Strategy 4 Saturday (<4 minute read)

  • Planning from 30,000 feet
  • 8 Ways to Improve Your Next Strategic Retreat
  • Webinar: Create Your Business Vision with ChatGPT (Oct 19th, 10am PT)
  • Measure Success Podcast | Jim Britt
  • Coming up this week | Founder and CEO | Vivek Nigam
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Picture from 30,000 feet near Chicago.

Being Present

I started writing this on the direct Alaska flight from Portland to Washington, DC. After we land, we walk to Hertz for our rental car and drive one hour to Annapolis to watch our son Tyler play Sprint Football at the US Naval Academy. Based on experience, we should arrive within a few minutes of kickoff! Nothing is more enjoyable than watching our kids play sports, and I am very grateful to have the flexibility to be present. Go Navy!

In fact, on Thursday night, our oldest started to coach volleyball this fall at our high school, Glencoe. Roll Tide! Being present is extraordinarily important to be connected with the ones that you care about. Zoom works and is wonderful when practical, but the value of being present, is 10x. This applies for your strategic planning process as well.

Planning from 30,000 Feet 

Starting your strategic planning from a different view is very important to help you see your business differently. Our day-to-day interactions are generally task-driven, combined with supporting your personnel to get things done. It is so easy to be consumed about the latest customer frustration, vendor delay, or employee complaint.

As I was writing, the landscape was clear with sunny skies, and then I took a picture that had scattered clouds. I could see hundreds of miles in all directions. You could see how a city manager would plan a city.

However, after drafting the first page of this blog, I looked down and the clouds had completed covered the sky. You could no longer see the cities, town, roads, and rivers. This is what happens at strategic retreats, when you don’t have a clear plan to do it well.

Eight Ways to Improve Your Next Strategic Retreat
1. Different Location:

Start your strategic facilitation at a different location than your traditional company meeting space if feasibly possible. The primary purpose behind this is to get your mind out of the day-to-day business that is clouding your mind. You truly want to think strategically and how you can move your company in the right direction. A new location will avoid the risk that employees will interrupt the meeting for the next crisis. Trust me, this happens!

2. Be present: 

We use Zoom a lot for strategic planning, executive coaching, accountability calls, etc. However, it is very valuable to be present for that first ideation session. We recently worked with a company that had not been all together in a room since COVID. Being present helps you get more aligned and to see the non-verbal communication that is harder to pick-up via Zoom. Plus, the meetings outside the meetings often provide the necessary communication to improve relationships and remove conflict.

3. Be effective: 

You only have some much time to spend in the clouds dreaming about your 10-year vision, 3-year vivid vision, and your long-term destinations (goals.) We recommend approximately 1.5 days for this first session. Have a clear agenda. Then allow for some short breaks; but not too long.

4. No screens:

No cell phones and computer screens open. Ok, this may be asking for too much. BUT, you should turn OFF notifications and ideally turn your phones off and laptops. Nothing should be open unless required for the strategic meeting.

5. Hire a professional strategic facilitator:

If you try to be a facilitator as the CEO, you will not get the input and buy-in that you are looking for. As you lead, they will follow. Remember, you hired them and your team will agree because their mortgage payment depends on it. When you hire a professional strategic facilitator, YOU get to participate. You get to step out of your role as CEO for a short-period and THINK. When possible, hold off your input and opinions until the end of each agenda session. Your team will appreciate being heard. Often, you will hear things that you had not considered before.

6. Set Time to Trim Your Plan:

The beautiful part of a strategic retreat is when you have clear skies and the appearance of no obstacles, if makes you feel like you can go back in the office and crush it. The problem is that there are LOTS of obstacles and challenges with your day to day work. Therefore, set a separate session to reduce down your ideas to the absolute few ideas that will have the biggest impact on the outcome.

7. Set a start date:

All strategic plans have an end date. Few strategic plans have a start date. In fact, our research shows that only 20% of strategic plans are on time. You should not be done at the strategic retreat. For example, you should follow up team members who are not at the retreat, who will participate on the plan for buy-in.

8. Celebrate:

You may be creating a 3-year strategic plan, but nothing helps propel a long-term plan more than some early wins! We create 10-week sprints to start executing your first journeys. Act every week to establish progress and get early wins. Then, celebrate those wins. Learn what you can do better and apply that to your next sprint.

Perhaps you can celebrate like Husky Stadium did in their last week victory against the team from the south. (Pictured with Abby and Zach celebrating on the field after the game!)


Measure Success Podcast 

Jim Britt I How to use a few core traits to go from 15 cents to millionaire, with international bestseller 

Jim Britt  has seen rock bottom:

  • A home foreclosure
  • Car repossession
  • Only a few coins in his pocket
  • A family to feed

… and the sinking feeling in his stomach of… “What am I going to do?”

Above all, the answer he came up with — and his inspiring story from 15 cents in his pocket to becoming a millionaire and bestseller — is one that any business owner (or *person*) can learn from.

Jim is an award-winning author of 15 #1 international best-selling books. He is an internationally recognized business and life strategist who is highly sought after as a keynote speaker and success strategist. He’s one of the world’s top 50 speakers and top 20 life and success coaches.

OnTuesday, 10/17, Jim shared his personal story, the 6 core traits that every millionaire exhibits, why Jim never writes down his goals (and the important mindset shift he encourages people to make to actually find success), and a lot more.

Vivek Nigam How to build a successful remote or hybrid work policy, with BeRemote

Post-2020, what’s been your *biggest* workplace frustration?

Now, things like the economy, recession, or supply chain hiccups are obvious. But they’re also external.

Internally, there’s a pretty good consensus for what organizations are struggling with more than just about anything these days:

Remote work. 

Whether you’re:

  • An employee being forced back into the office
  • A boss that can’t get their team to maintain productivity from home
  • Someone commuting 50 miles three times a week
  • Someone in between

… you probably have some remote work frustrations.

Vivek Nigam is the Founder and CEO of BeRemote LLC, which is focused on employee wellness, team engagement, trust and cohesion, and building a positive company culture in the hybrid workplace. Vivek has had a 30+ year career in technology and strategy roles dating back to his early days as a software engineer, leading to him founding a startup in the Washington DC area where he was the CTO and ultimately sold that company to AOL in 2000 for a positive exit. Tune into the full episode, Tuesday, 10/24, to hear more on some of the mistakes companies make when designing their remote or hybrid work policies, how to improve team engagement at your organization, strategies for increasing team cohesiveness (even in a remote environment), and more.

As our podcast and blog are free for you, here is the link to share with someone else to sign up.

Using ChatGPT to Create Your Strategic Vision – Editor Notes

We had a few technical glitches at our last webinar and the recording did not work properly. Apologize for the inconvenience and we will improve at the next event!



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