Sometimes the mistakes we make are our best teacher. Such is the case with my pursuit of a better way of helping organizations to use their strategic plans.
The mistake that I kept repeating: After hours of work with clients we would produce a beautiful strategic plan! Then, after hand-offs and hugs I would walk away, leaving the talented people at the organization to get to work. When I would follow up 6 months or a year later, I would ask the how implementation was going. I would often hear, “well, it's going well, but I feel like we're kind of losing momentum or losing track of what was in the plan”. This was heartbreaking since the See What I Mean style of strategic planning uses visuals, metaphors, and activities to help make the plan concepts sticky.
A better way…
How could I help organizations fulfill their intentions created during strategic planning?
This isn’t a new problem. Most recommendations encourage organizations to pull out the strategic plan every 6 months or once a year to take a look at progress and adjust. I thought about the most powerful levers in organizations. The places where we focus our time and attention. The activities that never get lost in the shuffle.
The answer was apparent: MEETINGS.
Especially, Board meetings and All-staff. These meetings happen regularly. We spend lots of time on them. They’re a place we build - or break - culture. And, when facilitated well, these meetings have the potential to shift our daily work and change our thinking
Instead of shoving strategic plans into board meetings or your all staff meetings, we champion an approach where your strategic plan becomes the architecture for your meeting.
How does that work?
If there are three categories in your strategic plan, there should be three segments in your agenda. One for each strategy. Within that strategy you’ll likely have items for approval, discussion and information.
If you’re adding an item to the agenda, decide where (and if) it fits into you strategic plan. If you can’t find a fit, does it belong in the prime real estate of your meeting?
If you’re sharing your budget proposal for the year show how investments fit with your strategic goals.
If you choose to have reports during the meeting, ask them to focus their comments on how their work is accelerating the plan.
Using your strategic plan as the architecture of your Board and All-staff meeting agenda means that your board and your team never loses track of your plan and neither do you.
To learn more about this approach and how to implement it in your organization, schedule a Coaching for Facilitation and Agenda Design Session. In this session you will receive ideas, tools and feedback to make the most of your next meeting.