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How to structure a strategic planning session

How to structure a strategic planning session

Planning your business’s future with key partners is a great step forward, but how do you make sure your time is well spent and you take action after the meeting is over? We offer some tips to ensure the most productive outcome.


 

Goals

Prior to the meeting, work out what you want to achieve. Do you want to build on your business’s strengths or improve on weaknesses? Or perhaps you want to open up the business to new opportunities. Circulate an agenda ahead of time so that everybody who’s involved understands what the goals of the meeting are so they can prepare accordingly.

Appoint a facilitator

You may want to consider appointing a professional facilitator to run the meeting. They can act as a mediator in the event of disagreements, help ensure everyone has an opportunity to speak and keep the meeting on track.

During the meeting

  • Ensure all mobiles are switched off.
  • Have an agenda that is passed out at the beginning of the meeting. Ask staff if anything is unclear or if any topics need to be added.
  • Ensure employees understand what the goals of the planning session are.
  • Make sure someone is keeping detailed minutes of the meeting or recording it.

Action plans

Developing an action plan will ensure decisions are followed through with. It could include key objectives and who is responsible for each part. For example, if you run a café and you’ve decided to rework your menu, what needs to happen? How much involvement does the chef need to have? Are you going to conduct market research to identify food trends? If so, who needs to look after that?

You may want to consider appointing an employee to oversee the action plan and ensure staff are carrying out their responsibilities.

Budget

Working out a budget is important to ensure you don’t spend unnecessary money. For example, if you run a delivery business and you’ve decided to expand into new markets, what will it cost the business? Will you need to employ more people or purchase or lease more vehicles?

The budget doesn’t need to be precise, but knowing a rough estimate will allow you to assess whether it’s a wise decision.

Timelines

Set a timeline for when you want something completed. Remember to be realistic about your goals or it may place unnecessary strain on you and your employees.

Keep on track

Regularly remind staff of any strategic changes you are making and what their responsibilities are. This will ensure they don’t forget what they’re supposed to be doing and keep your action plan on track.

Strategic planning sessions can be a great way to help your business diversify into new areas or build upon weaknesses. Approaching them with structure and ensuring you have action plans will mean you get the most from every meeting.

If you've identified the need for change within your organisation, there are other steps you can take to ensure your employees work with you, not against you. Here's how to develop a change management plan and bring everyone along on your growth journey.

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