When I was in a corporate marketing role, I was involved in a lot of strategic planning. I learned that it’s rare for people to successfully manage the process and make decisions about the content.
When in discussions about strategic priorities and direction, it’s easy to get caught up in the current crisis or day-to-day activities and then run out of time for the actual strategic level conversation. People get stuck in their perspective and the conversation becomes one of who is right versus what’s best. Having an objective outsider to lead the process allows the participants to fully engage in the discussions, stay focused and move through the various stages more efficiently and with better results.
It’s natural to have differences of opinion as people bring their diverse experiences and ideas into the planning process. What better time to learn good collaboration and problem-solving skills and make agreements about how to deal with conflict. Team members can get clear on roles, responsibilities and accountability – three of the biggest challenges that boards face.
Which brings us full circle. Team development is really about process. How are we going to work together to achieve the priorities we’ve identified in our strategic plan? How do we want to be together to live our mission, vision and values? Alignment between all these elements is the differentiating factor for organizations to flourish since a plan is only as good as the team’s ability to execute it.