Getting The Most Out Of Your Strategic Planning Retreat

How companies can plan successful strategic planning retreats with limited fuss


One of the perks that come with working in a strategy department is that every fourth quarter there’s normally some kind of strategic planning retreat. For some companies, the meeting becomes something of a holiday, whereas in other organisations it means a monotonous two day seminar in which 99% of the participants have no input.

The truth is that neither of these situations bode well for a company and their strategic outlook for the following year.

In this article I have a look at three of the ways companies can look to get the best out of these meetings;

Make Sure That Everybody Is Invited To The Meeting

Strategic planning meetings should never be dominated by a couple of individuals. If the CEO and CSO are the only ones voicing their opinion, the meeting will be limited in its ability to cover a wide range of perspectives.

As mentioned at the top of this article, a situation may arise where 99% of the meeting’s participants are not involved - this should never happen as the company should encourage as many different perspectives to be brought into play as possible.

In multinational companies it is of course impossible to have everybody at the meeting, but everyone should feel like they at least have some form of representation.

Clear Up Any Potential Disruptions Before The Meeting

If an employee is annoyed at something going into the meeting then it’s likely that this will reflect in their input.

Everyone who’s going to be present at the meeting should have ample opportunity to vent any issues they have with other participants or maybe their department’s role in the company’s overarching strategy privately.

All participants should go into the meeting fresh in mind an in focus.

Being Unclear

Like with all meetings, a lack of focus before the event will make the points discussed convoluted.

There should be a clear notion of what’s expected from the meeting and the outcomes that everyone wants to arrive at.

It’s also useful to explain the process and identify how the company deals with strategic planning.

These three points should be central to any companies strategic planning retreat. It shouldn’t be an event which people are looking forward to as an extension of their holiday allowance and it certainly shouldn’t be feared either.

Instead, participants should look forward to a meeting that is well organised and ultimately successful. 


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