Facilitating Strategy Formulation
Every organisation has a strategy – even the intention to continue to operate in the same way the organisation has in the past is a strategy.
The value and importance of strategy is that it provides goals for people in the organisation to focus their aspirations, energies and efforts on. A good strategy takes account of future opportunities and challenges in the market place, from customers, employees, competitors and the economic, social and technology landscapes. It also provides action plans on how to deal with these in ways that inspire and engage people and act as a unifying force to encourage people to face in the same direction.
When thinking about your organisation’s strategy, three questions stand out;
- To what extent do you believe different people in your organisation have the insights, knowledge and skills to realistically scope the future opportunities and challenges faced by the organisation, and plan to address these?
- How well does your present strategy scope future opportunities and challenges, and contain robust action plans to address these?
- How well is your present strategy understood by people in the organisation, and how well does it engage and motivate them?
If your answer to question 1 is mostly positive, and questions 2 and or 3 are not quite so positive, your organisation may benefit from strategy facilitation.
An emerging area of our work has involved facilitating strategy. We are not specialised strategy consultants, but we do have high levels of expertise in facilitation, and increasing experience in facilitating strategy.
Two of our recent facilitating strategy formulation assignments are described below:
Facilitating a senior executive retreat and strategy formulation 2014
At the end of an assignment to define behaviours and values for success, we were invited to present the results to the senior executive team at their executive retreat. After the initial invitation was made, the Company Secretary also suggested the consultant facilitate the strategy day of the executive retreat.
While only knowing the company’s strategy in outline, the consultant facilitated the senior team to reflect on a 200+ page strategy document and condense this into a succinct 10 page strategy document. During the discussion the consultant acted purely as a facilitator to encourage debate and occasionally challenge people and their assumptions. After the event the succinct strategy was presented to and approved by the board.
Facilitating new technology strategy 2014
A client identified an opportunity to reduce costs by many millions of pounds through the introduction of new technology. The consultant was invited to facilitate a multidisciplinary senior team to explore and share their understanding of the new technology, and devise ways of harnessing and implementing it across the organisation, and with suppliers.
Part of the workshop involved discussion of a case study of advanced technology implantation by another organisation in the same sector. This was used to encourage innovative thinking, and prepare participants to think differently about the options for implementing the new proposed technology. Implementation of this new technology is a key business goal for this client.
One of our clients said about our strategy facilitation;
“Michael facilitated a Strategy workshop over a number of days that required him to not only think on his feet in terms of facilitation but to really understand the business and manage a group of senior individuals who all had a different view on what would we successful. This is an example of where Michael has added tremendous value to the Company both in terms of time and expertise.”