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.
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 after.
Brilliant planning days identify nine key elements to make the time and money worth it;
1. The appropriate people are involved, at all stages
2. The right process is decided, and then trust it.
3. 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.