Business Strategy

Is Your Vision Clear? Driving Success with Strategic Planning


Strategic planning plays an essential role in laying the groundwork for where you want to take your business in the year ahead.

Each year management teams gather for annual planning sessions that will guide their firms’ actions for the year ahead. As you prepare for your own, perhaps this is the year to reevaluate your process. Maximize the time your team spends together by setting a powerful agenda and leverage relevant tools and resources to gain the strongest possible results.

Establish the vision

Is everyone on your team aligned on the purpose and goals for the session? A clear vision will help to maintain focus and identify the preparations needed to support the desired outcomes. Some questions to consider include:

  • Are your guiding principles (purpose, vision, mission, core values) current?
  • How will you define and measure success?
  • Are there any readings or exercises that should be assigned as pre-work to align everyone’s thinking?

Set a powerful agenda

Once you’ve established your objectives, creating and publishing a detailed agenda helps set expectations and allows everyone to come fully prepared to participate. Think about how much time the team will need for discussion and decision-making. Consider if an opening activity would help set the tone and get everyone into a strategic mindset. Ensure you’ve accounted for breaks and time to check-in with the office.

Consider a change of location

It can be hard to read the label when you’re inside the jar — and it can be challenging to focus on the long-term when the day-to-day is just a few steps away. Offsite meetings boost both individual and team productivity and create an environment for reflection and creative problem-solving.

Leverage the neutrality of a facilitator

Engaging a professional facilitator offers many benefits, from assisting with setting a powerful agenda to ensuring everyone fully participates in the discussions. Through skillful questioning and analyses, they can help build consensus and ensure your vision for the session is achieved.

Do the necessary pre-work

Arm yourself with the power of data by reviewing any available research and determine what additional relevant information you may need.

  • Is it time to check in with clients and/or employees to gather their perspectives?
  • Are you clear on the major trends or disruptions for your industry?
  • Do you have a solid understanding of your ecosystem and the opportunities available?
  • Are there applicable case studies to reference that will support your overall strategic session goals?

Take the pulse

Best in class businesses exhibit a few common traits and when done consistently, these organizations outperform their peers. Consider taking an assessment to understand where your organization compares to firms regarded as exemplary. Having all members of your management team ‘take the pulse’ and reflect on organizational observations from their perspective offers an additional layer of detail for discerning opportunities.

Leverage the full power of strategic planning

A successful strategic planning session requires a balance of introspection and insight. Start with asking the right questions and seek guidance to fill gaps when needed. Taking early steps and engaging outside resources, as well as leveraging relevant data and tools, will help you take significant strides forward in planning your firm’s future.

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