Preparing for a strategic planning off site meeting

We have been doing some work on this recently and this may help you think about the things you can do to make a strategic thinking off site meeting a success. It is written in the form of a note to the people attending so that you can cut and paste it and use it as real invite.

Note to those attending the strategy meeting

As you know we are having an off site meeting to discuss our strategy. The aim of the session is:
  • To take stock of where we are right now
  • To discuss how our business environment will change and evolve over the next three years
  • To agree some clear goals and strategies that we are all committed to
  • To summarise our thoughts into a clear plan
  • To build a communication plan that will enthuse and engage our wider team on the journey
In order to do this and to make the best use of our time please can you support us doing some preparation in advance. For our event to be a success, we need you to do some research, to talk to people, and to do some thinking.
Bring relevant numbers and information to the session. Make sure these are as up to date as possible. We need information about costs, income, staffing numbers, in fact any data you feel is relevant to running our business
The changing environment
We will be discussing how our world may change over the next three years. Think about customers, competitors as well as the macro environment in which we work. Out of this discussion we will look for opportunities and threats to our business. Please come prepared to discuss your thoughts on this.
Our strengths & weaknesses
Review the work that we do. Try and be objective and consider the different products and services we offer. Where are our strengths? Where are our weaknesses? What is not working for us?
Strategic choice
When you analyse our business, our future comes down to four strategic choices.
  1. We carry on as we are offering the same products or services to the same group of customers.
  2. We find new products or service for our existing customers
  3. We offer our current products and services to new markets, new customers
  4. We diversify by finding new customers and new products
We need to discuss our options and to take decisions so give this challenge some thought
Vision, mission & values
Review what we stand for as a business. Have a look at our marketing literature, the words we use to make promises to customers, our staff and ourselves. Do these stand up? Are they still relevant?
Some final questions that may prompt some thoughts:
What is working well that could be even better?
What is not working that needs a radical overhaul?
What is working OK but is not perfect yet we put up with it? Should we change this?
What else?
Tips on Research & Intuition – fresh thinking
  • Talk to people
  • Go out of your way to talk to customers, colleagues, peers, employees. There is a wealth of information to be had if you ask simple questions and shut up and listen
  • Insights
  • Spend some time searching the web. Look up our competitors and see what you can discover. Google our industry. Search on Twitter. Have a look at government or regulatory web sites
  • The trade
  • Immerse yourself in the publications that surround our business. Consider trade shows and blogs that point the way to changes in our industry
  • Time to think
  • Give yourself some time to reflect. Allow yourself time to play with some ideas. Be creative. If you had a blank sheet of paper, what changes would you make?