So you’ve had your offsite. Your Leadership Team has spent hours discussing and brainstorming the strategy for the coming year.
For the time and effort spent in these sessions, far too often the direction is never finalized in a way that can be easily communicated and rolled out across the organization.
While the magic of brainstorming and creating your themes and objectives for the year happens at the offsite, this is just the beginning. Below are steps you can take to share momentum from your offsite with the whole company.
Step 1 - Memorialize Your Strategic Plan
With so many fresh ideas and moving pieces coming out of the offsite, the most important takeaway is to harness the momentum and continue to move the strategic plan forward. This is definitely easier said than done.
If you don’t write down decisions that were made in the offsite, will anyone remember them? In our experience, a lack of documentation leads to a lack of alignment. There will be different understandings of what was decided, and without a centralized place for the information to live, misalignment will quickly creep in.
It might be tempting to dive right into the specific objectives that were discussed, but we recommend starting by making sure everyone is in agreement on the overall direction for the company first. This means revisiting the company mission, vision, and values to ensure everyone is oriented towards the same "north star."
Once your team is aligned on the high level direction, it's time to take it down a layer and focus on your themes and high-level objectives for the year. Document your agreed upon themes and any corresponding objectives. Be sure to indicate the team and individual responsible, giving everyone clear visibility into what they will be owning.
Step 2 - Get Feedback & Approval of Your Strategic Plan from the Leadership Team
Once you’ve documented your strategic plan, you need to ensure your Leadership Team is aligned on it. Socializing the plan and getting feedback is an important step that is often overlooked in the strategic planning process.
Team members that were part of the offsite might have had new ideas after the offsite. The feedback and approval step helps give the opportunity to bring new ideas to the table, and to create clarity at the onset by ensuring all voices are heard. Creating clarity at the onset will lead to a highly adopted strategic plan, and an engaged team.
The compiled Strategic Plan should be sent out with clear next steps and action items, and the team should be asked to give any final feedback on the plan or to approve the plan by a set date. One thing to note with this process is that a voice is not a vote. At the end of the day, the CEO has the final say and approval to finalize the strategic plan. We have found that CEOs usually want input from the team, and input is helpful for them when approving the final strategic plan.
Getting final buy-in will make sure that your Leadership Team is on the same page with the decisions that were made at the offsite that will affect what is worked on for the year ahead.
Step 3 - Roll Out Your Plan to Departments
After the strategic plan is finalized by the leadership team, it’s time to extend the strategic plan to Department and Team Leads. Sharing the vision with your Department and Team leads and beginning to brainstorm objectives that roll up to the company strategy will help reduce any unwanted surprises when sharing out the strategic plan at the company kickoff.
Empowering your Department and Team leads of what is going on will make them feel more part of the process, which will increase engagement with your planning process. This will make the teams more likely to consistently give updates of areas they are responsible for.
When the strategic plan out is rolled out, a kickoff with the departments lets teams know where they are going, and their higher department goals. This transparency enables departments to create OKRs aligned to all of the previously created company objectives and themes.
Step 4 - Create an Operating Cadence
It’s important to ensure the Leadership Team and Department Leads are aligned on the process and cadence for how your strategic plan will be reviewed. This process will serve them just as much as employees because it will allow the company to identify trends, risks, or opportunities because of the clear communication provided bi-directionally with employees.
At Elate, we recommend setting two forums for these reviews:
- Team Reviews
- All Hands Meetings
With a clear cadence for reviewing your Strategic Plan, Strategy and Operations Leaders can proactively drive conversation with a unified view of the objectives, risks, and opportunities in the company. More frequent, shorter updates are much more valuable than an occasional lengthy review. Rather than spending endless cycles tracking down updates, Strategy & Ops leaders can get updates directly from owners to move faster and take action.
Setting up an operating cadence for teams will make these meetings successful. We recommend teams update and review their objectives weekly, and transition objectives quarterly.
Step 5 - Annual Company Kickoff
It’s go time! After gaining adoption across the Leadership Team and Departments, it’s time to present the plan to the company.
This can be an exciting event where you and the team can use this time to celebrate success, reintroduce the mission and vision, and build momentum for the upcoming year.
We have seen companies build momentum by recapping exciting parts of the past year or quarter. Employees will be more excited about the future if you acknowledge their accomplishments from the past year, and show how the past year builds into next year, as well as the long-term vision of the company.
The annual company kickoff is a great way to communicate where you have been, and where you plan to go.
Strategic Planning as a Competitive Advantage
Are you interested in learning more about how today’s leading companies are leveraging their Strategic Planning process as a competitive edge?
Unlike Strategic Planning of the past, today’s Strategy and Operations leaders are evolving to meet the needs of their company. Rather than a static, manual process that feels more like checking a box, Elate can help evolve Strategic Planning to be a dynamic, real-time process that serves as a competitive advantage.
Our team would love to spend some time understanding what Strategic Planning looks like for your company today, and how we can help take it to the next level. Reach out to a member of our team, and we’ll be in touch today to schedule time to share how Elate can help make Strategic Planning a competitive edge.