies, systems, processes and operations.  We’re not talking about “how was your weekend?” or taking an order in person.  We’re talking about real, honest, difficult, challenging conversations… those that make things happen and improve trust and respect in the process. The human to human (H2H) stuff.

We’ve not focusing enough on the very thing that makes the biggest difference; collaboration…. through conversations… with people! Focusing on strategy alone is like a scientist working on a vaccine without understanding what the market really needs and wants. It’s just inefficient and ineffective and does not build relationships.

When we move from isolation (creating B2B ideas and strategies only in our own teams) to collaboration (H2H) we improve profits and dramatically improve service and delivery.  Perhaps we can learn from BCG’s Yves Morieux. Yves researches how corporations can adapt within modern and complex business landscapes. “When people cooperate you need less resources”.  Imagine if all car manufacturers, when designing their ‘new and improved’ car, collaborated authentically with the service team to ensure the maintenance issues with the vehicle were minimised so the car became even more responsive?  Costs would reduce as repairs decrease, the marketing ‘sell’ is more powerful and we now have better relationships with people across the business to get more things done in the future.  H2H at it’s best right there.  When people collaborate effectively and respectfully it creates a higher level of productivity and smarter decisions for the business.

IT strategy meetings nowadays are about the cloud, security and the ‘digital disruption’ we all face. A recent Gartner survey tells us that “51 percent of CIO’s are concerned the digital torrent is coming faster than they can cope and 42 percent don’t feel they have the talent to face this future”.   So does this mean it’s no longer about the H2H connection?

According to CIO Magazine the secret weapon of great CIOs are that “sometimes you just need to pick-up the phone or walk over and have a face to face talk.”  This also extends to our customers.   Many tough customer conversations are; saying no to impossible requirements; letting a client know you will not be able to meet deadlines; unanticipated money and time requirements; clients not understanding what they are asking for; etc.

Mike Rutherford, a famous musician from the UK put it so well; “Being in a band is always a compromise. Provided the band is good, what you lose in compromise you gain by collaboration”.   So if we know that collaboration, through great conversations, with each other and our customers are our competitive edge, then let’s get some more H2H in our B2B.

The smart, savvy and fast growing businesses are focused on setting up their people to get on with being clever; managing through the sheer pace of change; staying ahead of the market with new ideas; and attracting and keeping the brightest sparks.  So the question then becomes – how to navigate all of this as smoothly and productively as possible… and make great money?

When thinking about customers, whether businesses or consumers, we are all trying to build outstanding strategies, systems, processes and operations to connect and impress (B2B) but in the process we are missing what makes these outstanding… having remarkable conversations with the people behind those strategies, systems, processes and operations.  We’re not talking about “how was your weekend?” or taking an order in person.  We’re talking about real, honest, difficult, challenging conversations… those that make things happen and improve trust and respect in the process. The human to human (H2H) stuff.

We’ve not focusing enough on the very thing that makes the biggest difference; collaboration…. through conversations… with people! Focusing on strategy alone is like a scientist working on a vaccine without understanding what the market really needs and wants. It’s just inefficient and ineffective and does not build relationships.

When we move from isolation (creating B2B ideas and strategies only in our own teams) to collaboration (H2H) we improve profits and dramatically improve service and delivery.  Perhaps we can learn from BCG’s Yves Morieux. Yves researches how corporations can adapt within modern and complex business landscapes. “When people cooperate you need less resources”.  Imagine if all car manufacturers, when designing their ‘new and improved’ car, collaborated authentically with the service team to ensure the maintenance issues with the vehicle were minimised so the car became even more responsive?  Costs would reduce as repairs decrease, the marketing ‘sell’ is more powerful and we now have better relationships with people across the business to get more things done in the future.  H2H at it’s best right there.  When people collaborate effectively and respectfully it creates a higher level of productivity and smarter decisions for the business.

IT strategy meetings nowadays are about the cloud, security and the ‘digital disruption’ we all face. A recent Gartner survey tells us that “51 percent of CIO’s are concerned the digital torrent is coming faster than they can cope and 42 percent don’t feel they have the talent to face this future”.   So does this mean it’s no longer about the H2H connection?

According to CIO Magazine the secret weapon of great CIOs are that “sometimes you just need to pick-up the phone or walk over and have a face to face talk.”  This also extends to our customers.   Many tough customer conversations are; saying no to impossible requirements; letting a client know you will not be able to meet deadlines; unanticipated money and time requirements; clients not understanding what they are asking for; etc.

Mike Rutherford, a famous musician from the UK put it so well; “Being in a band is always a compromise. Provided the band is good, what you lose in compromise you gain by collaboration”.   So if we know that collaboration, through great conversations, with each other and our customers are our competitive edge, then let’s get some more H2H in our B2B.

About Georgia

Georgia is obsessed with the power of great communication. She knows how great communication leads to great collaboration and helps create outstanding cultures.

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Contact

Email: niki@georgiamurch.com

Phone: 0402 119 333