Renowned Strategic Plan Facilitator Reveals Keys to Effective Strategy Meetings

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Strategic planning professional and author Erica Olsen shares tips for facilitating successful strategy meetings.

No matter what you do or where you are in your strategic planning agenda, end your planning days on a high note. Never let your strategic planning sessions end on a low note with everyone feeling overworked and brain dead. Celebrate success!

Erica Olsen, a veteran strategic planning facilitator, author and developer of MyStrategicPlan, says that anyone can successfully facilitate a strategy meeting with a little focus. According to a past Fortune cover story, 86% of business owners and managers spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy and nine out of ten organizations fail to implement their strategic plan. Olsen says that monthly strategy meetings don't need to take a lot of time - 30 to 60 minutes should suffice - as long as a few simple guidelines are followed.

According to Olsen, what is important is that key team members report on their progress towards the goals they are responsible for - including reporting on metrics they have been assigned. By using the measurements already established, it's easy to make course corrections if necessary. Restricting the meeting to this reporting can help you stay on task and keep the meeting within 30 minutes. If you can commit to a full hour, the meeting agenda could also include some time devoted to working on one specific topic or on one of the quarter's priorities where decisions need to be made. Once agreed upon, this topic should be developed to conclusion.

Olsen also cites these additional tips for making monthly strategy meetings more effective:

  • Schedule the monthly strategy meetings on the same day and time each month in order to encourage making strategy a habit.
  • Invite individuals or heads of departments. Their presence creates visibility and recognition for the people getting things done.
  • Make the meeting mandatory - no exceptions. This is 30-60 minutes time well spent.
  • Start and end on time and stay on task with an agenda.

Although the meeting structure is relatively simple, Olsen warns that it does require a high degree of discipline. She says that successful facilitation of monthly strategy meetings is key to implementing your strategic plan and making strategy a habit for everyone involved.

Celebrating success is also highly advised by Olsen who adds, "No matter what you do or where you are in your strategic planning agenda, end your planning days on a high note. Never let your strategic planning sessions end on a low note with everyone feeling overworked and brain dead. Celebrate success!"

Erica Olsen is an owner of M3 Planning, Inc, a nationwide leader in on-demand strategic planning tools and services, and she was named Entrepreneur of the Year by The Business Report of Northern Nevada (February 2007). Through M3 Planning's online client base and onsite strategic planning facilitation work, Erica has developed and reviewed hundreds of strategic plans for organizations across the country. She has also authored several strategic planning books including Strategic Planning for Dummies and is a developer of MyStrategicPlan, a web-based system that helps organizations develop and manage their strategic plan.

M3 Planning is a strategic planning firm that works with growth-oriented organizations to develop and execute their strategic plans. Strategic planning helps you pave the most direct path towards your vision while driving growth and saving you time and money. For more information please visit http://www.m3planning.com or http://www.mystrategicplan.com. To schedule an interview, or request book copies please contact Matthew Kennard at (775) 747-7407

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ERICA OLSEN
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