At SME Strategy, we guide all of our strategic planning clients in developing a culture that supports change as part of the strategic planning process. Our Aligned Strategy Development process and One Destination Model were designed to make sure that all team members are engaged and aligned through each step of the planning process. This includes making sure that everyone is clear and in agreement on where they are going and how they will get there.
While some organizations choose to lead the strategic planning process themselves, others choose to work with strategy specialists and facilitators like us. We bring valuable expertise and experience to the table from working with diverse groups of people and working through many types of conflict.
You’ll also benefit from a neutral outside perspective, and our ability to ask tough questions to make sure your team is understanding what each other are saying.
While outside guidance is beneficial throughout the entire strategic planning process, the positive impacts are noticeable at the earliest stages.
By having a facilitator lead these discussions:
- Everyone can participate
If you’re leading the session, you won’t be able to participate or be as present in the conversation. On top of that, people may not speak as freely with an internal facilitator or member of the leadership team leading the session.
- You will be guided through a specialized process
Strategic planning facilitators are skilled in generating alignment and buy-in, while following best practices and management sciences to help you and your team make the best strategic decisions for your organization.
- Someone else will be asking the tough questions
Having an impartial, outside facilitator who knows which probing questions to ask throughout each stage of the process will help your team get to the root of issues.
- A neutral third party is leading the session
An outside facilitator’s main focus is to foster powerful discussions throughout the strategic planning process. By approaching these discussions in an objective manner, an outside facilitator doesn’t worry about the conversation or decisions going one way or another.
- A tone will be set
Hiring an outside facilitator sets the tone that your organization cares about strategic planning and that you are willing to invest in the future.
- The conversation and time are organized
A facilitator will make sure that the sessions run on time, and discussions stay focused and on topic. Additionally, a facilitator can help moderate discussions (which may not be impartial or may stray off track if led internally).
- You will be working with someone who understands people
Dedicated facilitators work with lots of people, with vastly different personalities. A facilitator’s role is to make sure that everyone, regardless of their personality, is engaged and participating in the conversations. We make sure that everyone’s insights are valued.
- You can get your strategy done right, the first time
Strategic planning facilitators are subject matter experts in strategy and leading teams. We know the essential systems and processes needed in order to align teams, develop strategies, and execute plans. While your organization will be responsible for getting the work done and moving your plan forward, a strategic planning facilitator will make sure that you have all of the tools you need prior to implementing your plan.