Making the Most of Your Strategic Planning for 2024
August 14, 2023
Making the Most of Your Strategic Planning for 2024

The following is an excerpt from edition #5 of our new newsletter, The Pulse: Insights for Strategy Leaders. Enter your email below to have The Pulse delivered to your inbox every other week.

The Power of Offsite Focus and Connection

For better or worse, last week’s newsletter seemed to strike a chord. If you haven't read it yet, check out my thoughts on how Strategy and Operations Leaders are Overcoming The Collective Sigh of Strategic Offsites.

In particular, I received numerous questions on how to maximize the time and energy invested in Strategic Offsites. Drawing from our own experiences and working with countless Strategy and Operations Leaders, one of the first questions we often ask is, 'Where will the Strategic Offsite be held?'

Believe it or not, many companies choose to hold their Strategic Offsites either in their office or in an environment that doesn't facilitate breaking away from day-to-day fires to focus on the bigger picture. From what we've observed, this can lead to leaders merely going through the motions, constantly checking email, texts, or Slack without ever being fully engaged. 📩

Usually this results in one of the two outcomes I mentioned in the last newsletter:

  1. A strategy set at the beginning of the year that’s never revisited, or
  2. A strategy that changes in the first month due to shifting priorities.

So what are the alternative options? 🤔

One company that I believe exemplifies a successful approach to Strategic Offsites is Tessitura, the leading software company for arts and cultural organizations. They provide a unified platform to drive all mission-critical business functions in one single database.

As they head into 2024 planning, we will be joining Tessitura at a remote location in Wisconsin where their team takes the necessary space needed to disengage from the day-to-day tasks and be fully present as a Leadership team to set the direction for 2024 and beyond.

This means that during their sessions they won’t be checking email, catching up on Slack messages, or putting out fires. Instead, they are aligning on the direction for the organization to ensure they are connecting the long-term vision with execution to bring the vision to life.

Another benefit of going off site is that it fosters organic conversations. During downtime or breaks between meetings, team members engage with one another, gaining a better understanding of each other's goals for the year and how they can collaborate across different areas of the organization to achieve them. 🏆

Rather than stepping out of a conference room only to be bombarded with distractions that take away from the focus on long-term strategy, Leaders are isolated in a way that keeps their focus where it should be: Strategic Planning.

While not every Leadership team may have the luxury of getting to a different state or region, we strongly encourage setting aside space to truly disconnect from the day-to-day tasks during Strategic Planning sessions. Being fully engaged and present is crucial. We also can’t emphasize enough the advantages of abstaining from checking email, Slack, or Microsoft Team during these critical sessions.

Be present, be focused, and commit to one another that Strategic Planning is a top priority for the business. ⚡

For downloads and resources on this topic, check out our Strategic Planning hub on our website.

🎯 Advanced Reporting Webinar Was a Hit, Watch the Recording

Last Wednesday we hosted Surfacing Executive Insights with Advanced Reporting and I couldn't be happier with how it went. The webinar was focused on the challenges Strategy and Operations Leaders face when it comes to reporting... something I have written about in previous editions of The Pulse (if you didn't read #3, click here.)

Considering that Elate was born from this pain, this topic is very dear to Abby and me, and it was great hosting it together.

We had double the expected attendance, and after some reflecting, it's clear why: this pain resonated with so many Strategy and Operations Leaders. 💢

At the beginning of the event we ran a poll that asked “How many hours per month do you spend tracking down updates and reporting?”

Over 65% said they spend more than 5 hours per month, while 43% said 8+ hours! What?! 😱

This is why I'm so excited about Advanced Reporting, which we also walked through on the webinar. Advanced Reporting is all about simplifying how information is brought together and shared throughout the organization and will save Strategy and Operations Leaders countless hours.

I would highly recommend checking out the recording of this webinar on YouTube.

The recording has chapters, so if you want to fast forward to seeing Advanced Reporting in action, head to minute 13:30.

Also - if you want the recording sent via email so you can file away for later, head this way.

🚀 Episode #46: A Clear Vision Leads to Clear Outcomes

Far too many organizations we work with at Elate struggle with an area that makes or breaks a strategic plan: The Vision. ✨

Great leaders have a knack for finding talented folks who can help build something special. Similarly, outstanding employees gravitate towards these great leaders who can paint a vision for what they are contributing towards day in and day out.

Our latest Aspiring Ops* episode was joined by David Rosenberg who serves as both COO and Chief of Staff at Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).

David shared how great leadership and amazing teams have enabled him to bring together a big vision and tangible results at the IEDC, and shined a light on the importance of serving as the connective tissue between where your company wants to go and how you get there.

Click here for the show notes and to listen to the episode.

Also - we have a YouTube playlist composed of the best audio clips from each episode. Check out Aspiring Ops Podcast Shorts - it’s a quick way to get some insightful content. 🎧

Thoughts to leave you with…

I've been blown away by the positive responses The Pulse has received so far, and we've only just begun. If you've enjoyed this newsletter and would be willing to share your thoughts for us to use to grow this community, I would love to hear from you.

Also, if you're reading here on LinkedIn and wouldn't mind subscribing via LinkedIn (you'll be automatically subscribed after clicking), it would help us expand our reach, and I'd greatly appreciate it.

That's all for today... have a great rest of your week.