Why invite an independent resource to your very important strategic planning day or your next really important implementation planning day?
As experienced CEO’s MD’s and GM’s my associates and I agree that when developing strategic plans for your business, it’s important for you to be a part of the planning team. It’s very difficult to lead a session and be an effective participant at the same time. Using an independent and experienced facilitator allows full participation and contribution from the team. You also have the benefit of the experience the facilitator brings.
Another benefit is an absence of personal agenda. The facilitator and (now very popular) co-facilitator can keep the group on track by managing the process and providing constructive feedback and suggestions if the team becomes bogged down. In terms of time, energy and quality outcome this is a valuable investment in achieving clarity of delivery of the shared commitment.
The team may also request some creativity exercises to take them out of their familiar way of doing things to give them an opportunity to learn a new skill or a new way of approaching ideas, in our experience maintaining higher energy levels during a demanding and challenging process.
One of our most popular processes is leading planning days with two facilitators. The facilitators have a better opportunity to observe the process and provide quality feedback to the group on their energy and participation.
Another interesting learning for us is that this is quite economical. Some of our clients have spent 3, 4 and 5 days away with teams developing very important plans. We have found that by increasing the professional support by co-facilitation, the time required to create the plan is often halved or more.
Experienced facilitators take a comprehensive brief and prepare rigorous processes to cover the collection and review of information, the exploration of green field ideas, conducting a risk analysis before the final plan creation. This is their job which allows the team to stay inside the process, optimising their skills and experience to create plans that secure their future business success.
The feedback we receive from this particular process is invaluable to us and of course validating. I would like to share with you some points that are indicative of a strategic planning team’s reflections;
This is the first time I have left one of these sessions not drained.
I feel ready to go back to work and get straight into this
I am amazed at how pleasant this was and how much we achieved in so little time
It was so good to spend quality time with my colleagues and deliver a great result
Let’s make this our new standard
So good to remove the old adversarial defensive behaviour