In Leadership Tips, Strategy

Strategy sessions can solve problems, as well as spark ideas and innovation that lead to business success. At the heart of all strategy is the drive and desire to be the BEST.

“Strategy is not planning — it is the making of an integrated set of choices that collectively position the firm in its industry so as to create sustainable advantage relative to the competition and deliver superior financial returns.”

Harvard Business Review

Purpose of Strategy Sessions:

  • Remind us of our purpose and direction
  • Validate that we have taken the actions as noted in our strategy
  • Identify supports and barriers for execution
  • Asses if our actions lead to the progress we are seeking
  • Identify adjustments we could make to better achieve our goals
  • Engage us to understand the why for next actions and adjustments

As a leader, it is important to set a cadence of regular strategy meetings, along with periodic check-ins to monitor progress and adjust as necessary. Making these sessions a routine practice will allow your business to continue to improve, sharpen, and ultimately achieve goals.

Strategy Cycle

  1. Set goals
  2. Execute through actions
  3. Validate actions (monitor progress)
  4. Adjust actions

Tips for Strategy Session Preparation:

  • Area owners collate and analyze data
  • Determine objectives and agenda prior to the session
  • Prepare to present data so that others can understand
  • Bring ideas

Organizations must be agile in responding to changes in the market, while also nurturing the target goals. Strategy is a process, not a result.

What supports you in executing after these sessions?

  • Easier to move forward if there is a clear path
  • Check routinely to see how well the team is implementing the plan
  • Figure out how to determine “where we really are vs. where we think we are”
  • If you are not seeing results, discuss better strategic actions and adjust as needed
  • Measure process more often, progress less often
    • Timing can make a big difference
    • Use the right measures at the right times

What prevents you from executing after these sessions?

  • Progress isn’t linear, so do not necessarily see progress week to week – may need to adjust cadence of check-ins
  • Figure out the root cause of any problems
  • “Uphill goals and downhill habits” – must be addressed
  • Lack of execution by leadership or team

The challenge of developing or reestablishing a clear strategy is often primarily an organizational one and depends on leadership (Harvard Business Review).

Tips for Strategy Session Follow-up:

  • Area owners review and finalize next actions
  • Senior leader assesses and acts on need to reallocate resources
  • Leaders communicate next steps to the whole group as a result of the discussion

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

– Sir Winston Churchill
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