Guidance on how to conduct effective strategy sessions

Guidance on how to conduct effective strategy sessions

I’m absolutely passionate about running strategy sessions with clients. That’s because I believe they work so well and provide so much insight into the company. More than anything, strategic sessions have provided clients that I’ve worked with, with a treasure trove of untapped potential in their business model and has unearthed human talent that they did not know existed both with themselves as leaders and within their teams.

In this blog, I want to provide some guidance on how you can prepare for and host stunningly successful and useful strategy sessions.

  • Get the right business strategy consultant to facilitate the session and someone who can wear three hats simultaneously:
    1. As a strategy consultant
    2. As a knowledge sharer and educator
    3. As a facilitator.

Playing the role of strategy consultant, the chosen specialist will assist in designing the planning process specific to your company needs and requirements and hence require expertise in strategic planning. In their role as a knowledge sharer and educator, they play a critical role in making the understanding of strategy and to middle and junior managers. Finally, as the session facilitator of your strategic planning process, they’ll need both broad business experience and skill in working with people.

  • Decide upfront what it is that you seek to accomplish with the strategy session. Do you want to: Gather strategic inputs? Develop your strategic plan? Craft a business strategy? Develop a business plan? Revamp your business model?  This decision is critical as it will frame your objectives for the session.
  • Decide who should attend the strategy session. Here include line managers and key members of staff from throughout the business. At the end of the day, the strategy will need to be implemented from top to bottom of the company and selecting key staff throughout assists in communicating the message in similar fashion.
  • Go offsite. To avoid interruptions, certainly and remove any possibility of day-to-day operational distractions. A change in environment stimulates creative thinking and fosters new and fresh thinking.
  • Run the session on consecutive days. Don’t break the session as you could lose momentum.
  • Put some quick-wins on the table. Far too often, senior leadership go off on strategy sessions and nothing comes off it. Build confidence and momentum around the process by striving to accomplish and put quick-wins on the table.
  • Pluck the low-hanging fruits. Enhance the energy flow from the strategy session by capturing opportunities that can be bedded down quickly. This further builds momentum and confidence around the strategic process.
  •  Don’t just strategize. Energise through action. Hold the right people accountable to implement the key actions emanating from the strategic session, with timelines and key performance measures.
  • Have fun. Strike the balance. If it isn’t fun, you won’t enjoy it, others won’t enjoy it and nothing will come from it.

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