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.
- Identifying 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.
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 you need to gather and distribute 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.
- Your planning team 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.
- Your planning team has assigned responsibilities for gathering key information and taking the necessary steps 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.
Interested in learning more techniques for your strategic planning session?
Check out our course, The Secrets to Facilitating Strategy!
About the Author
Michael Wilkinson is the CEO and Managing Director of Leadership Strategies, the largest provider of professional facilitators and facilitation training in the country. Michael is a much sought after trainer, facilitator and speaker. He is a Certified Master Facilitator and a Certified Professional Facilitator. As a past president of the Southeast Association of Facilitators, the creator of the FindaFacilitator.com database and a board member of the International Institute of Facilitation, Michael is a national leader in the facilitation industry. You can get more tips from Michael’s books, including The Executive Guide to Facilitating Strategy, The Secrets of Facilitation, The Secrets to Masterful Meetings, and CLICK: The Virtual Meetings Book.