Friday, April 17, 2015

Three Magic Words To Guarantee Buy-in for Strategic Planning

Does the thought of strategic planning almost send you over the edge? Or are you on the flip side of the coin and begging someone in the organization to please, please have a strategic planning retreat before you completely lose your mind?

There's no doubt that in any business there are multiple points of view on which direction to take next, how long before the next sharp curve, where is the next sharp curve, and when do we start? Is the business or team being led by someone who makes decisions on the fly or doesn't make decisions at all? I am a big fan of quick decision-making, and I also like it to be done with confidence and not guesswork. The challenges arise when there has been no long-term planning that maps out the road that will make the vision and mission of the organization more than a dream.

Every business needs to be able to turn on a dime when the opportunity presents itself for new direction that can affect revenues, employees, or the internal culture. Unfortunately, many times decision makers wait until the milk is spilled before putting the cap on the milk carton. The process of strategic planning helps participating key leaders think through the existing and potential challenges and opportunities facing the organization. 

That critical thinking element, effectively facilitated, is what can prepare an organization for the coming years of growth and market leadership. If the business strategy and tactics are not well developed, it will take more resources and time later to understand and fix the consequences of making decisions by the seat of your pants.

Now, I promised three magic words that will make everyone in your business jump on board for strategic planning.  

  1. "Retreat". Strategic Planning Retreat. Who doesn't want to go on a retreat? It's like R & R, a short vacation, and there's food and drink there. And, no suits and ties.
  2. "Away". Strategic Planning Retreats must be held away from the office. No one can retreat at the office. You need a clear head and no interruptions. Away can be a few blocks away or in another state. Away. That's all.
  3. "Facilitated". The retreat will be facilitated by an expert who will make sure everyone is heard, all the bases are covered, the agenda stays on track and on topic, and guarantees you leave on time with a plan in hand.
If strategic planning is in the cards, it's time to pull the trigger and get it on everyone's schedule. Start now by using the three magic words!

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