You’ve decided that it is time for the team to get away. The corporate retreat or strategic planning session provides an important investment to work on the business with all the people who work in the business, to team build, socialize, break bread, and, frankly, have some fun.
Imagine walking out of your strategic planning event and breathing a deep sigh of relief from knowing that what needed to happen took place … and then some!
On-Purpose Partners designs, facilitates, and follows through on strategy sessions or retreats to meet specific objectives. Strategic facilitation is more than moderating an agenda or a packaged activities program. We’re seasoned business leaders and advisors with the experience, intention, and talent to create specific, measurable, and dramatic improvement in your business performance and corporate culture. It takes upfront planning to create a strategic session that meaningfully carries the team into the future.
Right now your mind is likely swirling with thoughts and questions:
- What I am hoping to accomplish?
- What is the agenda?
- Who will be invited? Who won’t be invited?
- What needs to be accomplished, communicated, developed, and/or decided?
- How will we accomplish all that needs to be done?
- What attitudes need to be overcome or cultivated?
- Where will it be held?
- What roles or presentations will be included?
- What gains can be expected in such a short time frame?
- What’s at risk?
- Where are the potholes and patches?
- How can it be highly productive, yet still engaging and fun?
Strategic facilitation is a specialized form of consulting. Often, it is an included element within a business advisory engagement. It comes in many forms such as a strategic planning session, corporate retreat, board planning, business or product launch, and more. A properly developed facilitation is composed of three key steps:
- Pre-Event Planning & Design: Your event is won or lost in this stage. Here is where the brain power, specific outcomes, and participants’ experiences need to be anticipated, designed, developed, and scheduled into a meaningful and productive agenda that engages the participants and achieves the outcomes. Working with you and your key players we actively listen to your needs, read what you provide us, conduct our own research, and then devise the means and methods to accomplish the objectives. Anticipate an appropriate amount of give and take during the agenda development. For every hour of your event, we’re often investing 4 hours or more of prep work. (40%)
- Day of Event: The day of your event the facilitator is on the hot seat to manage the agenda and the participants. Facilitation when done right looks easy even when the matters at hand are difficult. (20%)
- Post-Event: Follow-up from your Event is essential. Depending upon the nature of your event, you’ll typically receive from us a verbal briefing and a written report with typed copies of any flip charts and an observation. Often this may include recommended next steps and assignments. When part of a larger consulting assignment, the written report may not be immediately produced but made a part of the larger report, plan, or recommendations. (40%)
We’ll push, prod, and challenge you to think more intelligently about your business and goals. An On-Purpose strategic facilitation evokes real conversation, stirs significant debate, and brings important matters to the fore. This is team building at its best. Critical decisions will be made and clear direction will be set. This “grist for the mill” provides an informed foundation that can transform into an engaging and profitable effect for years to come.
Bringing key people around the table means important matters can be put on the table. Done well, a strategic facilitation is actually a compressed and intensive consultation designed to accelerate what the team needs to come to terms with and by who and by when.
Often, you might be tempted to “lead a meeting” like this yourself — don’t! You’ve too much to gain when done right; and too much to lose if done ineffectively. Don’t wear two hats as leader and facilitator. You need to be fully present to hear and reflect on the team’s thoughts, insights, and ideas plus you need to participate. Self-facilitation is folly in these precious instances.
Facilitation is an art. Done right, facilitation isn’t as easy as it appears. It combines leadership, consulting, business acumen, people skills and insights, training and development, and diplomacy into a concentrated agenda designed to advance the organization. Your investment in gathering your team, securing an off-site location, and planning the agenda is modest in comparison to your anticipated gains from the event.
Investment: Upfront, we’ll work with you to define the scale, scope, and agenda for your facilitated event. More complex, large businesses, or highly charged events will increase the pre-event planning and post-event report and recommendation debrief, recommendations, and write-up.
Email us to arrange an initial consultation for no charge.