Strategic Planning Facilitation
We combine expert facilitators with a proven strategic planning methodology, the Drivers Model, to make sure your energy and time that goes into building a quality plan pays off.
Have you exhausted countless hours developing strategic plans that have not been implemented? You are not alone. Unfortunately, success rates for strategic plans are typically poor. Creating and implementing an effective strategic plan is possible – when you have the right guidance and the right process to go from a plan on paper to a plan in motion.
Whether you’re developing a strategic plan for the first time for your team or redefining your business strategy for your division, Leadership Strategies will help you set up your organization for success.
View How Strategic Planning Works
Learn more about the strategic planning process. These short videos take you step-by-step through your strategic planning development. See for yourself how the elegantly-simple Drivers Model coupled with our expert facilitators can help you plan, implement, and monitor your strategy.
- Why you need a strategy
- Step 1: How to Choose Your Facilitator
- Step 2: The Drivers Model
- Step 3: The Strategy Document
Why You Need a Strategy
Taking the time to develop strategy is not only necessary, but critical to the long-term success and health of your organization. Accept it – you need a plan to thrive in today’s business economy whether you’re a corporation, a non-profit, or a government agency. Uncover other critical reasons to develop your organization’s strategy today.
How to Choose Your Facilitator
Strategic planning is a big task. Our clients often tell us that strategic planning is so challenging and so vital, that it cannot afford to be depended on by the participants themselves to lead. Get the right help. Professional facilitators will guide the group to excel as a team in the process.
How Our Strategy Approach Works for You: The Drivers Model
The Drivers Model, Leadership Strategies’ strategic planning methodology, provides an approach that is elegantly simple yet robust and comprehensive enough to serve both a multi-billion-dollar corporation and a small, non-profit organization. Our methodology is fully scalable to meet your organization’s structure and size. Through our organized, three-phased approach, strategic planning will not be such a daunting task.
Your Strategy Document: What it Looks Like
Whether you’re executing a long-term strategy process or simply holding a two-day planning retreat, the Drivers Model provides you with five primary deliverables that are critical to the successful implementation of your plan.
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Strategic Planning Facilitation Using The Drivers Model
Most leaders view planning – specifically strategic planning – as a complex activity. The Drivers Model simplifies the work. The Drivers Model is Leadership Strategies’ proven methodology for helping an organization identify its business problems and construct an effective strategic plan of action for solving them.
Simple, yet robust and comprehensive enough, the Drivers Model is scalable to the strategy development needs of Fortune 500 companies, to non-profit organizations, to government agencies, to small departments, to more.
Four Phases for Strategic Planning Success
With the guidance of a skilled facilitator, this powerful but easy-to-apply methodology will form a solid foundation for your strategic planning success. The proprietary process includes:
Phase I - Gaining Buy-in
What approach should we take?
Phase II - Assessment
Where are we now?
Phase III - Strategic Planning Sessions
Where do we want to be? How will we get there?
How do we monitor our progress?
The Management Briefing
In undertaking a strategic planning effort, have you ever found the team arguing over definitions, or wanting to complete the strategic plan in a half-day or a day, or disinterested because they don’t see how strategic planning will have impact on their day-to-day?
At Leadership Strategies we believe many of these issues can be resolved quickly up-front by holding a carefully crafted management briefing. Through the briefing, you are seeking to achieve the following:
- Commitment from senior management to take the time needed to develop and execute the plan.
- Identification of the critical issues to be addressed by the plan.
- A clearly defined and agreed to planning process tied to addressing the issues.
- A plan for gathering information about the current situation, including past plans, current initiatives, customer perceptions, employee opinions, industry trends and the competitive landscape.
We have developed the “Management Briefing on Strategic Planning” specifically to assist executives build the foundation needed for successful strategic planning.
The management briefing is a 90-minute interactive session, in which the planning team becomes laser-focused on the important issues impacting the organization.
Management Briefing Agenda
The agenda for the Management Briefing typically includes the following:
- Review the purpose and outcomes for the briefing.
- Use brainstorming and grouping techniques to get the participants to identify the most important issues facing the organization
A Standard Strategic Planning Approach
- Describe your approach for strategic planning; be sure to use an example that makes clear the definitions of the different components.
Modifying the Approach
- Have the participants link the issues to the approach.
- Ask participants to identify strengths and concerns about the approach.
- Agree upon adjustments to ensure the approach addresses the key issues as needed.
- Determine the information that should be gathered and distributed in advanced to ensure all members of the planning team start with a common foundation of information about the organization’s performance, customers, employees, industry, and competitors.
- Define key information about the planning process, including the when, where, who, and how of the planning retreat.
- Identify the immediate next steps following the meeting.
Benefits of a Management Briefing
There are several benefits to the management briefing.
- Your planning team will walk away with a common view of the issues to be addressed.
- They will have determined what modifications might be needed to the standard planning approach to ensure that their issues are fully addressed.
- They will have agreed on a set of strategy definitions.
- They will have begun identifying the information they need to gather to make the planning session highly productive.
- They will have assigned responsibilities for ensuring that the key information is gathered and that the necessary steps are taken to prepare for the retreat.
- Most executive teams walk away with increased buy-in and commitment to participate in the planning effort and follow through on actions.
If successful, the management briefing will provide a strong foundation for launching the strategic planning activities.
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Understanding the current situation is vital to identifying the approaches needed to drive success. A full understanding of the current situation includes an analysis of several areas. The list below shows a sample list of assessment areas and one or two of the key questions to be answered for each.
- Customers – What are their current and future needs? What are their perceptions of our performance?
- Employees – What are their perceptions of our organization and how we can improve? How can we make them more effective in their roles?
- Industry trends – What have been recent shifts in the industry? What shifts are anticipated for the future?
- Competitors – How do we compare against our competitors? What are their recent and anticipated initiatives?
- Performance trends – How are we performing by product, by market, by channel?
- Recent goals and initiatives – How are we achieving against our plan? How successful have we been with recent initiatives?
- Organization profile – What are our strengths and areas for improvement with regard to our organization structure, processes, technology, culture, etc.?
Often, planning teams summarize the current situation information into a SWOT: a summary of the organizations key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
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The heart of strategic direction setting is this second step. In our Drivers Model, the information from the situation assessment is combined with the understanding of future trends to develop the vision statement and the mission statement.
- Vision – the organization’s preferred picture of the future
- Mission– the overall purpose of the organization (i.e., what the organization does, for whom it does it, and the benefit)
Click here for a sample segment of the strategic plan for a trade association of meeting planners. While the mission speaks to “what they do, for whom, and the benefit,” the vision describes what the future will look like if the organization achieves its mission.
The place where meeting planners meet
To provide a forum for furthering the growth and professionalism of the meetings industry.
The strategic direction setting also includes the defining of goals and objectives.
- Goals– the broad, long-term aims that define accomplishment of the mission
- Objectives – specific, quantifiable, realistic targets that measure the accomplishment of a goal over a specified period of time.
Each goal has a specific set of objectives, as shown below for the membership goal.
Maximize membership growth, retention and involvement.
- Increase membership from 500 to 650
- Increase average meeting attendance to 250
- Achieve 10% committee involvement
The objectives establish the bar for the rest of the planning effort. All the strategies, action plans and investments should be focused on achieving one or more of the plan objectives. Therefore, it is critical that you select the right objectives for measuring our success. Establishing objectives is perhaps the toughest work in planning.
The planning effort also includes establishing Guiding Principles – general guidelines that set the foundation for how the organization will operate. Guiding principles are more than just a statement of values. Guiding principles also describe the actions the organization will take based on the values
How do we plan to get there?
Once the objectives are established, the next step is to develop the road map for achieving the direction. For the road map to be viable, however, it must focus on three areas in particular.
Critical Success Factors
- Dynamic presenters with timely, substantive topics to increase meeting attendance
- High awareness of association by meeting planners to attract new members
- Increase membership from 500 to 650
- Increase average meeting attendance from 175 to 250
- Achieve 10% committee involvement
- Utilize assessment survey and industry referrals to select quality speakers and topics
- Revise new member registration process to ask desired committee
- Hold quarterly committee fairs after meetings
- Distribute new member list to committee heads
- Implement PR program to report activities to the local media
- Inadequate process for getting new members involved results in burn-out of a few and low retention
- High membership turnover hinders consistent growth
- The barriers to achieving the goals and objectives indicate those challenges which the organization must overcome to achieve its strategic direction. Barriers answer the following questions: “Why haven’t we achieved our goals already? What is standing in our way?”
- While barriers address the challenges, the critical success factors identify those key conditions that must be met to achieve the goals. Critical success factors, typically no fewer than two and no more than seven per goal, serve as a guide for determining the strategies to be developed.
- The strategies that are undertaken (i.e., the road map) must drive achievement of the strategic direction by controlling the critical success factors and overcoming the barriers.
An important activity at this stage is the prioritization of strategies to determine the items to focus on first. For each priority strategy, an action plan is developed which details steps, responsibilities, costs and timetables. The action plans can then be summarized to identify resource requirements and to develop a resource plan to meet those requirements.
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Many organizations benefit simply from going through the process of creating a strategy. At this point, everyone is clear on where we are going and how we plan to get there.
However, the key value to strategy development comes in the implementation of the plan. Unfortunately, all too often, strategic plans become space fillers on an executive’s bookshelf. To prevent this occurrence, we recommend the following:
- For each priority strategy, an action plan should be developed which details steps, responsibilities, costs and timetables.
Many strategic plans fail in execution due to lack of focus and commitment. Leadership Strategies’ three-level monitoring approach encourages both the focus and commitment needed to deliver on the plan’s promise. Is your organization doing this?
The Drivers Model Monitoring Process
Successful organizations find that a three-phase monitoring process provides the needed focus to drive a plan to implementation. With the Drivers Model, organizations have the option of signing up for one, two, or all three phases to monitor. Strategic change, without a structured process for monitoring results such as this, is highly unlikely.
Your Team Addresses: Are we doing what we said we were going to do?
The focus is on determining if the action steps of your strategic plan are getting done. With the Drivers Model, your team will make adjustments along the way to action plans as needed. Strategy leaders will update status of action plans to ensure you are doing what you said you were going to do.
What happens during monthly monitoring?
- On the 15th of the month, each strategy leader receives an email reminder indicating the items from the action plan due to be accomplished by the end of the month.
- On the last day of the month, strategy leaders receive a formatted email which they return indicating what was accomplished with the actions and the percent of the task completed.
- The plan coordinator uploads the updates from the strategy leaders to produce a dashboard showing those strategies on track (green), those that have fallen slightly behind (yellow), and those that have fallen well behind (red). The team receives an overall grade for the month based on the performance.
The plan coordinator distributes the dashboard report, along with the grade and a narrative explanation, to the entire planning team. This is done to recognize those on track, and to encourage peer pressure on those who let the team down
Your Team Addresses: Are we achieving the results we said we would achieve?
The planning team will meet to review status of strategies and progress on objectives. The planning team will decide which current strategies to stop or continue and what new strategies to start. The planning team will adjust objectives as warranted based on issues and priorities.
What happens during quarterly monitoring?
- In advance of the session, the planning leader prepares a table listing 1) each objective and three-year target for each objective, 2) the current year milestone, 3) who is responsible, 4) the performance year-to-date, 5) the expected performance by fiscal year-end, and 6) a grade column, which should be left blank for the group to fill in during the quarterly review.
- The team examines the progress on each strategy. As was done with objectives, in advance of the session, the plan coordinator prepares a table listing all priority strategies showing who is responsible, the percent complete year to date and comments and recommendation to stop or continue.
- The full team reviews the status of and recommendation for each strategy and determines which strategies to continue or stop and if additional strategies should be started
- After reviewing progress on the objectives and strategies, the team then determines if adjustments are warranted to the objectives.
While mid-term changes to an objective can be warranted, the team should avoid changing an objective simply because the actual performance is below the target. It is not unusual for a team, after one or two quarters of poor performance, to want to change the target to make achievement easier. The team should recognize the distinction between poor execution against a reasonable target and a target that has been set inappropriately high.
Your Team Addresses: What changes should we make to the plan?
The annual update is used to confirm the progress made in accomplishing the objectives of the plan and to revise the plan as needed. This monitoring includes an assessment of annual performance, identification of new barriers and critical success factors, and revisions to the overall plan including adjustments to goals, objectives, strategies and priorities as needed.
What happens during annual monitoring?
- As with the quarterly review, the team grades the objectives. However, this time the grading is based on actual performance instead of anticipated performance.
- In addition, the team assesses percent complete on each of the strategies undertaken and lessons learned from the year.
- The team identifies new barriers and critical success factors, and then revises the measurable objectives being sure to set first year milestones again.
- New priority strategies are identified to drive the objectives and new action plans are developed as needed.
These steps result in the team learning from the past and revising the plan as they move into the next year of the planning cycle.
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Which Package is Best for You?
Includes five days of planning sessions, mid-year update, travel and more…
Includes two days of planning sessions, mid-year update, travel and more…
Includes one day of planning; mid-year check-in, travel and more…
Have a Plan Already?
How it Works: The Strategy Review Process
Our Strategic Plan Review process is designed to provide you with a complete assessment of the quality of your plan. We will examine your goals, measures, strategies and monitoring process to identify the strengths of your existing plan as well as areas that may warrant attention and possible adjustments.
Strategic Planning Review
We supply a mutual non-disclosure agreement for signature by both organizations.
You provide the organization’s existing strategic plan document including each of the following components if available:
- Values and guiding principles
- Strategic positioning
- Goals and objectives
- Critical success factors and barriers
- Strategies and initiatives
- Action plans and tactics
- Communication plan
- Monitoring plan
We lay out your existing plan in our 11×17 format to identify gaps.
We analyze the plan against our 20-point assessment model.
We prepare a two-to-three page report of our findings and recommendations.
We provide the report, the 20-point assessment and the 11×17 format to you.
We hold a web meeting with you to review the findings and recommendations and to discuss possible next steps.
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