Every Year: 'I'm a Strategic Planning Nerd'
Wednesday, October 5, 2016 10:00 AM
The BSM team just got back from our annual strategic planning meeting, and I feel invigorated, energized, and motivated. Three days away with the entire team is such a wonderful way to plan for future successes and bond with my coworkers. I come away with the same feeling every time.
For me, fall signals a shift in focus both at home and work. At home, the focus turns to football, as my husband is a high school football coach. At work, the attention turns to strategic planning. It’s my favorite time of year!
At BSM Consulting, we don’t just preach the importance of strategic planning, we put it into practice, with fall marking our annual strategic planning session. It is usually a multi-day, offsite event that productively blends work and team fun. While I thoroughly enjoy helping our clients go through their strategic planning process, I find our own annual meeting to be invigorating, exciting, and wholly worthwhile.
I’ve heard some doctors say that strategic planning is just a long meeting that takes away from productive work time. I suppose a meeting without follow-up actions and implementation would be frustrating and unproductive. Our meeting isn’t. Strategic planning isn’t just a one-time meeting; it is an ongoing process. We see it that way, and it works. We plan, and we act. It is amazing when we look back at our previous year’s initiatives and see what we have accomplished since then.
"While I thoroughly enjoy helping our clients go through their strategic planning process, I find our own annual meeting to be invigorating, exciting, and wholly worthwhile." — Maureen Waddle
Strategic planning involves months of preparation, and more importantly, implementation of the discussed plan following the meeting. It’s a lot of work, but seeing results from a planning session is one of the key ways to motivate engagement in the ongoing planning process and the meeting itself.
To make planning sessions valuable and ensure that we stay focused on the key imperatives for the company, we:
- Communicate strategy throughout the year. We have quarterly meetings (or conference calls) where we are reminded of our key imperatives and the progress we have made. We are also reminded when the next planning session will be held to help us prepare.
- Create a clear process for vetting opportunities. I confess it is easy to get excited about something and run down that rabbit hole. However, since we have a process in place, only opportunities that have already received initial vetting are presented during our planning session. This makes it much easier to prioritize and get buy-in from the group.
- Create a culture where opinions are respected. Giving everyone a chance to be heard creates a sense of value for the person and pride in the company.
- Implement! Most BSM staff anticipate the annual strategic planning meeting with excitement … even knowing that from the meeting there will be action items that may fall on their shoulders. We all work better when we have a clear direction and goals in front of us to work toward.
This process works for us, and can for you, too. I readily acknowledge I’m a strategic planning nerd. For me, it’s gratifying to look back and see how much has been accomplished over the past year only to start again pulling together the right pieces of the puzzle to create another master plan for the new year.
Your Turn: What do you do to ensure a successful strategic planning session?
Please feel free to comment below. If you have a specific question regarding this topic, contact Maureen Waddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.