Holding an off-site strategy meeting is a great way to get your team together celebrate success from the past and to build your plan for the future.
Rather than hosting your meeting in house, an off-site strategy session will take your team to a different location. This will help provide the space and mental clarity to foster an objective view of the things that are going on inside the organization now and some issues that might become more pressing in the future.
These issues vary in nature depending on the organization, but they can range from:
- Competitive pressures
- Trends in the industry and in society as a whole (see: Six areas for potential opportunities and risks for your business)
- Changes in your workforce
- Effectiveness and output of your workforce
- Other threats and opportunities
- And more!
Performing an environmental scan as part of your strategic planning meeting is important because if these issues aren't identified and addressed then they risk causing serious problems later.
You may go through the process and identify the risks and decide they aren't a priority right now, but if you don't even go through the process of identifying them, then you risk blindsiding your organization, which may stretch your resources (time, money & people) down the road.
One way to identify risks is through brainstorming and discussing them with your management team. Another way is to run a survey ahead of time asking your team where they would like the company to go in the future, and asking them what risks and roadblocks may stand in the way of achieving that future.
While employees might not have a full understanding of the issues at hand, or be totally aligned with the vision of the management team or CEO, it will shed insights from the front lines of what things may need to be addressed and what concerns for moving forward exist among the team members.
Addressing these concerns not only helps your organization run more effectively and smoothly, but also helps generate buy-in from your team because it shows the leadership team values their input and concerns. Having your entire team on board and bought-in will help you with other change management initiatives while implementing your strategic plan. This way, your employees will feel like they contributed to the direction of the organization and of the plan, instead of having the plan pushed upon them.
Finally, when identifying risks and uncertainty in your organization that might have impact in the future you can plot them on a heat map to monitor over time. Some risks just need to be monitored, while others need to be acted on.
Over time, risks will move along this heat map and will have different impact and likelihoods. Having plans in place to address risks help keep your organization running smoothly and more cost effective (rather than being caught off guard by something you could have predicted).
If you need some ideas on what risks could look like, some examples are:
- Competitor enters your market
- Supplier goes out of business
- Price of key components increase (or decrease)
- Government changes
- Key person in the company leaves (or dies)
- Legislation changes
If you're organizing a strategic planning off-site meeting, you can use our sample strategic planning agenda to see how we incorporate a risk assessment into a two-day session.
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