How to hold a strategic planning meeting: A simple, step-by-step guide for facilitators

November 22, 2021

If you’re running or facilitating a strategic planning meeting, there are many factors to consider.

It’s much more than just bringing everyone together to have an open discussion — and it doesn’t just happen on its own, either.

There are several steps you can take to ensure that your strategic planning meeting runs smoothly, but it all starts with preparation.

Today, we’ll explore a few ideas to help you hold a successful session, starting with the basics.

what is a strategic planning meeting

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Table of contents

21 min read

What is strategic planning?

Best practices for running a successful strategic planning session

How to run a strategic planning meeting in 7 steps

Sample agenda for a strategic planning meeting

It all comes down to solid preparation and visuals.

Strategic planning is the process of analyzing a current situation within your organization and making sure it’s aligned with your specific objectives. If it isn’t, you and your team must develop a plan to “correct the path.”

So, why is strategic planning important?

In short, strategic planning helps you get from where you are today to the future you want. It’s a way of breaking down big, daunting goals into manageable steps that address your current situation and guide your work.

Visual representation of the strategic planning process

Here’s where strategic planning meetings come into play.

Meetings are the cornerstone of the strategic planning process.

These meetings are typically held by facilitators , but anyone can lead a strategic planning meeting.

We’ll provide you with specific instructions to hold a successful meeting a bit later, but first, let’s answer a crucial question.

What is the purpose of a strategic plan meeting?

Broadly speaking, a facilitator will use meetings to either:

  • Gather specific information and feedback from team members, executives, and stakeholders.
  • Help team members work together to solve problems, think strategically, and create new ideas to improve the organization.

These meetings aim to provide clarity in decision-making.

This is not a typical meeting where participants spend time reporting out. Strategy planning is all about brainstorming and collaboration .

This way, you can develop solutions to tangible problems in your organization and set the tone and strategic direction for your team.

Who needs to be included?

The best way to ensure that you get all of the most relevant voices in the room is to create an invite list.

Include people from each relevant department, if possible.

This way, you can cover a more complete spectrum of your company’s operations and activities.

You’ll want to include upper management, but don’t stop there.

Bring in members of the sales department, investor relations, human resources, and any other relevant departments or stakeholders.

You might also consider inviting people from outside of the organization who can provide a fresh perspective.

This is particularly useful for organizations that are doing business in a new market or have started offering new products.

Now that you understand the importance of effective strategic planning meetings, the question becomes, how do you actually hold one?

Let’s cover a few of the best practices:

Strategic planning best practices

Build buy-in before the meeting starts

First, you’ll want to build buy-in with everyone involved.

Keep what you’re doing top-of-mind, whether that’s through casual conversations or company-wide memos.

In addition, make sure to have a clear agenda prepared, so everyone knows what they can expect out of the meeting. Start by defining the goal, then detail how you’ll get there.

Also, get all the materials you need together in advance.

That may look like coordinating with IT to make sure everyone has access to company software, sending out pertinent documents in advance, or mapping out who will be speaking at the meeting.

Make sure to communicate your expectations clearly so that everyone knows what is expected of them and why.

You’ll want to spend time in your planning stages to keep the tone positive, while at the same time being realistic about what’s possible.

Ultimately, your goal should be to align the team around a shared vision and mission so that you can move forward with a shared perspective.

Now, how can you communicate this agenda?

We suggest you use a centralized space where everyone can see your agenda.

For example, you can use Miro’s Agenda template to create and share your agenda with participants.

what is a strategic planning meeting

You can also use the template to keep notes during the meeting and add refinements later.

This way, everyone can see what’s been discussed and the next steps for moving forward.

Remember; this should be a collaborative effort, so consider asking for ideas from everyone about what they’d like to see covered.

Just don’t forget to actually take those ideas into consideration.

Develop a transparent strategic planning process

During the strategic process, you’re inviting employees to have meaningful discussions around the company’s vision statement, strategic goals, and strategic objectives.

It’s important to have a roadmap in place for how you will facilitate the process so that employees know what to expect.

Your meeting should be an open, engaging discussion with transparent dialog. During the meeting, everyone should get a turn to talk.

Make sure you have a clear process that allows everyone to participate and feel heard, no matter what their role is.

In the planning stage of a meeting, it’s important to have as much input as possible.

You can involve everyone by holding a virtual brainstorming session with this brainstorming template . Once you create a board, you can invite people to collaborate in real-time.

Miro's brainwriting template screenshot

This template helps you create a more engaging and collaborative session while allowing every person on the team to contribute their thoughts.

Create an agenda and stick to it

We all know what happens when an agenda is not set or adhered to.

Creating an agenda for your meeting helps you and your participants stay on track. This agenda should include topics, questions, milestones, and people.

Milestones are the larger topics that will be broken down into smaller questions, and these questions should flow to the ultimate goal of narrowing down your strategic priorities.

You can create milestones by putting together a list of discussion questions that will help your participants get on topic and help you check in with the group.

Your agenda might include an opening discussion, a brainstorming session on ideas, and a closing review of next steps.

When developing your agenda:

  • Keep it short: The last thing you want is your meeting to drag on for no good reason, so try to limit each agenda item to ten minutes or less. The whole meeting should only take an hour or two, at most.
  • Be selective: Don’t include too many topics or ideas that will bog down your meeting.
  • Create a contingency plan: You never know what might happen during your meeting, so always have a backup plan in case your agenda falls through.
  • Plan for breaks: For longer meetings or workshops, set aside at least half an hour to take a break, such as during lunchtime.

Make it interactive

As much as possible, you’ll want to make this a collaborative effort, so it’s important to get everyone involved.

For example, you might want to break the group down into smaller sub-teams to brainstorm opportunities for new product features.

You could also task each group with creating a list of opportunities for particular departments within your company.

The point is that you’ll want to encourage open and honest dialog about challenges your company is facing and, where possible, break down any barriers that might stand in the way of progress.

Make sure to collaboratively create strategy documents, provide regular updates on progress, and discuss strategic issues in real-time.

Miro's collaboration features in action

This way, you can work side-by-side to improve your performance, no matter where in the world your team members happen to be.

To get the most out of each session, you should prepare thoroughly — from the agenda to who you’ll involve and how.

Whether you’re holding a remote, hybrid, or in-person meeting, this process will help you out.

1. Define a clear outcome for the meeting

A strategic planning meeting can go totally off-the-rails if it’s held without a defined objective. That’s why the very first step is to define a clear, tangible goal for the meeting.

For example, your objective might be to better align social media with your marketing strategies .

In this case, your meeting might include a discussion on the purpose of social media, its role in the planning process, and how to better align your social media campaign with your organizational goals.

If your goal is to develop a new product , your meeting might look different.

Consider discussing who the target audience would be and how you can get in front of them. You could also discuss how the product should be positioned in the marketplace and what strategies you’ll use to get it there.

You can also set specific strategic planning meeting themes as part of your objectives, such as business growth or innovation.

The point is to be as specific as possible with your goal. That way, it’s easier for everyone to stay on task and make the right decisions.

2. Break the ice

A strategic planning meeting can be a big undertaking, so it’s important to break the ice by engaging participants in some friendly conversation.

You may want to ask participants what they think of the company’s latest direction or engage them in a fun icebreaker activity.

You can also ask them what they think of the new business strategy and how they would implement it.

Or you could ask participants to complete an activity that allows them to interact with one another and develop a better understanding of each other’s unique skills.

For instance, you could assign participants to form teams, then ask them to create a project plan to solve an issue the company might be experiencing.

You can also break the ice by having participants introduce themselves.

If you’re holding a remote or hybrid meeting, you could have participants discuss what they think in a private online chat room, or you could use an instant messaging program for the same purpose.

Make sure they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas with each other before starting the main agenda.

The bottom line?

The more connected the group is prior to the meeting, the more effective the meeting will be.

3. Set clear expectations

Once you know what you want out of the meeting, the next step is to communicate any expectations of participants, such as things they should prepare in advance of the meeting.

Here are some useful guidelines to keep in mind when you’re setting expectations:

  • Provide details: The more detail you provide, the clearer it will be as to what’s required.
  • Assign roles: Make sure everyone knows their role and responsibilities within the meeting audience.
  • Use timelines: Use timelines to remind everyone of what needs to be completed before the meeting and send reminders if necessary.
  • Communicate effectively : Encourage participants to talk with their teams about the fact strategy planning is happening. They may want to set up smaller meetings to gather input for the strategy planning workshop or to share the outputs after the meeting to give employees a chance to ask questions..

4. Set ground rules for behavior

Before the meeting starts, make sure everyone knows the rules.

Values, culture, and norms

This is especially important when working with external stakeholders.

For example, you might say something like:

“The goal of this meeting is to develop the strategic plan for the next quarter. We want to minimize distractions, so please don’t check your phone during the meeting.”

Another good idea is to let participants know how they’ll be evaluated. For example, if you’re trying to make progress on a project, you might say something like:

“Let’s try and reach a consensus on the first three points. If we can do that, we’ll consider the meeting a success.”

If you’re dealing with a remote or hybrid team, you should take the time to define online behavior standards. For instance, you could say something like:

“If you have a question, please type it in the chat window. Using outside chat programs is not permitted during the meeting.”

This way, you’ll have everyone invested in the outcome.

5. Identify potential challenges

Before the meeting starts, it’s always good to identify potential areas of conflict that might derail the process.

For example, what would happen if someone had to leave halfway through? Will the meeting continue without them, or will you reconvene once they’re back?

You should also consider how to handle difficult participants. Can you remove a difficult participant from the meeting before they hijack all of your time?

What happens if a disagreement comes up and it’s not resolved?

You should prepare for all these things in advance and have a plan ready if they do happen. For example, consider using a countdown timer for specific agenda items or presentations, so that time is allocated fairly.

Interactive whiteboard with linked agenda and countdown timer shown

If you identify potential challenges early on, you can keep an eye out for them as the meeting proceeds.

6. Encourage full participation

Remember that you’re asking people to spend time — and sometimes travel — to participate in your meeting.

It’s essential that everyone feels like they have the opportunity to participate. The best way to do this is by mentioning at the beginning of the meeting that you’d like everyone’s input throughout.

Make sure to keep an eye out for people who aren’t speaking up. If it seems like they may have something to contribute, ask them for their thoughts on the topic.

Also, make sure everyone knows that participation is critical. If you need to take a vote on something, remind people what the vote is about and why it matters.

Finally, make sure you’re speaking in terms that everyone in the room can understand. If there are people who are new to the organization, spend a moment explaining any acronyms you use.

This will allow everyone to feel like they can give their input with ease, leading to a more successful meeting.

7. Use visuals and brainstorming tools to communicate ideas

Having everyone on the same page is critical, even if they can’t be in the same room.

Here’s where visuals and collaboration platforms come in handy.

Using collaborative tools, like our brainstorming templates helps you organize work and removes some of the stress of coming up with ideas on the spot.

It also encourages people to provide input and makes them feel like they have a stake in the outcome.

For instance, you can use Miro’s Reverse Brainstorming template to come up with innovative ideas and display them in real-time. You can save the meeting content on the board too, so you can send it to participants after the meeting.

Miro's Reverse Brainstorming template screenshot

This can be especially useful if you have multiple participants in different locations involved at the same time. They may not be able to physically attend the meeting, but they can still provide valuable input.

Also, we provide you with a fully customizable strategic plan template .

Miro's strategic plan template screenshot

You can adapt this template to fit your exact business needs and standardize your meetings with ease.

You need to make sure your strategic planning meeting agenda is detailed and thorough enough to keep you on task.

Start with an overview of what you’ll be discussing, then move into individual department updates. This is where you highlight progress against targets.

Finally, spend some time outlining your organizational goals moving forward and, of course, always leave time for questions.

To help you better understand what a strategy planning session might look like in the real world, here’s a sample agenda:

  • 10am–11am: Welcome and meeting goals
  • 11am–12pm: Leadership team updates
  • 12pm–1pm: Department updates
  • 1pm–2pm: Lunch break
  • 2pm–3pm: Analyze challenges and problems
  • 3pm–4pm: Ideate solutions
  • 4pm–5pm: Discuss and gain consensus on solutions and goals
  • 5pm–6pm: Assign tasks and responsibilities for strategy execution
  • 6pm–7pm: Q&A

The best way to ensure your meeting runs smoothly and effectively is to prepare it with anticipation. By creating a clear agenda, you’re able to get the most out of your session.

Also, the use of visuals and brainstorming tools helps you collaborate with your team and communicate your critical points more effectively.

You can hold your planning meetings in a more visual way by creating a board and sharing with your team.

Also, you can use the strategic planning meeting template to get started with fewer headaches.

Want an action-oriented framework to help your team continuously improve?

Try the strategic planning template.

what is a strategic planning meeting

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What You Must Do (and NEVER do) During Strategic Meetings

Verne Harnish

To successfully scale a business, you’ll need to do three things effectively: preparation, execution, and follow-through. This isn’t something that just happens by chance for the lucky few. In helping companies scale up over three decades, I’ve found that those who execute the 10 Rockefeller Habits to engage their team in proper strategic planning will almost always experience improved growth, revenue, and profits. So what is strategic planning, and how does one plan a strategic planning session? Who should be involved in these strategic meetings, and what would be the meeting agenda? How often should you be running these strategic planning meetings? I’ll cover these questions and more in this article by sharing with you the key lessons on strategic planning from my books, Scaling Up and Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.

What is Strategic Planning and What is its Purpose?

strategic thinking and strategic planning processes

  • Strategic thinking, and
  • Execution planning  

Each activity requires very different teams and processes. Strategic thinking requires a handful of senior leaders meeting weekly (it’s not sufficient to do strategy work once a quarter or once a year). Rather than getting mired in operational issues, the main purpose of the strategic thinking team is to focus on discussing a few big strategic issues. The purpose of execution planning, in turn, is to implement the broader strategy. This requires the engagement of a much larger team. Some of the goals of execution planning include setting specific annual and quarterly priorities, outcomes, and KPIs. Add in both disciplined action and active learning activities and you have a simple Think, Plan, Act, Learn cycle of strategic planning. 

The cycle of strategic planning

It has been said that the shortest distance between two points is clarity , and this strategic planning cycle brings about clarity. With clarity, your organization knows exactly what to do, and how to do it, in order to get the results to achieve your goals. The next question is, how do you create an environment that supports a consistent strategic planning cycle of Think, Plan, Act, Learn? The answer lies in communication rhythms.

Creating the Communication Rhythms that Support Strategic Planning

Communication rhythms are the third habit in the 10 Rockefeller Habits checklist .

By establishing a communication rhythm, you’ll ensure that information moves through your organization accurately and quickly. The key is an effective daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual Meeting Rhythm. When executed properly, this actually saves everyone a tremendous amount of time. It’s counterintuitive, I know. But communication will become much more open and smooth, and your team will gain clarity and feedback from these strategic meetings. Here’s a breakdown of the strategic meetings you should be having to support the strategic planning cycle in your company:

  • Daily Huddle : All employees are in a daily huddle that lasts 5 - 15 minutes to track progress and bring out sticking points that are blocking your execution.
  • Weekly Meeting : All teams have a weekly meeting that lasts 60 - 90 minutes to review progress on the quarterly priorities and address one or two main topics.
  • Monthly Management Meeting : The executive managers meet for half a day or a full day of learning and resolving big issues.


For daily huddles, my advice is to have it at the same time, every day. It doesn’t have to be at the beginning of the day. Choose whatever time best fits the rhythm of your business, and make sure you always start the meeting on time, whether everyone is present or not. Weekly meetings should also be at the same time and place each week. Ideally, weekly meetings will end right before lunch or happy hour so executives can have a more informal setting in which to discuss issues that surface during the structured part of the meetings. Click on the following links if you’d like to know more about how to run daily huddles and weekly meetings . Below, I’ll be sharing the specific agendas to run in your strategic monthly and quarterly meetings which involve your executive team and middle managers.

How Do You Effectively Run A Strategic Planning Meeting?


When it comes to the monthly and quarterly meetings, it’s best if a specific rhythm is established (i.e., the second Friday and Saturday before the end of the quarter). The annual planning session is normally two to three days, while the quarterly sessions are one to two days. The first third of each planning session (day one of the annual planning session; three hours of a quarterly session) is spent reviewing the SWOT (optional), and the first three columns of the One Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) . This includes reviewing your Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG) and also updating the Functional Accountability Chart (FACe) tool and focus on the one functional position that needs support. The next third (day two of the annual planning session; afternoon of the quarterly session) is spent on the 1-year column of the OPSP, including a review of the company’s financials and using the CASh and Power of One worksheets to focus on ways to improve cash flow. The final third (day three of the annual session; day two of the quarterly) is focused on completing the entire right-hand page of the OPSP. Review the Process Accountability Chart (PACe) tool and choose one process to design or redesign that supports achieving the Critical Number (#1 Priority). Last, review the Rockefeller Habits Checklist and choose one or two of the 10 habits to execute (or execute better) the next quarter.

Sample of A Strategic Meeting Agenda

Day 1 : 17:30 - 18:00 — Reception/arrival 18:00 - 20:00 — Dinner (Snacks in Europe) 20:00 - 22:00 — Opening Session — Review core values and purpose stories, SWT, and host open discussion about the future (continue into the night!). 22:00 - ? — Dinner in Europe Day 2 : 8:30 - 10:00 — Opening Remarks by CEO, Good News Stories/OPPPs, and Top 3 Issues (what will make this a successful meeting for everyone) 10:30 - 12:00 — SWOT, FACe, and review first three columns of OPSP 13:30 - 15:00 — Review Annual column of OPSP 15:30 - 17:00 — CASh and Power of One 18:00 - ? — Dinner, finish up what didn’t get completed earlier (further work on 7 Strata) Day 3 : (invite middle management) 8:30 - 10:00 — Review previous day, and complete Quarterly column OPSP 10:30 - Noon — PACe (review key process supporting Quarterly Critical Number), 13:30 - 15:00 — Establish column 6 Quarterly Theme (leave for middle management to design/ drive) and review the Rockefeller Habits Checklist. Choose one or two areas for improvement. 15:30 - 17:00 — Everyone updates their own column 7 — individual KPIs, Critical Number, and Priorities. Then go around the room and have everyone share their Critical Number (top 1 priority for the quarter).

Important Ground Rules for Strategic Planning

“ When I go slow, I go fast ” notes the Chinese proverb. There is a tendency in planning sessions to rush through or ignore the Strengths, Weaknesses, and Trends along the bottom of the OPSP and the first two or three columns of the OPSP (Core Values, Purpose, BHAG, Sandbox, and Brand Promises), especially after team members feel like they’ve nailed down the decisions in previous sessions. However, spending sufficient time reviewing and updating the SWT and first three columns almost always makes the decisions in the Annual and Quarterly columns come more quickly and effortlessly . Trust me on this! You should also resist jumping in and reviewing the past quarter or year (columns 4 and 5 of the OPSP) in detail at the beginning of the meeting. Once you open that Pandora’s Box, it’s hard to get it shut. Teams tend to get sucked right into the minutia, getting caught up in the details and making it difficult to step back from the trees and talk more strategic about the direction of the firm.

I also advise you to plan in advance the key topics and issues to discuss during your strategic planning meetings .

A few weeks prior to the planning offsite, conduct an employee survey. Employees’ insights are helpful in determining quarterly or annual priorities since they are closer to the customers and are immersed in the daily processes of the business. Many firms use an online survey tool such as SurveyMonkey to make it easier to administer. I suggest three simple questions:

102 (2) (2)

  • What should (enter company name) start doing?
  • What should (enter company name) stop doing?
  • What should (enter company name) keep doing?

Along with employee feedback, formally gather customer input. At a minimum, ask them the same three “start, stop, and keep” questions. Finally, send out an email to those attending the planning session to ask them to send back the top three issues they feel MUST be addressed, explored or answered at the upcoming strategy meetings for them to feel it was a success.” Compile these for review at the beginning of the strategy meeting or just prior.

Strategic Planning in Action

Here’s a case study of how strategic planning helped one organization scale up. 

From Running a Small Company to a $750 Million Division

jack harrington2

“Everyone is building trust and relationships,” he says. “It’s tremendous because you’re not just getting together to discuss operations. You’re discussing strategy and debating the market, and that really brings out incredible insight and power.” 

For a practical way to learn how to apply these concepts into your current business while getting mentorship, peer-to-peer feedback, and customized support as you implement, check out my Scaling Up Master Business Course here .

Ready to Implement Effective Strategic Planning?

To inspire you, here’s a sample completed One-Page Strategic Plan that can result from effective strategic planning. This sample is for a fictitious company called TestCo.

To learn the step-by-step on how to use it read The Ultimate Guide To Complete A One-Page.

All the best for your strategic planning process!

one page strategic plan example 1

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Your Strategy Planning Meeting Agenda (with Template)

Have you been asked to pull together a strategy planning meeting agenda? And you’re wondering what other people do in their strategic planning sessions… I’ve been there!

In this article, I’ll explain what a strategic planning meeting can cover and share a sample agenda you can customize for your strategy sessions.

Strategy planning doesn’t just happen. You can’t put people in a room and expect there to be a 3-year plan at the end of it. The conversations need a structure to help keep the pace and ensure the meeting runs smoothly. And that’s where the agenda comes in, as part of your pre-meeting prep.

What should a strategic planning meeting include?

A strategic planning meeting should include:

  • A review of organizational objectives
  • An assessment of how you are doing against those objectives
  • Decisions around what needs to be sped up, slowed down, started or stopped in order to better align activity with the objectives.

If you think about the point of having a strategy discussion, it’s really to either define the strategy or to decide if you are on track with delivering the strategy . What you need to include in the meeting has to tie back to those points.

In other words, what do you want to get out of your strategic planning process? Is it a new strategic plan? An update to the last one because something drastic has changed? A review with some ‘light editing’ to ensure decisions are being taken that keep you on track to meet your goals?

What goes into your meeting (and therefore, your agenda) will very much depend on where you are in the strategy planning cycle.

When do strategic meetings happen?

There’s no fixed cadence for strategy conversations. Some businesses use quarterly meetings. Some might do a lot of planning during the existing structure of board meetings. As long as sufficient time is put aside for strategic thinking, you can set whatever frequency of meeting you like.

I would recommend quarterly review sessions, with a longer goal-setting session once a year, but do whatever works for you. If you are putting together your first strategy or doing a complete overhaul, you’ll need to spend a lot more time on it to get the strategic process set up and the relevant data collected.

Sample strategy planning meeting agenda template

Strategy meetings tend to be quite long. You might put a full day or even two aside for your planning. For that reason, it’s often better to do them in-person instead of remote, but these days do what works best for you and the team.

If you have to hold the workshop remotely, with people dialling in, make sure you schedule enough screen breaks.

Every effective meeting needs an agenda, and the great thing about strategic sessions is that you can tailor the agenda to cover the topics that would be the most valuable to wherever you are in the planning cycle. The strategic planning agenda below assumes you are meeting in-person, and is suitable for a strategic review session.

9.30am: Welcome

Use this time for introductions. Do an ice breaker exercise if your attendees won’t think it is cheesy (mine would). Share the meeting objectives and make it clear this is a strategic meeting so people don’t get carried away with the detail. Discuss ways of working e.g. no using mobile phones.

In my experience, the people attending strategy meetings are switched-on leaders who will carry themselves in a professional manner, so I wouldn’t worry too much about setting ground rules, but if you think they would value having some guardrails for acceptable behavior during the conversations, then by all means add that in.

10am: Big picture strategy

Present the overall roadmap, for example, a timeline for the 5 year plan. Make sure everyone is clear on where the organization is going and what big chunks make that up. For example, perhaps you have a couple of different portfolios that support the strategy.

You can use this time to talk about the current situation, the company’s strategy and how your department fits into that. This section should answer the question: where are we now?

Meetings template bundle contents

10.30am: Coffee break

Give people time for a bathroom break and to get something to drink.

10.45am: Progress review

Have each executive or leader in the room share their area’s progress against their area of the strategic plan. They can bring in team members to present specific topics if that would help, and if their expertise is needed as part of the debate.

These presentations don’t necessarily need to be formal, but they should cover what objectives the department is working to, how they link to the big picture strategy and whether they are on track. Talk about whether milestones are on track to be hit. Present the budget figures related to the area and the confidence levels around meeting those.

This section of the agenda might be long, depending on how many leaders you have to get round, so adjust the rest of the agenda to fit your timings. I’d suggest everyone gets 30 minutes but it depends on what you think they have to share and how much discussion there will be about each area. If possible, timebox the updates so you keep the meeting moving.

Alternative session: Where do we want to be?

If you haven’t got strategic progress to report, use this time to:

  • Brainstorm where you want to be
  • Agree where you are going
  • Create a vision for the next 3 years
  • Document the vision and mission.

12.45pm: Lunch break

Schedule in some time to eat and return calls.

1.30pm: Key issues

It’s worth parking the discussion of any major issues that affect multiple areas until after everyone has had a chance to present their updates, because then it’s easier to see the bigger picture and what might be affected.

Use this time to review anything that dropped out of the morning’s conversations. There might be new opportunities, challenges, resource constraints, market changes and more.

This section of your day should answer the question: what might stop us from getting where we want to go? Think about the values, skills, culture and risks that might block your progress.

2.30pm: Revise plans

After you’ve discussed the challenges or opportunities that present themselves, go back to the plans and see how that information affects what you are committing to do for the next period.

Agree changes as required. This part of your agenda answers the question: what do we need to do? If you do need to do anything differently in order to get back on track or head off in the right direction, this is where you should be discussing and agreeing.

3.30pm: Action planning

I like action planning! Strategy meetings should be all about decision-making, so you should ring-fence some time to talk about how to turn those decisions into action items . List out what needs to be done and allocate owners and timescales to each.

One thing that should definitely be on the action list is how you are going to communicate the decisions made today to everyone else in the team. Add them to the decision log . Make sure someone is responsible for creating and circulating meeting minutes.

This is an important part of the strategy meeting and it answers the question: how will we do it?

4.30pm: Any Other Business

Use this time for the ‘one last thing’ that people want to bring up.

5pm: Wrap up and close

Finally, wrap up the meeting, draw it to a close and if you are going to meet again, put the date in the diary. Then go down the pub!

example strategy agenda

Tailoring the strategy agenda

As you’ve probably realized, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy meeting agenda that will suit every need. If you are starting from scratch and are using the time to write your strategy, you’ll need to put time aside for brainstorming new ideas, a presentation of market research analysis or feedback from customer focus groups.

If you are reviewing the projects that make up the strategy, you might bring each project manager in to present their project, before discussing as a team what initiatives need to be brought into the portfolio to ensure the strategic goals can be met.

The important thing is to always go back to the why: why are you meeting and what do you want to get out of the time? You can’t go wrong if you start there.

5 Considerations for a strategy planning workshop

So you’re ready to draw up that meeting agenda. Here’s what to consider before you get going.

1. Set the objective

I like to write the objective for any meeting at the top of the agenda. It helps focus people’s minds and keeps the conversation on track. Think about what you are meeting for and what the leadership teams are expecting to get out of it. Here are some examples:

  • To define the 5-year growth plan for the organization
  • To establish the projects we want to focus on to meet our strategic goals for the next 12 months
  • To review the new products we intend to bring to market in the next 3 years
  • To set the IT agenda for the next 24 months

You can hold strategic planning workshops for departments, teams or for the business overall. You can plan for the long term or adopt a rolling wave planning approach to plan ongoing. So which is it for you?

2. Let people know what is going to happen

Set expectations for the meeting. Let people know what contributions are expected from them. What do they need to prep in advance? Ask them for their agenda items – you might not include them as ‘real’ agenda items but it would help to know what talking points they intend to bring up.

Share any papers, timelines, business cases, strategy documents etc that make useful background reading. The more ready people are to contribute, the more you will get done during the meeting.

3. Prepare for conflict

As the meeting facilitator, you’ll have a good idea of the topics that will come up. And the potential flashpoints. For example, there are always conversations about budget. Doing anything strategic seems to cost a lot, and investing in one area means another area doesn’t get the investment.

Try to spot any sources of potential disputes in advance so you have pre-meeting conversations to manage expectations and ensure everyone comes to the session with an open mind (and the data to support their case). Healthy debates are to be encouraged!

Think about how to resolve conflict as a team if you can’t get to consensus. There are several group decision-making techniques you could try. In my experience, it’s often the most senior person in the room who makes the final call – strategy is not always a team game. It might not feel fair, but there are often political, economic, commercial and environmental reasons for decisions that might not always be clear to everyone in the room.

Whatever you think the outcome might be, have a few phrases to help facilitate the debate if it seems attendees are getting stuck. For example:

“Ultimately, it’s Fiona’s decision. Fiona, what do you want us to do?” “Let’s continue this conversation for another 10 minutes and if we aren’t able to reach a decision at that point, I suggest that Henry and Priya book some time to review and come back to us with a recommendation next week.” “IT are the guardians of that process. Do you agree to that approach?”

4. Prepare to go off script

I’ve been in strat planning meetings where we started with an agenda and then went totally off script… and the output was all the better for it. It’s great to have an agenda, and the template above gives you a starting point, but if it feels like the right thing to do is to delve into a particular area, then do it.

Strategy is too important to shortcut. If it feels like the meeting is taking longer, just say: “This feels like an important topic. Is everyone OK with staying with it for a little longer?” or “That isn’t something we were going to cover today but it sounds like it’s important that we get into it. Does everyone agree?”

Talk about what needs to be talked about. Strategy work takes time. The agenda is there as a guide but sometimes you just need to get it all out on the table.

5. Define success

What would a successful meeting look like? Sometimes it’s going to be OK to just talk and debate until you get to the heart of your strategy. Other times you might want to go all in on a brainstorming session and success will look like 20 new ideas.

It might be that you want to gain agreement on three new projects or prepare an update to go to the next board meeting. Think about what would constitute a successful outcome and try to guide people towards that.

Your next steps

  • Agree the goals of your strategy meeting
  • Write the agenda
  • Socialize some of the ideas
  • Adequately prepare for the session so you feel ready to facilitate it

In this article you learned what to include in your strategy planning meeting agenda and what considerations go into planning a successful strategy workshop. Don’t forget to grab a free action log template to record all the good stuff that comes out of your meeting. I hope it goes really well for you!

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strategy planning meeting agenda

Project manager, author, mentor

Elizabeth Harrin is a Fellow of the Association for Project Management in the UK. She holds degrees from the University of York and Roehampton University, and several project management certifications including APM PMQ. She first took her PRINCE2 Practitioner exam in 2004 and has worked extensively in project delivery for over 20 years. Elizabeth is also the founder of the Project Management Rebels community, a mentoring group for professionals. She's written several books for project managers including Managing Multiple Projects .

How to hold effective strategic planning meetings

A photo of people working together around a desk in an office

Holding a strategic planning meeting is a critical step in setting the goals and direction of a team, company, or organization. It is important to plan ahead and make sure that all stakeholders are included in this process.

In this post, we’ll go over the basics of how to facilitate a successful strategic planning meeting, including resources to help you brainstorm, collect and organize feedback and get alignment on action items:

What is strategic planning?

How to facilitate a strategic planning meeting.

  • Strategic planning session checklist

Templates for your next strategic planning workshop

Once the agenda, participants, ideas, and outcomes have been established and documented, it is important to review and follow up on the established goals. This can be done through regular meetings, as well as through tracking progress and to ensure that you're achieving your desired outcomes.

Strategic planning is a process that helps an organization or company to set goals, develop strategies, and allocate resources to achieve those goals. It involves setting objectives, determining actions, and evaluating the progress of those actions. Often, these categories can be broken down into 5 concrete steps:

  • Define your vision
  • Assess where you are
  • Determine your priorities and objectives
  • Define responsibilities
  • Measure and evaluate results

Learn more about each of the above steps in our post on the 5 steps of the strategic planning process .

Strategic planning allows an organization to develop a shared vision for the future and create a roadmap for how to get there. In short, it’s a vital tool for all organizations, whether large or small.

When running a strategic planning meeting, it is important to set an agenda , identify the participants, and ensure that everyone is on the same page about the goals and objectives of the meeting.

Next, run an icebreaker or warmup to get everyone engaged and your ideas flowing — this also helps to ensure that everyone in attendance has a chance to contribute their ideas and perspectives.

Related: Psychological safety: a critical element for imagination work

Once your participants are warmed up and ready to go, it’s time to get into the heart of the meeting. Here again, the goals and objectives determine the best path when facilitating your meeting:

  • Brainstorming : Is it a brainstorming session to help determine project goals and OKRs ? If so, what kind of brainstorming approach best fits your topic? For example, it can be useful to start from a template like a vision board when at the outset of a new project.
  • Understanding : If you’re looking to drive better cross-functional understanding , use a template like a stakeholder map to see where roles and priorities may overlap, and what working relationships need to be established.
  • Evaluating : If you’re in the middle of a project, using a built to help you evaluate your workflows and find ways to improve can ensure that you’re well positioned to deliver on your objectives.
  • Empathizing : Are you trying to better empathize with a customer, or look for weak points in a user journey? Using a template for empathy and discovery can be the best way to frame your discussion.

Finally, it is essential to ensure that the outcomes of the meeting are documented and followed up on. With careful planning and preparation, a strategic planning meeting can be a valuable tool for setting the direction of any organization.

Strategic planning meeting checklist:

1. Set an agenda for the strategic planning meeting ‍

It is important to set an agenda for the strategic planning meeting to ensure that there is a shared understanding of the goals and objectives of the meeting.

2. Make sure participants are on the same page about the goals and objectives of the meeting ‍

Plan to take a few minutes to get alignment with meeting participants at the outset of a meeting to ensure that everyone is aligned and understands the goals and objectives of the meeting.

3. Begin by going over the agenda and including an icebreaker or warmup exercise

Beginning a meeting with an icebreaker helps to ensure that everyone is engaged and ready to contribute their ideas and perspectives.

4. Set expectations and ground rules

It is important to establish meeting ground rules in order to create an environment of respect and psychological safety, where everyone feels comfortable to contribute their ideas and perspectives.

5. Ensure everyone in attendance has a chance to contribute their ideas and perspectives

Make sure to have a diverse set of ideas and voices participating in your meeting in order to ensure that all perspectives and solutions are taken into consideration.

6. Document the outcomes of the meeting and follow up on them

Having a process for documenting meeting outcomes and following up on any action items is essential for ensuring that your strategic planning meeting is impactful.

When conducting pre-work for your next strategic planning meeting, templates can greatly speed the process of building out your frameworks (as well as helpful in ensuring that you’ve got all the bases covered).

Create a strategy blueprint

An image of the Mural strategy blueprint template

The Mural strategy blueprint template is an invaluable tool, crafted to help you brainstorm and analyze six core elements of your strategy. By using this template, you can effectively address your challenges and develop ideas to reach your desired outcome, while exploring your options and trying different alternatives.

It provides a perfect platform to explore multiple solutions, enabling you to pick the one that best suits your needs, while still enabling you to be creative in finding viable solutions. The template offers you an opportunity to think outside the box and develop innovative ideas to tackle your strategy’s most pressing issues. Ultimately, this template allows you to take control of your strategy and create a blueprint for success.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

An image of the Mural SWOT analysis template

When assessing where you stand, a SWOT analysis is a great format to brainstorm with your team.

A SWOT analysis is an important exercise where you can evaluate your current situation and better understand the potential opportunities and threats that may arise. It requires you to carefully analyze the internal and external environment in which your initiative or product exists.

  • When engaging in a SWOT analysis, you must identify your strengths — what are your unique strengths for this particular initiative or product? In what ways are you a leader? Additionally, you must identify any weaknesses — what weaknesses can you identify in your offering? How does your product compare to others in the marketplace?
  • It is also important to identify any opportunities — are there areas for improvement that would help differentiate your business? Finally, you must consider any potential threats — beyond weaknesses, are there existing or potential threats to your initiative that could limit or prevent its success? How can those be anticipated?

By engaging in a thorough and thoughtful SWOT analysis, you can gain valuable insight into the potential success of your initiative or product and be better prepared to respond to any obstacles that may arise.

It’s time for kickoff!

what is a strategic planning meeting

To realize your vision, prioritize and outline specific objectives to achieve your goals. Once you have defined your vision and assessed your current situation, you can begin outlining and ranking your priorities and the objectives associated with them.

Use the Mural project kickoff template to capture everything up front, and give you an easy, shared reference point to return to as you analyze outcomes.

Strategic planning is a process that helps an organization or company to set goals, develop strategies, and allocate resources to achieve those goals. It involves setting objectives, determining actions, and evaluating the progress of those actions.

This post outlines the basics of how to facilitate a successful strategic planning meeting, including resources to help you brainstorm, collect and organize feedback, and get alignment on action items. But

Get started today with a Mural Free Forever account , and use any of our hundreds of (free and editable) templates to make your next strategic planning meeting more engaging and impactful.

About the authors

Bryan Kitch

Bryan Kitch

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Planning a Strategy Meeting? Read This First

By Anthony Taylor - December 21, 2017

SME Strategy is a  strategy consulting firm  that specializes in helping organizations align their teams and operations around a shared vision, mission, values, goals, and action plans. Our   strategic planning services  offer guidance on how a  strategic planning facilitator   can provide support in constructing an effective strategic plan that ensures your strategy is  communicated and implemented  across your entire organization.

Have you been asked to lead your team's next strategy meeting?

It's a condition that affects millions of managers every year. 

Symptoms include: Worry, concern, anxiety, and Googling any information they can to point them in the right direction.

Don't worry - you aren't alone.

At SME Strategy, we have created a breakthrough therapy to help managers with UMS (upcoming meeting syndrome) and have put together these tips and resources to help you overcome your anxiety and stress:

  • Strategy meeting agendas:  One day strategy meeting agenda, two day strategy meeting agenda, and virtual strategy session agenda . Use these as a guide for your strategic planning meeting. Keep in mind that these are accelerated agenda's and are best used with a trained   strategic planning facilitator .
  • Strategic planning questions : 15 questions to think about before you have your strategic planning session.
  • Overview of the strategic planning process
  • Strategic planning frameworks   to set the foundation for your strategic plan.
  • How to do Scenario planning

Best Practices and tips for your strategic planning session:

Take five of these and you'll be better in the morning. 

We can help you align your team around a clear vision, mission, values, goals and action plans,

s o you can lead your organization more effectively and get better results.

Book a call to discuss your options

  • Do the pre-work: Your strategic planning session is an opportunity to have multiple managers in a room to make important decisions about the future of the organization. Time should be spend discussing and sharing, and not on reporting out. Reports can be sent out in advance, and time can be used discussing and clarifying.  Also, if you have key questions to ask: What do your think our Strengths/weaknesses are? What is your 5 year vision? Ask those before the session so they have time to think. Not everyone does well thinking on their feet.
  • Get alignment and agreement on your vision first: Nothing happens without a common vision/a common place to get to. Get everyone to share their vision and move your team from thinking you're on the same page by having a vision that's implied, to knowing your team is on the same page and having the vision and future be explicit.  You'll leave your strategic planning meeting with one big win right away and it will sustain the work that needs to be done after.
  • You don't have to chase people to get their work done after the planning session: Your vision should create a future that people  want  to create, such that doing the work that's required is something that they want to do, and that before leaving the session, something they have taken responsibility for. Don't leave the session without prioritized action items and accountabilities for each item/milestone. That's the promise they are giving their colleagues that they will get it done.
  • Share what you got from the meeting with the rest of the team: Communication within an organization is the lifeblood of your employees. If they don't know where the company is going and where the focus is, how do you expect them to contribute? Worse, if they don't know what's going on they will wonder why they are kept out of the loop and they won't ask you. They will ask their coworkers, and that starts causing unnecessary concerns. Share your plan, and pull them into it. It's not your plan; it's their plan. Share the results from your strategic planning session and take the next steps from there.

If you have questions about what to do next, leave them in the comments and check out our   YouTube channel for more walkthroughs.


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Why Is Strategic Planning Important?

Above view of team creating a strategic plan

  • 06 Oct 2020

Do you know what your organization’s strategy is? How much time do you dedicate to developing that strategy each month?

If your answers are on the low side, you’re not alone. According to research from Bridges Business Consultancy , 48 percent of leaders spend less than one day per month discussing strategy.

It’s no wonder, then, that 48 percent of all organizations fail to meet at least half of their strategic targets. Before an organization can reap the rewards of its business strategy, planning must take place to ensure its strategy remains agile and executable .

Here’s a look at what strategic planning is and how it can benefit your organization.

Access your free e-book today.

What Is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is the ongoing organizational process of using available knowledge to document a business's intended direction. This process is used to prioritize efforts, effectively allocate resources, align shareholders and employees on the organization’s goals, and ensure those goals are backed by data and sound reasoning.

It’s important to highlight that strategic planning is an ongoing process—not a one-time meeting. In the online course Disruptive Strategy , Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen notes that in a study of HBS graduates who started businesses, 93 percent of those with successful strategies evolved and pivoted away from their original strategic plans.

“Most people think of strategy as an event, but that’s not the way the world works,” Christensen says. “When we run into unanticipated opportunities and threats, we have to respond. Sometimes we respond successfully; sometimes we don’t. But most strategies develop through this process. More often than not, the strategy that leads to success emerges through a process that’s at work 24/7 in almost every industry.”

Strategic planning requires time, effort, and continual reassessment. Given the proper attention, it can set your business on the right track. Here are three benefits of strategic planning.

Related: 4 Ways to Develop Your Strategic Thinking Skills

Benefits of Strategic Planning

1. create one, forward-focused vision.

Strategy touches every employee and serves as an actionable way to reach your company’s goals.

One significant benefit of strategic planning is that it creates a single, forward-focused vision that can align your company and its shareholders. By making everyone aware of your company’s goals, how and why those goals were chosen, and what they can do to help reach them, you can create an increased sense of responsibility throughout your organization.

This can also have trickle-down effects. For instance, if a manager isn’t clear on your organization’s strategy or the reasoning used to craft it, they could make decisions on a team level that counteract its efforts. With one vision to unite around, everyone at your organization can act with a broader strategy in mind.

2. Draw Attention to Biases and Flaws in Reasoning

The decisions you make come with inherent bias. Taking part in the strategic planning process forces you to examine and explain why you’re making each decision and back it up with data, projections, or case studies, thus combatting your cognitive biases.

A few examples of cognitive biases are:

  • The recency effect: The tendency to select the option presented most recently because it’s fresh in your mind
  • Occam’s razor bias: The tendency to assume the most obvious decision to be the best decision
  • Inertia bias: The tendency to select options that allow you to think, feel, and act in familiar ways

One cognitive bias that may be more difficult to catch in the act is confirmation bias . When seeking to validate a particular viewpoint, it's the tendency to only pay attention to information that supports that viewpoint.

If you’re crafting a strategic plan for your organization and know which strategy you prefer, enlist others with differing views and opinions to help look for information that either proves or disproves the idea.

Combating biases in strategic decision-making requires effort and dedication from your entire team, and it can make your organization’s strategy that much stronger.

Related: 3 Group Decision-Making Techniques for Success

3. Track Progress Based on Strategic Goals

Having a strategic plan in place can enable you to track progress toward goals. When each department and team understands your company’s larger strategy, their progress can directly impact its success, creating a top-down approach to tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) .

By planning your company’s strategy and defining its goals, KPIs can be determined at the organizational level. These goals can then be extended to business units, departments, teams, and individuals. This ensures that every level of your organization is aligned and can positively impact your business’s KPIs and performance.

It’s important to remember that even though your strategy might be far-reaching and structured, it must remain agile. As Christensen asserts in Disruptive Strategy , a business’s strategy needs to evolve with the challenges and opportunities it encounters. Be prepared to pivot your KPIs as goals shift and communicate the reasons for change to your organization.

Which HBS Online Strategy Course is Right for You? | Download Your Free Flowchart

Improve Your Strategic Planning Skills

Strategic planning can benefit your organization’s vision, execution, and progress toward goals. If strategic planning is a skill you’d like to improve, online courses can provide the knowledge and techniques needed to lead your team and organization.

Strategy courses can range from primers on key concepts (such as Economics for Managers ), to deep-dives on strategy frameworks (such as Disruptive Strategy ), to coursework designed to help you strategize for a specific organizational goal (such as Sustainable Business Strategy ).

Learning how to craft an effective, compelling strategic plan can enable you to not only invest in your career but provide lasting value to your organization.

Do you want to formulate winning strategies for your organization? Explore our portfolio of online strategy courses and download the free flowchart to determine which is the best fit for you and your goals.

what is a strategic planning meeting

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How to Plan an Effective Strategic Planning Meeting


What Is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is defining the vision for your organization’s future and developing an action plan to accomplish that goal. Planning sets priorities, directs energy and resources, assesses performance, and ensures everyone works towards a common goal.

The success of a strategic planning session relies on more than gathering a team and facilitator in one place. A strategic planning meeting requires clear action items to carve the path forward.

What Is a Strategic Plan?

Strategic plan steps

A strategic plan outlines and communicates an organization’s goals and actions to achieve them. Typically, a strategic plan includes short-term objectives, long-term goals, vision, measurements of success, and a timeline.

What’s the Purpose of Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning aims to take a step back from the day-to-day and determine the broader development and direction you want to go in. Strategic planning is an important business practice for several reasons:

  • Helps company leaders identify goals and objectives that will lead their teams in the right direction
  • Receive feedback and other important information from attendees, including executives, stakeholders, and team members.
  • Encourages team members to work together to think strategically, resolve problems, and develop new ideas on how to improve the organization.

Who Needs to Be Included?

Having the right people in the room for a session is key for a successful strategy meeting. First, having great leadership is critical to help the meeting run smoothly. Include at least one person from each department and upper management. It can also be beneficial to bring in outside parties to give the organization a fresh perspective.

Best Practices to Prepare for a Strategic Planning Session

what is a strategic planning meeting

It’s important not to rush the planning process. Give attendees ample time to prepare for the meeting and collect whatever information and documents they need to discuss and demonstrate their ideas. Send an agenda to the appropriate parties, including the leadership team, management team, stakeholders, and other participants.

Here’s a look at some of the best practices for effective meeting facilitation:

1. Choose an Offsite Venue

Choose an appropriate venue for the meeting. The venue should be large enough to accommodate all attendees comfortably, with room to spare for collaboration tools, such as whiteboard walls for brainstorming and strategizing. Consider booking a meeting space at Roam to hold a successful strategic planning retreat. This could be a monthly, bi-monthly, or annual retreat where team members communicate, collaborate, and adopt a decision-making process.

2. Select the Facilitator

Facilitation of a strategic planning meeting requires a strong leader with good communication skills. The facilitator is responsible for creating the agenda, gathering content materials, and arriving early to the retreat to ensure that materials are in place and the setup is correct. A facilitator could be someone on your team who will also be in attendance or an outside party whose sole job is to facilitate.

3. Choose a Meeting Coordinator

A meeting coordinator is in charge of handling the logistics of the meeting. This person should ensure that all attendees have made the appropriate travel arrangements, that all participants are aware of any preparation required for the session, and that the conference room has been booked and set up for the meeting.

4. Develop a Strategic Planning Process

During the meeting, you’ll want to welcome participants to discuss strategic issues and have meaningful discussions about the company’s goals, objectives, and vision. Remind attendees that no idea is too small and that open and engaging discussion is critical for effective brainstorming. Consider what strategic direction you want to start with and develop a transparent planning process that flows smoothly.

5. Outline Your Meeting Goals and Objectives

Key strategies cannot be achieved without proper planning. All team members need to take accountability and share how they can aid in the implementation of new ideas and strategies.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are you going to do? Get a clear idea of what will occur during the meeting and what goals and objectives must be met within a specific time period for the success of the organization.
  • How will you do it? Team members can share ideas and strategies for meeting these goals and objectives while remaining within budget and in the chosen timeframe.
  • Why are you doing it? Consider the importance of meeting these goals and objectives and the benefits they can have for the business.

6. Create an Agenda

Meetings can quickly go astray when there is no clear agenda or the leadership team fails to stick to the plan. As most entrepreneurs know, an agenda can be invaluable when discussing important topics, milestones, and questions. When putting together an agenda, try to keep it short and be selective about topics. Develop a contingency plan if the schedule falls through.

How to Run an Effective Strategic Planning Meeting

Every professional facilitator wants to run an effective meeting that leads to results, and there are many aspects that go into running a productive board retreat. Here are some essential steps to take if you’re holding a strategic planning meeting:

1. Define a Goal for the Meeting

It’s important to have a primary goal for the meeting. No executive or board member should walk into the meeting not knowing the goals and objectives of the session or what they can expect during the meeting. Maybe your goal is to develop a new product or better align your social media with your company’s marketing strategies. It can also be useful to establish specific strategy planning meeting themes, such as “innovation.”

2. Engage Participants

Engaging participants as a group can sometimes be difficult, especially if they do not work together regularly. Start by breaking the ice with some friendly conversation, or start with an icebreaker activity. You could also ask participants to complete an activity that requires them to interact with one another. A common consensus with smaller meetings is that everyone should begin by introducing themselves.

3. Set a Clear Agenda and Expectations

Set clear expectations for the meeting to ensure that all participants can prepare in advance. The agenda should include these expectations and provide attendees with the information they need to be productive. Assign roles so everyone knows their responsibilities during the meeting and use timelines to ensure that goals are met in a specified timeframe.

4. Celebrate Your Progress

A great meeting should be celebrated. During the session, be sure to take plenty of breaks and celebrate the progress you have made. At Roam, meeting room attendees have access to a full-service, onsite coffee bar that serves a variety of snacks and lite bites. Roam also offers curated packages to elevate your meetings, such as access to catering menus for all occasions and dietary restrictions.

5. Get Input from Everyone Involved

Everyone should have a voice during the strategic planning meeting. Allow each attendee the chance to discuss their thoughts and ideas for the company while still adhering to the agenda. Have one person jot down these ideas during the meeting so that they can be reviewed at a later time. A great leader will ensure that everyone gets input while staying on track.

6. Use Visuals and Brainstorming Tools

Access to the right visuals and brainstorming tools can help to better communicate ideas in a way that everyone can understand. Visuals and collaborative tools also help you organize your work and relieve the stress of coming up with ideas on the spot. Leaders can also use these visuals to encourage team members to give their input and get involved in the brainstorming process.

7. Develop a Strategic Plan

There are several steps involved in developing a strategic plan for an upcoming session. Start by determining your strategic position. Having a strategic priority sets the foundation for all work going forward. Next, prioritize your objectives and develop a series of steps for meeting these goals. You’ll then need to create a plan for executing and managing the plan, followed by a final review and revising.

8. Determine How You Will Accomplish the Objectives in Your Plan

Creating a list of goals and objectives to meet is just the start. Teams must also determine strategic solutions for accomplishing these objectives. This typically consists of creating smaller milestones that must be met within certain limitations, such as budget and timeframe constraints. Everyone involved should know their roles and responsibilities for accomplishing these objectives. Following up with attendees after the meeting is key to keeping goals on track.

Book an Offsite Meeting with Roam

what is a strategic planning meeting

An effective strategic planning meeting can boost business performance, align team members, and strengthen the company’s position in the industry. Roam makes it easy to host these important meetings by providing companies with access to unique and all-inclusive meeting rooms for businesses of all sizes.

From complimentary tech amenities to an on-site team available to help you with your daily needs, Roam is here to assist with stress-free planning so you can focus on the important things. View available meeting rooms today or request a room online .

11 Steps To Run A Successful Strategic Management Meeting

11 Steps To Run A Successful Strategic Management Meeting

Jane Ng • 16 Feb 2023 • 8 min read

A strategic management meeting is one of the best methods that help high-performance teams review and improve work quality as well as productivity to create the best results for the business. This article will give you everything you need to know about a strategic management meeting and how to open a meeting effectively. 

  • #1 – What is a strategic management meeting?
  • #2 – The benefits of a strategic management meeting?
  • #4 – Who should attend a strategic management meeting? 
  • #3 – How to run a strategic management meeting (SMM Plan)? 

What is a Strategic Management Meeting?

The strategic management meeting (SMM) is a management model that focuses on the overall management strategy of a company, which includes process management, budget, quality, standards, and suppliers to evaluate work efficiency and business performance.  (Ref: General Service Administration )

what is a strategic planning meeting

This meeting may take place every quarter and may need data collected from a marketing strategy meeting, business strategy meeting, or sales strategy meeting.

In short, the purpose of strategic meetings is to find out how to most effectively use a company’s resources to meet specific goals and objectives.

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  • All-hands meeting guide
  • Town hall meeting guide

A strategic management meeting not only helps attendees be more proactive with their work from arriving on time, preparing documents, questions to ask during strategic planning but also brings 5 benefits as follows:

Reduce Costs

Many organizations have switched to the strategic management meeting framework. Because the SMM plan helps companies now use low-cost (even free) tools and services to cross-analyze data between meetings to see what works, what doesn’t, and what can do well. 

This help to spend, allocate and invest resources as wisely and efficiently as possible.

Save Time and Energy

Planning effective meetings allow departments or participants to understand the purpose of the strategic discussion and what they need to prepare and contribute.

For example, what documents they will bring, what figures to present, and what tasks or solutions to be drawn after the meeting.

Breaking down tasks to prepare for the meeting saves a lot of time and effort by not being rambling or becoming a criticism of whose fault but forgetting the purpose of the meeting.

Boosts Negotiating Power

what is a strategic planning meeting

During the meeting, arguments or disagreements will not be avoided. But this boosts team members’ negotiating power by having to discuss and figure out the best solution to solve problems for customers and businesses. You might be surprised to find an excellent negotiator on your team!

Manage Risks 

No one wants to attend a meeting that will be cancelled midway because there is no data or problem-solving.

Therefore, Follow up meeting means everyone needs to plan, collect, and deliver data from past meetings, analyze that data and help translate that analysis into actionable next steps. These activities make sure to manage risks better. Or even make the meeting more productive or more goal-oriented than the last. 

Keep A Close Eye On Budgets and Resources

Conducting effective team meetings will be able to monitor and adjust resources and make informed budget decisions. Strategy review meetings will help highlight departments or programs that may need additional funding to be successful. They are also a good place to see if you need to increase/decrease your budget or your workforce.

Who should attend a strategic management meeting? 

The people required to appear at the meeting will be leaders such as the CEO (Managing Director, Executive Director, City Manager, etc.) and the project’s direct manager.

Key players are required to have a say in planning, but not everyone is literally at the table.

what is a strategic planning meeting

Too many people in the room can lead to stress, chaos, and confusion. If you have multiple people who want to be involved in this process, include them in a way like Gathering employee opinions through surveys and charging someone in the meeting to ensure this data gets to the table and is considered part of the process.

How to run a strategic management meeting (SMM Plan)? 

Meeting preparation.

Remember to follow these guidelines for planning a meeting with 4 steps:

  • Schedule A Time and Collect The Necessary Data/Report

Schedule and be sure to invite all leaders and key employees who are required to attend this meeting. Make sure the people in the room are people who can actively participate in the meeting.

At the same time, collect the necessary data, and reports, update status indicators, and even questions to be answered in the meeting. Make sure submissions aren’t too close to the meeting date so everyone can go through the most recent data and write an analysis on emerging trends or issues.

what is a strategic planning meeting

  • Plan Agenda Template

An agenda helps you and the participants stay on track. Meeting agenda ideas will ensure answers to the questions:

  • Why do we have this meeting?
  • What do we need to accomplish when the meeting is over?
  • What are the next steps we should take?

Remember that a strategic management meeting agenda can be like a review of goals, measures, and initiatives, validating the strategy, and continuing current strategic direction and projects.

Here’s a sample agenda:

  • 9.00 AM – 9.30 AM: Overview of the purpose of the meeting
  • 9.30 AM – 11.00 AM: Re-evaluate the whole process
  • 1.00 PM – 3.00 PM: Departments and Leaders Updates
  • 3.00 – 4.00 PM: Outstanding Issues
  • 4.00 PM – 5.00 PM: Solutions Given
  • 5.00 PM – 6.00 PM: Actions Plan
  • 6.00 PM – 6.30 PM: QnA Session
  • 6.30 PM – 7.00 PM: Wrap-up
  • Set The Ground Rules

You can set rules for everyone to prepare before the meeting.

For example, if they cannot attend, they must send an assistant instead. 

Or attendees must keep order, respect the speaker, do not interrupt (etc.)

what is a strategic planning meeting

  • Monthly All-hands meetings

As mentioned above, a strategic management conference is a big event, usually held every quarter. So, if you want your staff to become familiar with this practice and be as prepared as possible. You need to review the meeting and organize monthly all-hands meetings to update staff with any new announcements not fit for email and to set company goals and track progress towards existing ones.

  • Perform Project kick-off meeting

If an all-hands meeting will help staff get acquainted and prepare data for strategic management then a project kick-off meeting is the first meeting between the client who ordered a project and the company that will bring it to life. This meeting will only need key players to discuss the foundations of the project, its purpose, and its goals.

The Meeting

  • Define Meeting Purpose and Desired Outcomes

A strategic planning meeting can completely go wrong if it is held without giving everyone defined goals and demanding outputs. That’s why the first step is to define a clear, tangible goal for the meeting.

what is a strategic planning meeting

Some examples of clear goals:

  • A strategy on social media to reach a younger audience. 
  • A plan to develop a new product, a new feature.

You can also set specific strategic management meeting topics as part of your goals, such as business growth in the second half of the year.

Be as specific as possible with your goal. That way, it is easier for everyone to keep working and make the right decisions.

  • Break The Ice 

With the change in the way of working after two years of the pandemic, companies must always be ready with virtual meetings and traditional meetings combined. People communicating via computer screens while others are sitting at the office will sometimes make your co-workers feel less excited and disconnected.

Therefore, you need a virtual team meeting icebreakers and bonding activities at the beginning of the meeting to warm up the atmosphere.

  • Make The Meeting Interactive

An effective business meeting requires communication and collaboration from all attendees. So you can also assign a task list to specific departments in your company to discuss in the form of virtual team meeting games , quizzes, or brainstorming sessions.

These activities must encourage open and honest dialogue about the challenges your company is facing. If possible, break down any barriers that might stand in the way of progress.

Be sure to prepare adequate strategy documents, provide regular updates on progress, and discuss strategic issues in real time.

  • Identify Potential Challenges

What happens if the meeting goes beyond the allotted time? What if the leadership team has to be absent to deal with other unexpected issues? If everyone is busy blaming others and not getting the desired outputs?

Please list all possible risks with solutions to prepare well!

For example, consider using a countdown timer for specific agenda items or presentations. 

  • Use Online Tools 

Using images and tools is a must today in a meeting if you want to communicate ideas easily and quickly. Reports and statistics will also be presented visually and are easy to understand thanks to these tools. It also encourages people to provide input and helps you make quick decisions by getting real-time feedback. You can find free tools and template providers like AhaSlide, Miro, and Google Slide.

For example, Use Interactive Presentations and tools like polls and surveys to generate creative ideas and display them in real time.

what is a strategic planning meeting

  • Wrap-up with Town Hall Meeting format 

Let’s wrap up the meeting with a Q&A session in T own Hall Meeting format.

Participants can raise the questions they want and get instant answers from leaders. It proves that leaders are not just faceless decision-makers, but are thoughtful thinkers who not only put the company’s interests first but also think about the interests of their employees.

  • Tips for facilitating a Strategic Management Meeting

In addition to the steps above, here are some small notes to help you how to organize a strategic planning session better:

  • Make sure everyone is participating in the discussion.
  • Make sure everyone is actively listening.
  • Make sure everyone applies their teamwork skills.
  • Work to narrow the options down as little as possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to call for a vote to see the level of opinion and consensus.
  • Be creative! Strategic planning is a time to explore creativity and see the reactions and solutions to situations of the whole team.

To run a successful strategic management meeting. You must prepare well every step from people, documents, data, and tools. Provide an agenda and stick with it so participants know what they are going to do and what tasks will be given. 

AhaSlide hopes to provide all the answers to your questions about how to lead a strategic planning session. Hope you enjoy the tips and assist techniques outlined in this article for keeping a Strategic Management Meetings and group activities active and productive whether offline or online.

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what is a strategic planning meeting

The Strategic Planning Process in 4 Steps

To assist you throughout your planning process, we have created a how-to guide on the basics of strategic planning which will take you through the planning process step-by-step..

Free Strategic Planning Guide

What is Strategic Planning?

Strategic Planning is a process where organizations define a bold vision and create a plan with objectives and goals to reach that future. A great strategic plan defines where your organization is going, how you’ll win, who must do what, and how you’ll review and adapt your strategy.


Overview of the complete strategic planning process:

Getting started: strategic planning introduction.

The strategic management process is about getting from Point A to Point B more effectively, efficiently, and enjoying the journey and learning from it. Part of that journey is the strategy and part of it is execution. Having a good strategy dictates “how” you travel the road you have selected and effective execution makes sure you are checking in along the way. On average, this process can take between three and four months. However no one organization is alike and you may decide to fast track your process or slow it down. Move at a pace that works best for you and your team and leverage this as a resource. For more of a deep dive look into each part of the planning phase, you will see a link to the detailed How-To Guide at the top of each phase.

Strategic Planning Guide and Process

Phase Duration

1-2 weeks (1 hr meeting with Owner/CEO, Strategy Director and Facilitator (if necessary) to discuss information collected and direction for continued planning.)

Questions to Ask:

  • Who is on your Planning Team?
  • Who will be the business process owner (Strategy Director) of planning in your organization?
  • Fast forward 12 months from now, what do you want to see differently in your organization as a result of embarking on this initiative?
  • Planning team members are informed of their roles and responsibilities.
  • Planning schedule is established.
  • Existing planning information and secondary data collected.

Action Grid:


Step 1: Determine Organizational Readiness

Set up your planning process for success – questions to ask:.

  • Are the conditions and criteria for successful planning in place at the current time? Can certain pitfalls be avoided?
  • Is this the appropriate time for your organization to initiate a planning process? Yes or no? If no, where do you go from here?

Step 2: Develop Your Team & Schedule

Who is going to be on your planning team? You need to choose someone to oversee the implementation (Chief Strategy Officer or Strategy Director) and then you need some of the key individuals and decision makers for this team. It should be a small group of approximately 12-15 persons.

OnStrategy is the leader in strategic planning and performance management. Our cloud-based software and hands-on services closes the gap between strategy and execution. Learn more about OnStrategy here .

Step 3: Collect Current Data

Collect the following information on your organization:

  • The last strategic plan, even if it is not current
  • Mission statement, vision statement, values statement
  • Business plan
  • Financial records for the last few years
  • Marketing plan
  • Other information, such as last year’s SWOT, sales figures and projections

Step 4:Review collected data:

Review the data collected in the last action with your strategy director and facilitator.

  • What trends do you see?
  • Are there areas of obvious weakness or strengths?
  • Have you been following a plan or have you just been going along with the market?

Strategic Planning Pyramid

Strategic Planning Phase 1: Determine Your Strategic Position

Want More? Deep Dive Into the “ Evaluate Your Strategic Position ” How-To Guide.

Action Grid

Step 1: identify strategic issues.

Strategic issues are critical unknowns that are driving you to embark on a strategic planning process now. These issues can be problems, opportunities, market shifts or anything else that is keeping you awake at night and begging for a solution or decision.

  • How will we grow, stabilize, or retrench in order to sustain our organization into the future?
  • How will we diversify our revenue to reduce our dependence on a major customer?
  • What must we do to improve our cost structure and stay competitive?
  • How and where must we innovate our products and services?

Step 2: Conduct an Environmental Scan

Conducting an environmental scan will help you understand your operating environment. An environmental scan is also referred to as a PEST analysis, which is an acronym for Political, Economic, Social and Technological trends. Sometimes it is helpful to also include Ecological and Legal trends as well. All of these trends play a part in determining the overall business environment.

Step 3: Conduct a Competitive Analysis

The reason to do a competitive analysis is to assess the opportunities and threats that may occur from those organizations competing for the same business you are.  You need to have an understanding of what your competitors are or aren’t offering your potential customers.  Here are a few other key ways a competitive analysis fits into strategic planning:

  • To help you assess whether your competitive advantage is really an advantage.
  • To understand what your competitors’ current and future strategies are so you can plan accordingly.
  • To provide information that will help you evaluate your strategic decisions against what your competitors may or may not be doing.

Step 4: Identify Opportunities and Threats

Opportunities are situations that exist but must be acted on if the business is to benefit from them.

What do you want to capitalize on?

  • What new needs of customers could you meet?
  • What are the economic trends that benefit you?
  • What are the emerging political and social opportunities?
  • What niches have your competitors missed?

Threats refer to external conditions or barriers that may prevent a company from reaching its objectives.

What do you need to mitigate?

Questions to answer:.

  • What are the negative economic trends?
  • What are the negative political and social trends?
  • Where are competitors about to bite you?
  • Where are you vulnerable?

Step 5: Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths refer to what your company does well.

What do you want to build on?

  • What do you do well (in sales, marketing, operations, management)?
  • What are your core competencies?
  • What differentiates you from your competitors?
  • Why do your customers buy from you?

Weaknesses refer to any limitations a company faces in developing or implementing a strategy.

What do you need to shore up?

  • Where do you lack resources?
  • What can you do better?
  • Where are you losing money?
  • In what areas do your competitors have an edge?

Step 6: Customer Segments


Customer segmentation defines the different groups of people or organizations a company aims to reach or serve.

Who are we providing value to?

  • What needs or wants define your ideal customer?
  • What characteristics describe your typical customer?
  • Can you sort your customers into different profiles using their needs, wants and characteristics?
  • Can you reach this segment through clear communication channels?

Step 7: Develop Your SWOT


A SWOT analysis is a quick way of examining your organization by looking at the  internal  strengths and weaknesses in relation to the  external  opportunities and threats. By creating a SWOT analysis, you can see all the important factors affecting your organization together in one place. It’s easy to read, easy to communicate, and easy to create. Take the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats you developed earlier, review, prioritize and combine like terms. The SWOT analysis helps you ask, and answer, the following questions: “How do you….”

  • Build on your strengths
  • Shore up your weaknesses
  • Capitalize on your opportunities
  • Manage your threats


Strategic Planning Process Phase 2: Developing Strategy

Want More? Deep Dive Into the “Developing Your Strategy” How-To Guide.

Step 1: Develop Your Mission Statement

The mission statement describes an organization’s purpose or reason for existing.

What is our purpose? Why do we exist? What do we do?

  • What does your organization intend to accomplish?
  • Why do you work here? Why is it special to work here?
  • What would happen if we were not here?

Outcome: A short, concise, concrete statement that clearly defines the scope of the organization.

Step 2: discover your values.

Your values statement clarifies what your organization stands for, believes in and the behaviors you expect to see as a result.

How will we behave?

  • What are the key non-negotiables that are critical to the success of the company?
  • What are the guiding principles that are core to how we operate in this organization?
  • What behaviors do you expect to see?
  • If the circumstances changed and penalized us for holding this core value, would we still keep it?

Outcome: Short list of 5-7 core values.

Step 3: casting your vision statement.


A Vision Statement defines your desired future state and provides direction for where we are going as an organization.

Where are we going?

  • What will our organization look like 5–10 years from now?
  • What does success look like?
  • What are we aspiring to achieve?
  • What mountain are you climbing and why?

Outcome: A picture of the future.

Step 4: identify your competitive advantages.

A Competitive Advantage is a characteristic(s) of an organization that allows it to meet their customer’s need(s) better than their competition can.

What are we best at?

  • What are your unique strengths?
  • What are you best at in your market?
  • Do your customers still value what is being delivered? Ask them.
  • How do your value propositions stack up in the marketplace?

Outcome: A list of 2 or 3 items that honestly express the organization’s foundation for winning.

Step 5: crafting your organization-wide strategies.


Your strategies are the general methods you intend to use to reach your vision. No matter what the level, a strategy answers the question “how.”

How will we succeed?

  • Broad: market scope; a relatively wide market emphasis.
  • Narrow: limited to only one or few segments in the market
  • Does your competitive position focus on lowest total cost or product/service differentiation or both?

Outcome: Establish the general, umbrella methods you intend to use to reach your vision.


Phase 3: Strategic Plan Development

Want More? Deep Dive Into the “Build Your Plan” How-To Guide.

Strategic Planning Process Step 1: Use Your SWOT to Set Priorities

If your team wants to take the next step in the SWOT analysis, apply the TOWS Strategic Alternatives Matrix to help you think about the options that you could pursue. To do this, match external opportunities and threats with your internal strengths and weaknesses, as illustrated in the matrix below:

TOWS Strategic Alternatives Matrix

Evaluate the options you’ve generated, and identify the ones that give the greatest benefit, and that best achieve the mission and vision of your organization. Add these to the other strategic options that you’re considering.

Step 2: Define Long-Term Strategic Objectives

Long-Term Strategic Objectives are long-term, broad, continuous statements that holistically address all areas of your organization. What must we focus on to achieve our vision?  What are the “big rocks”?

Questions to ask:

  • What are our shareholders or stakeholders expectations for our financial performance or social outcomes?
  • To reach our outcomes, what value must we provide to our customers? What is our value proposition?
  • To provide value, what process must we excel at to deliver our products and services?
  • To drive our processes, what skills, capabilities and organizational structure must we have?

Outcome: Framework for your plan – no more than 6

Strategy Map

Step 3: Setting Organization-Wide Goals and Measures


Once you have formulated your strategic objectives, you should translate them into goals and measures that can be clearly communicated to your planning team (team leaders and/or team members). You want to set goals that convert the strategic objectives into specific performance targets. Effective goals clearly state what, when, how, and who, and they are specifically measurable. They should address what you need to do in the short-term (think 1-3 years) to achieve your strategic objectives. Organization-wide goals are annual statements that are specific, measurable, attainable, responsible and time bound.  These are outcome statements expressing a result expected in the organization.

What is most important right now to reach our long-term objectives?

Outcome: clear outcomes for the current year..

Strategic Planning Outcomes Table

Step 4: Select KPIs


Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are the key measures that will have the most impact in moving your organization forward. We recommend you guide your organization with measures that matter.

How will we measure our success?

Outcome: 5-7 measures that help you keep the pulse on your performance. When selecting your Key Performance Indicators, begin by asking “What are the key performance measures we need to track in order to monitor if we are achieving our goals?” These KPIs include the key goals that you want to measure that will have the most impact in moving your organization forward.

Step 5: Cascade Your Strategies to Operations


Cascading action items and to-dos for each short-term goal is where the rubber meets the road – literally. Moving from big ideas to action happens when strategy is translated from the organizational level to the individual. Here we widen the circle of the people who are involved in the planning as functional area managers and individual contributors develop their short-term goals and actions to support the organizational direction. But before you take that action, determine if you are going to develop a set of plans that cascade directly from the strategic plan, or instead if you have existing operational, business or account plans that should be synced up with organizational goals. A pitfall is to develop multiple sets of goals and actions for directors and staff to manage. Fundamentally, at this point you have moved from planning the strategy to planning the operations; from strategic planning to annual planning. That said, the only way strategy gets executed is to align resources and actions from the bottom to the top to drive your vision.

Questions to Ask

  • How are we going to get there at a functional level?
  • Who must do what by when to accomplish and drive the organizational goals?
  • What strategic questions still remain and need to be solved?

Department/functional goals, actions, measures and targets for the next 12-24 months

Step 6: Cascading Goals to Departments and Team Members

Now in your Departments / Teams, you need to create goals to support the organization-wide goals. These goals should still be SMART and are generally (short-term) something to be done in the next 12-18 months. Finally, you should develop an action plan for each goal. Keep the acronym SMART in mind again when setting action items, and make sure they include start and end dates and have someone assigned their responsibility. Since these action items support your previously established goals, it may be helpful to consider action items your immediate plans on the way to achieving your (short-term) goals. In other words, identify all the actions that need to occur in the next 90 days and continue this same process every 90 days until the goal is achieved.

Examples of Cascading Goals:


Phase 4: Executing Strategy and Managing Performance

Want More? Deep Dive Into the “Managing Performance” How-To Guide.

Step 1: Strategic Plan Implementation Schedule

Implementation is the process that turns strategies and plans into actions in order to accomplish strategic objectives and goals.

How will we use the plan as a management tool?

  • Communication Schedule: How and when will you roll-out your plan to your staff? How frequently will you send out updates?
  • Process Leader: Who is your strategy director?
  • Structure: What are the dates for your strategy reviews (we recommend at least quarterly)?
  • System & Reports: What are you expecting each staff member to come prepared with to those strategy review sessions?

Outcome: Syncing your plan into the “rhythm of your business.”

Once your resources are in place, you can set your implementation schedule. Use the following steps as your base implementation plan:

  • Establish your performance management and reward system.
  • Set up monthly and quarterly strategy meetings with established reporting procedures.
  • Set up annual strategic review dates including new assessments and a large group meeting for an annual plan review.

Now you’re ready to start plan roll-out. Below are sample implementation schedules, which double for a full strategic management process timeline.

Strategic Planning Calendar

Step 2: Tracking Goals & Actions

Monthly strategy meetings don’t need to take a lot of time – 30 to 60 minutes should suffice. But it is important that key team members report on their progress toward the goals they are responsible for – including reporting on metrics in the scorecard they have been assigned. By using the measurements already established, it’s easy to make course corrections if necessary. You should also commit to reviewing your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) during these regular meetings.

Your Bi-Annual Checklist


Never lose sight of the fact that strategic plans are guidelines, not rules. Every six months or so, you should evaluate your strategy execution and plan implementation by asking these key questions:

  • Will your goals be achieved within the time frame of the plan? If not, why?
  • Should the deadlines be modified? (Before you modify deadlines, figure out why you’re behind schedule.)
  • Are your goals and action items still realistic?
  • Should the organization’s focus be changed to put more emphasis on achieving your goals?
  • Should your goals be changed? (Be careful about making these changes – know why efforts aren’t achieving the goals before changing the goals.)
  • What can be gathered from an adaptation to improve future planning activities?

Why Track Your Goals?

  • Ownership: Having a stake and responsibility in the plan makes you feel part of it and leads you to drive your goals forward.
  • Culture: Successful plans tie tracking and updating goals into organizational culture.
  • Implementation: If you don’t review and update your goaFls, they are just good intentions
  • Accountability: Accountability and high visibility help drive change. This means that each measure, objective, data source and initiative must have an owner.
  • Empowerment: Changing goals from In Progress to Complete just feels good!

Step 3: Review & Adapt

Guidelines for your strategy review.


Restricting the meeting to reporting on measurements can help you stay on task and keep the meeting within 30 minutes, but if you can commit to a full hour, the meeting agenda should 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. Holding meetings helps focus your goals on accomplishing top priorities and accelerating growth of the organization. Although the meeting structure is relatively simple, it does require a high degree of discipline.

Strategy Review Session Questions:


  • What were our three most important strategic accomplishments of the last 90 days – how have we changed our field of play in the past 90 days?
  • What are the three most important ways we fell short of our strategic potential?
  • In the last 90 days, what are the three most important things that we have learned about our strategy?  (NOTE: We are looking for insight to decision to action observations.)

Step 4: Annual Updates The three words  strategic planning off-site  provoke reactions anywhere from sheer exuberance to ducking for cover. In many organizations, retreats have a bad reputation because stepping into one of the many planning pitfalls is so easy. Holding effective meetings can be tough, and if you add a lot of brainpower mixed with personal agendas, you can have a recipe for disaster. That’s why so many strategic planning meetings are unsuccessful. Executing your strategic plan is as important, or even more important, than your strategy. Critical actions move a strategic plan from a document that sits on the shelf to actions that drive organizational growth. The sad reality is that the majority of organizations who have strategic plans fail to implement. Don’t be part of the majority! In fact, research has shown that 70% of organizations that have a formal execution process out-perform their peers. (Kaplan & Norton) Guiding your work in this stage of the planning process is a schedule for the next 12 months that spells out when the quarterly strategy reviews are, who is involved, what participants need to bring to the meetings and how you will adapt the plan based on the outcomes of the reviews. You remain in this phase of the strategic management process until you embark on the next formal planning sessions where you start back at the beginning. Remember that successful execution of your plan relies on appointing a strategy director, training your team to use OnStrategy (or any other planning tool), effectively driving accountability, and gaining organizational commitment to the process.

Strategic planning frequently asked questions

Read our frequently asked questions about strategic planning to learn how to build a great strategic plan..

Business Strategic Planning is a process where your business defines a bold vision of the future and creates a plan to reach that future. It helps your business define where you’re going, how you’ll get there, how you’ll grow, and what you must do to reach your desired future.

A great strategic plan determines where your organization is going, how you’ll win, what roles each team member has in the execution, and your game plan for reviewing and adapting your strategy. Elements include a current state analysis, SWOT, mission, vision, values, competitive advantages, growth strategy, growth enablers, a 3-year roadmap, and annual plan with goals, KPIs, and OKRs.

Typically, the average strategic planning process takes about 3-4 months, but depending on your organization, it could take more or less time. Every organization is different, so you should work at a pace that works for you.

There are four overarching phases to the strategic planning process that include: determining position, developing your strategy, building your plan, and managing performance. Each phase plays a unique but distinctly crucial role in the strategic planning process.

Prior to starting your strategic plan, you must go through this pre-planning process to determine your organization’s readiness by following these steps:

Ask yourself these questions: Are the conditions and criteria for successful planning in place now? Can we foresee any pitfalls that we can avoid? Is there an appropriate time for our organization to initiate this process?

Develop your team and schedule. Who will oversee the implementation as Chief Strategy Officer or Director? Do we have at least 12-15 other key individuals on our team?

Research and Collect Current Data. Find the following resources that your organization may have used in the past to assist you with your new plan: last strategic plan, mission, vision, and values statement, business plan, financial records, marketing plan, SWOT, sales figures, or projections.

Finally, review the data with your strategy director and facilitator and ask these questions: What trends do we see? Any obvious strengths or weaknesses? Have we been following a plan or just going along with the market?

Determining your positioning entails conducting a scan of macro and micro trends in your environment and industry, identifying marketing and competitive opportunities and threats, clarifying target customers and value propositions, gathering and reviewing staff and partner feedback for strengths and weaknesses, synthesizing the data into a SWOT, and solidifying your competitive advantages.

Developing your strategy includes determining your primary business model and organizational purpose, identifying your corporate values, creating an image of what success would look like in 3-5 years, solidifying your competitive advantages, formulating organization wide-strategies that explain your base, and agreeing on strategic issues you need to address in the planning process. .

Once you get to the strategic plan development process in the planning process, you must begin developing your strategic framework and defining long-term strategic objectives, set short-term SMART organizational goals, and select the measure that will be your KPIs (key performance indicators.)

The last phase of strategic planning is implementation, execution, and ongoing refreshes. This step entails establishing an implementation schedule, rolling out your plan, executing against your key results, and reviewing process and refreshing your plan quarterly. p>

The ideal execution schedule for your strategic plan will differ from team to team or organization to organization, but generally, you should try to set 4 quarterly reviews, a mid-year executive survey, 12 monthly check-ins, and a year-end plan review and annual refresh.

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what is a strategic planning meeting

How to Run a Strategic Planning Meeting (Strategy Definition)

  • How to Run a Strategic...

Description of the Template and Guide

This meeting agenda template is part of a strategic planning process designed specifically for use with remote participants. This process walks remote teams through creation of the core elements of a strategic plan: vision, mission, values, goals and strategies, resulting in what we call The Essential Strategic Plan.

If you’ve set organizational goals, the next step is to create strategies for achieving each goal. Where goals define what, strategies define how. This meeting maps out a process for setting goal-aligned strategies in about two hours.

During this meeting, you'll lead the group through a brainstorm on strategies for achieving your organizational goals. Then, you'll evaluate these strategies by impact and feasibility, and select a draft set for inclusion in the strategic plan.

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what is a strategic planning meeting

Anna O'Byrne

Anna O’Byrne is the founder and Chief Conversion Copywriter at Conversion Copy Co. Which means... she helps clients grow by: understanding ideal customers and what makes them tick; assessing the competition and what it will take to make offers more attractive; creating website and sales funnel copy that attracts and converts more leads.


  • Project Management

Planning a Meeting: A Step-by-Step Guide to Effective Meeting Planning

Home Blog Project Management Planning a Meeting: A Step-by-Step Guide to Effective Meeting Planning

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Effective meeting planning is highly important for the success of any project or initiative. It involves setting clear objectives, ensuring the right people are in attendance, and creating an agenda that fosters productive discussion. When executed properly, meeting planning transforms what can be monotonous and inefficient gatherings into streamlined, collaborative events that drive program success. Planning a meeting can be enhanced by going for the Project management courses and getting globally recognized accreditations authenticating your project leadership skills.   

What is Meeting Planning?

Meeting planning is a strategic process that involves the organization of a professional gathering (either in-person or online) where individuals deliberate on specific topics, devise directions toward achieving aimed solutions, or make decisions for steps ahead of an organization or a strategic program. These meetings can come in various forms with varied objectives. They should be strategically planned based on the specific objectives that are expected from the meeting. One can refer to several sources on the internet for a meeting plan example, which can be used as a starting point.

Types of Meetings

Meetings could take several shapes, and some of the prevalent ones include:

Strategic Planning Meetings:  Running an effective strategic planning meeting is crucial for shaping the long-term direction of an organization or project. These meetings bring together executive leadership or strategic teams to discuss and decide on high-level objectives and strategies. Key topics covered include setting goals, determining growth strategies, identifying risks, and allocating resources. The main goal of these meetings is to align stakeholders towards a shared vision and strategic path, fostering coordinated efforts toward achieving organizational or project objectives.

In a scaling tech start-up, a strategic planning meeting sets the growth strategy for the next fiscal year. Attendees, including the CEO, CTO, and CFO, review the previous year, analyze feedback, and assess market position. New goals for customer acquisition, product development, and revenue targets are established, addressing challenges like competition. Resource allocation is discussed for initiatives such as hiring and marketing campaigns. The meeting concludes with a clear direction, specific targets, and action plans for the upcoming year.

Operational or Tactical Meetings: Along with the know-how of how to run a planning meeting discussed above. Organizational or Tactical Meetings form the backbone of daily operations within a company. Regular tactical meetings are essential for managing short-term tasks and executing strategies smoothly. These meetings, similar to Agile Scrum's daily standups, involve resource allocation, problem-solving, decision-making, and progress monitoring. Effective planning is crucial to maintaining focus and productivity.

In IT services firms, we hold daily 15-minute tactical meetings. The Program Manager reviews the previous day's tasks and addresses any obstacles. Each team member then shares their specific tasks for the day, and resources are allocated accordingly. The session concludes with problem-solving and decision-making discussions to ensure alignment with project goals. This Agile-inspired approach fosters a productive environment and adaptability to immediate changes.

Problem-Solving Meetings: Problem-solving meetings primarily focus on addressing specific challenges or issues that a team or organization is facing during the progress of their program. These gatherings offer a collaborative platform to break the problem into workable parts, explore its roots, and brainstorm potential solutions for the problem. Participants collaborate by pooling their knowledge, experiences, and approach to generate diverse ideas and solutions. The goal of these meetings is to arrive at a consensus on the most effective course of action, enabling faster and more efficient issue resolution. A well-orchestrated problem-solving meeting can harness creative problem-solving, which enhances team collaboration and stimulates innovation.

Let us say, for example, during the launch of a new software platform, the tech team of a company identified a recurring glitch that affected user experience. The team held a problem-solving meeting, where the team members dissected the issue, traced its root, and brainstormed potential solutions. By tapping into the team's collective knowledge and experience, the team members would be able to design an innovative patch, unanimously agreed upon, that resolves the glitch and improves the platform's overall performance.

Project Planning Meetings: Project Planning Meetings are a significant means for better management and execution of any project. These meetings bring together all relevant stakeholders and enable them to collectively agree upon the project's roadmap, including critical milestones and deliverables. During these sessions, responsibilities are delegated to stakeholders, ensuring that everyone understands their specific responsibilities. In addition, these meetings set the project's timeline, creating a shared schedule that aligns all stakeholders.

Project Planning meetings are generally done at the start of the project. For example, during the initial phase of constructing a new eco-friendly building, a project planning meeting will be held with architects, construction managers, environmental consultants, and client representatives. During this session, the stakeholders will agree on key milestones like design finalization, securing permits, starting construction, and completing interior fit-outs. Tasks should be assigned, ensuring each stakeholder knows their responsibilities and a timeline should be created, aligning everyone towards a shared goal.

The planning procedures and requirements might differ based on the type of meeting you're orchestrating, which is where the usefulness of a versatile yet thorough meeting preparation checklist becomes apparent.

Why is Planning a Meeting Important in Project Management?

Efficient meetings form the core of any successful project management endeavor. They promote communication, stimulate collaboration, enable decision-making, and ensure alignment among team members. By implementing a project planning meeting template, project managers can streamline the meeting process, ensuring every attendee comprehends their roles and responsibilities. Enhancing your knowledge in project management through PMP certification will greatly benefit your ability to plan strategic meetings.

Additionally, planning meetings in project management facilitates transparency and accountability among stakeholders. This process helps to eliminate ambiguity by setting clear goals and discussing potential challenges. A well-structured meeting nurtures problem-solving and innovation by providing a platform to discuss ideas openly and constructively. Scheduled meetings also set a regular rhythm for the team, fostering a sense of consistency and reliability. 

Furthermore, integrating stakeholder feedback becomes much simpler when a meeting provides an avenue for open discussions and proactive engagement. So, it can be summarised that meticulous planning of meetings is a non-forgettable part of project management.

How to Conduct a Strategic Planning Session? (Step-by-Step)

Effective strategic planning meetings are vital to the success of an organization or a project. Here's how to orchestrate a strategic planning session as a part of their project meeting plan:

Step 1: Discuss the Goals of a Meeting

Each meeting should be planned to have a clear purpose or goal. Be it is on generating new ideas, making crucial decisions, or discussing project progress, having a defined goal for the meeting helps the meeting organizer steer the meeting in the right direction.

Step 2: Decide a Meeting Committee

Assigning a team to be responsible for conducting the meetings yields the best results for the program's success. And this team is termed as Program Management Office in most of the leading organizations. This meeting committee or the program management office should consist of a meeting leader, a note-taker, and any other roles that are deemed to be necessary based on the meeting's nature.

Step 3: Create a Meeting Agenda

Creating a meeting agenda is an important activity in the process of meeting planning. It serves as a roadmap for the discussion aimed at the meeting. It ensures all necessary topics are addressed. A meeting agenda also assists in managing time effectively. It is recommended to utilize planning meeting agenda examples to structure your agenda.

Step 4: Gather Necessary Equipment and Tools

The meeting organizer or the team should ensure that all the required tools and equipment are prepared to be ready for the meeting. The necessary equipment and tools range from presentation equipment, brainstorming whiteboards, or specific video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Cisco for virtual meetings. While planning a meeting template, one should keep in mind that there should be fields that include entries of necessary equipment and tools.

Step 5: Send Invitation and Meeting Agenda to all Stakeholders (Send Prep Materials)

It is recommended that the program team that organizes the meeting dispatches meeting invitations and the agenda to all participants well in advance. Recommended time for sending pre-reads for the meeting is at least 2 days ahead of the meeting. This allows participants to prepare for the discussion, which enhances the productivity of the meeting.

Step 6: Decide the Location of the Meeting

The meeting organizer should select the right location which is able to accommodate all required attendees, and the location should be arranged in such a way that it supports the meeting's purpose. If you are conducting a virtual meeting, make sure that all participants have access to the required video conferencing platform. The location of the meeting should also be given priority while planning a meeting template.

Step 7: Start the Meeting on Time

An important aspect of the meetings to be effective is beginning and ending them at the right planned time. This gesture from the meeting organizer demonstrates respect for the meeting participants' time and helps them maintain focus and be engaged throughout the meeting.

Step 8: Send out the Meeting Summary

After the meeting completes, the meeting organizer or the team should send a summary that includes meeting minutes and action points to all attendees. This post-meeting document should underline key points, decisions made, and actions to be undertaken, along with the target dates. The best meeting summary also includes the next meeting date if a follow-up meeting is required. The meeting summary can also be included in the process of planning a meeting template.

Enrolling in PRINCE2 course is an effective way to acquire the skills necessary for meticulous and result-driven meeting planning.

Benefits of Standardized Meeting Process

Adhering to a standardized meeting process leads to several hidden benefits. It cultivates consistency, ensuring all meetings are productive and abide by the same standards and practices. By planning a meeting template for project planning, we can make sure that all important points are addressed. 

This will be reducing the likelihood of overlooking critical aspects. In addition, standardizing the procedures helps in setting clear expectations for attendees, boosting participation and overall effectiveness.

Boosts Productivity: Adhering to a standardized meeting process can drastically enhance productivity. With a clear structure and agenda in place, attendees can come prepared and contribute effectively, making the most of the allocated time.

Enhances Consistency: The use of a standardized meeting template ensures that each meeting abides by the same set of practices and rules. This leads to a more consistent approach to decision-making and problem-solving within the project team.

Improves Coverage of Critical Aspects: With a well-planned meeting template, project managers can make sure that all significant aspects of the project are addressed. This systematic approach reduces the risk of overlooking critical details or tasks that are essential to the project's success.

Sets Clear Expectations: The implementation of a standardized meeting process allows for the setting of clear expectations for all attendees. This can boost participation and engagement as team members understand their roles and the contributions they're expected to make.

Promotes Effective Communication: Standardizing the meeting process improves communication by providing a clear and organized platform for team members to share ideas, raise concerns, and provide feedback.

Encourages Accountability: With clearly defined roles and tasks distributed in the meeting, each team member becomes accountable for their responsibilities. This can significantly improve task completion rates and overall project progress.

Saves Time: A well-structured meeting process, with its agenda set beforehand, avoids irrelevant discussions and focuses only on the vital points. This efficiency saves valuable time, which can be utilized for other important project tasks.

Best Practices for Planning Meetings Effectively

While we have covered the steps in planning a meeting, there are a few additional best practices to make your meetings run smoothly:

Have a Clear Objective: Every meeting should have a specific and clear objective. This prevents deviation and keeps the meeting on track.

Invite Relevant Stakeholders: Only those necessary for the meeting should be invited. This prevents overcrowding and ensures everyone present can contribute.

Encourage Participation: All participants should be given the chance to contribute to the discussion. This fosters a sense of collaboration and can result in more varied and innovative ideas.

Respect Everyone's Time: Start and end meetings on time, and try to keep them as concise as possible. Long, drawn-out meetings can lead to decreased focus and participation.

Effective meeting planning extends beyond merely setting a date and time for a discussion. It involves meticulous preparation, execution, and follow-up to ensure the meeting is productive and achieves its intended goals. With these steps and practices, you'll be on your way to orchestrating effective and efficient meetings that can propel your projects and organization toward success.

Looking to delve deeper into effective meeting planning and project management methodologies? Check out KnowledgeHut's top Project Management certification programs . We provide in-depth, practical training to help you master these skills and more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It is important to have proper planning for a meeting as it helps in setting clear objectives, ensuring that all necessary topics are addressed and that every participant understands their roles and responsibilities. It helps meetings be more efficient, productive, and goal-oriented.

The 5 key elements of a meeting are a clear purpose, a well-planned agenda, relevant participants, necessary equipment and materials, and a designated leader or facilitator.

One should be prepared for a meeting through a set of preparatory activities which involves understanding the meeting's objective, creating an agenda, inviting the right participants, preparing any necessary materials or tools, and making logistical arrangements such as deciding the location or platform for the meeting.


Nithin Kumar Peratla

Nithin, an MBA from IIM Bangalore and M.Tech from IIT Madras,  has 10+ years of experience in product management, within data analytics, cloud, ERP and CRM domains. He works for Cognizant currently and is an adept writer in these domains of work.

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  • v.5(3); 2009 May

Strategic Planning: Why It Makes a Difference, and How to Do It

Short abstract.

Take action before problems reach crisis level. Strategic planning provides the structure to make day-to-day decisions that follow a larger vision, creates a direction for your practice, and maximizes your options for influencing your environment.

In oncology practice, where dramatic changes in reimbursement, technology, and the marketplace are just a few of the driving forces, “the future,” as Yogi Berra once said, “ain't what it used to be.” You may not be able to control the future, but strategic planning can create a direction for your practice and maximize your options for influencing your environment. Without it, your group will likely take action only to address immediate problems—a kind of crisis management approach. Strategic planning gives a practice the structure to make day-to-day decisions that follow a larger vision. This article presents the principles of strategic planning and outlines processes that your practice can adapt for short- or long-term planning. Strategic decision making is needed now more than ever for success in oncology practice.

A strategic plan is a tool that moves your practice toward a goal you have set. However, the definition of a strategic plan differs among different people, according to management consultant Teri Guidi, MBA. Guidi, chief executive officer of Oncology Management Consulting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, points out that although there is “no wrong idea” of what a strategic plan encompasses, people often do have misconceptions about it. “Some expect a strategic plan to be precise—it's not. Some think that it will take you forward forever—it won't. The biggest mistake people make is already having the end result in mind when they start.”

Of all the compelling reasons for your group to engage in strategic planning, perhaps the most critical is the speed at which forces in your environment are changing. “Physicians who try to keep practicing as they have in the last five years will be at a disadvantage,” says Dawn Holcombe, MBA, president of DGH Consulting in South Windsor, Connecticut. “The world swirling around oncologists is changing, and things they may not even know about will affect their practice.”

Engaging in the process of strategic planning has benefits in addition to the plan that comes out of it. For starters, having everyone in the same room fosters collegiality and creates a milieu in which you can focus on the direction of your practice, away from patient care and other duties. In addition, the process promotes the open and creative exchange of ideas, including putting disagreements on the table and working out effective solutions.

Short- and Long-Term Planning

Establishing the direction of your practice and identifying overarching goals provide the foundation for strategic planning, whether short or long term. In the field of health care today, a long-term plan will likely address no more than the next 3 years. After the strategic course is determined in the initial planning session, the group should meet at least annually. During these sessions, the partners should revisit the practice goals, update the environmental assessment with new data, and identify strategies needed to address issues that will arise within the next 12 months. For example, as the retirement of one or more partners approaches, a succession plan may need to be developed (as described in related article on page 136). Meanwhile, growth in patient volume may call for recruitment strategies for both physicians and midlevel providers.

Should You Use a Consultant?

Although use of an outside facilitator entails expense, turning to a strategic planning professional has a number of advantages that can contribute greatly to success, especially if you are undertaking strategic planning for the first time. A professional has done this before—many times—and thus can direct the process efficiently. He or she knows how to collect and analyze diverse information—opinions, practice data, and market reports, for example—and present it in a concise way, thereby saving you and your administrator many hours of work. As a moderator, a consultant knows how to keep a group moving forward, prevent it from getting bogged down in side issues, and objectively help participants resolve disagreements and develop effective solutions.

Perhaps the biggest value added by a consultant is guidance in assessing your environment. A well-qualified strategic planning consultant should have a thorough and current knowledge of national trends in medicine as well as detailed knowledge about oncology practice. Regarding your community, although your group naturally knows the local marketplace well, an outsider can provide a fresh and objective perspective; in fact, the familiarity of physicians with the local scene may create blind spots. Similarly, in assessing the strengths and limitations of a group, a consultant can contribute objectivity and should be able to provide national benchmarks for objective comparison.

In choosing a consultant, look for an individual or firm that will contribute valuable knowledge about national reimbursement, patient care, and business initiatives and trends affecting oncology practice. Many management consultant firms offer strategic planning services, but you will be best served by a consultant who has worked with physician practices and has significant recent experience with oncology practice.

Scheduling a Strategic Planning Session: Who, When, and Where

Just as there is no one way to define strategic planning, there is no single way of doing it. Examples and guidelines are presented here that you may draw on to implement a process that makes sense for your practice.

The decision makers of the practice should be the ones who conduct strategic planning. If your practice is so large that including all partners could make a meeting unwieldy, it might make sense to have a smaller group, such as the executive board, do the planning. In addition to shareholders, you may want physician associates and key managers to participate. Inclusion of individuals who are not partners, at least for some parts of the meeting, may also have advantages. This can foster buy-in to the strategic direction, thereby contributing to the success of the resulting action plan. The oncology group at the Toledo Clinic, a large multispecialty center in Toledo, Ohio, found it beneficial to include the executive director of the clinic. By participating, the director gained valuable insight into the special administrative and practice needs of oncology.

Setting aside at least one day for strategic planning is recommended, especially if this is the first time your group has undertaken it. Distribute an agenda ahead of time, and use a moderator to keep the meeting on track. The location should be comfortable and private. The participants must be able to focus solely on strategic planning, without interruption, so arrange to have patient-related calls covered. Members of the Toledo Clinic used a consultant to guide them through strategic planning, and the consultant facilitated a one-day retreat at a country club. The meeting began around 9 am , after physician rounds, and the nurse practitioners of the group provided patient coverage. Other oncology groups may have conference space available in their office. A half-day meeting can be adequate for groups that have been doing strategic planning for many years.

Starting Point: Mission and Values

Developing a mission statement for your practice—a statement of its basic purpose—is the first step of strategic planning and provides the foundation for the entire process. You may think that putting your mission in writing is a bureaucratic waste of time, but in fact, determining how to articulate your mission is a productive experience. It sets the stage for later prioritization, and the process compels the shareholders to reflect on and express the purpose of the practice. Is providing high-quality care to patients with cancer your entire mission? What about research? Does your practice have a mission to serve the community through education? Answering questions such as these helps spell out the core mission of the group.

Once you succinctly define the mission of your organization, you should develop value statements expressing your core beliefs regarding issues such as patient care, interaction with the community, and how members of the practice work together. In the framework of a traditional strategic plan, the mission statement is concisely expressed in not more than one or two sentences, with value statements articulated separately. However, some organizations combine the mission and values into a narrative of one or more paragraphs. The format used is inconsequential; most important is that your group express the enduring elements of your practice, which will form the foundation on which the practice direction and strategies are expounded.

For a practice that is hospital based or part of a larger organization, the mission and values of the group should be consistent with those of the larger organization. Your group may want to state its own distinct mission or simply adopt that of the larger organization, as did the group of nine oncologists affiliated with the Toledo Clinic. “In practices like ours, which are within a larger organization, it's important to support the larger organization's mission,” says Peggy Barton, group manager. “It could lead to confusion if the broad organization and the practice are going in different directions.”

Vision: Where Do You Want to Go?

With the mission and values defined, the next step for the group is determining what kind of practice you want in the future. Again, the words of Yogi Berra apply: “If you don't know where you're going, you'll wind up somewhere else.” A vision statement—whether just a few words or a longer document—creates the desired image of the future state of your practice. Do you want to be recognized for treatment of a certain type of cancer? Is your vision to be the leader in clinical research in your state? Do you want to grow larger and have a network of practice sites? The vision of the group must complement your practice environment, so you may find that your review of internal and external information (described in SWOT Analysis) leads you to revise your vision statement to some extent as you continue planning strategically.

The vision statement for your group should be painted in broad strokes, not in detail, and it should represent the end point, not the strategy for achieving it. For example, your vision may be to provide multidisciplinary services to your community, but your vision statement would not include a specific strategy, such as merging with a certain radiology group or recruiting two physicians. When developing a vision statement, an atmosphere of openness should prevail to encourage creativity and thinking beyond current boundaries.

As in all stages of strategic planning, disagreements may surface. “Different opinions about the direction of a practice are very healthy,” says Guidi. “The ideas might be in conflict, but getting them out on the table helps [you] to see what is really important.”

Barton agrees. “One purpose of the strategic planning meeting was to get everyone in the room at the same time to identify where we agree and disagree and to reach compromise. The process encouraged input from everyone, and the group made some important decisions that have helped them over the past year.”

SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis—an assessment of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your practice—is a staple of strategic planning. This analysis uses a mix of quantitative and qualitative information, most of which should be gathered and analyzed before the planning meeting. The process for gathering information and performing a SWOT analysis varies greatly, and there is no single correct method. The size of the group, the frequency of strategic planning meetings, and how fast changes are taking place both nationally and locally are all significant factors affecting the process.

Internal Assessment: Strengths and Weaknesses

In identifying internal strengths and weaknesses, include hard data such as the number of new consults, cost of drugs per full-time-equivalent physician, and financial reports. It is useful to benchmark aspects of the quality and efficiency of the practice against data on other oncology practices (Sources for Benchmarking Data provides references for locating this information).

If possible, investigate the perceptions of individuals outside the practice—patients, hospital administrators, and referring physicians, for example. A consultant naturally has an advantage in gathering candid assessments from such individuals, unless an anonymous survey is used. How others view the practice can be critical to performing an accurate SWOT analysis, as demonstrated in an experience reported by consultant Guidi. In one practice that had rather long wait times, the physicians believed that the patients did not mind, because “they know that when it's their turn, they'll get just as much attention as the patient before.” But the patients interviewed by Guidi cited long wait times as a top complaint and said they would mention it to others considering the practice for treatment.

Gather qualitative information and opinions from physicians and staff. What do they see as the top issues facing the practice, and what do they consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of the practice? These perspectives can be provided during the meeting, but it is useful to collect information ahead of time, so a larger group can be polled, and anonymity can be assured. Holcombe distributes a questionnaire to solicit information from each physician and also interviews key individuals. Her summary is then reviewed and discussed during the strategic planning retreat.

Sources for Benchmarking Data

  • ASCO Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI).
  • Medical Group Management Association: Performance and practices of successful medical groups. or call 877-275-6462
  • American College of Physicians: Practice management check up: Examining the business health of your practice.
  • Akscin J, Barr TR, Towle EL: Benchmarking practice operations: Results from a survey of office-based oncology practices. J Oncol Pract 3:9-12, 2007
  • Akscin J, Barr TR, Towle EL: Key practice indicators in office-based oncology practices: 2007 report on 2006 data. J Oncol Pract 3:200-203, 2007
  • Barr TR, Towle EL, Jordan W: The 2007 National Practice Benchmark: Results of a national survey of oncology practices. J Oncol Pract 4:178-183, 2008

Oncology Associates in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, uses its face-to-face planning meeting to share personal perspectives about the practice. The group is small—currently five oncologists—and has been doing strategic planning for many years. SWOT data for analysis is gathered ahead of time, but at the beginning of the meeting, each physician discusses how he feels about his own practice, including his workload, his satisfaction with the schedule, and other aspects of practice. “With everyone in the room, they all hear each other's perspective, which helps later on when we are talking about the practice as a whole and making decisions about issues such as expanding services or recruiting a new provider,” says Carole Dzingle, practice manager.

A third method is used at the Mark H. Zangmeister Center in Columbus, Ohio. The executive board of the 16-oncologist practice holds an annual strategic planning session. Glenn Balasky, executive director, obtains input from six or seven staff managers and works with the managing partner to complete a SWOT analysis that is presented at the meeting.

External Assessment: Opportunities and Threats

Data about the marketplace of the practice, such as demographics, economic trends, referral patterns, and competition, should be analyzed in light of whether they represent threats or opportunities. In addition to the local picture, the broader environment, including the regional health care system and approaching changes in reimbursement and regulation, should also be assessed. Although the physicians and staff in some groups stay abreast of local, regional, and national trends, a consultant knowledgeable about oncology market forces is often needed to provide an analysis of the environment. The Toledo Clinic found the report on the national picture prepared by the consultant significantly helpful.

Some groups work to keep up with trends on their own through active involvement in state and national oncology societies. The physicians of Oncology Associates are active in ASCO as well as in the Iowa Oncology Society, and the staff managers are involved with organizations such as the Association of Community Cancer Centers and the Medical Group Management Association. Physicians and staff leaders at the Zangmeister Center are involved with the Community Oncology Alliance and other oncology organizations at both national and state levels, and each staff manager actively participates in a professional organization. Monitoring the environment takes energy and commitment, but it produces advantages, according to Balasky. “It pays off in the raw market intelligence we get, and we stay in touch continually rather than having a once-a-year report.”

Developing Strategies

Once a clear picture of the practice and its environment has been established, the group should develop strategic options for moving the practice from its current status toward the desired future position. Be alert to the pitfalls of discussing operational issues and trying to decide on tactics instead of identifying strategies. For example, a strategic decision may be to go forward with implementing an electronic medical record system, but the strategic planning meeting is not the place to discuss available systems, preferred data fields, or training required. Managing these kinds of details will be the responsibility of individuals assigned in the action plan.

In some cases, the SWOT analysis can reveal weaknesses that call for implementing one or more strategic priorities before pursuing others. Practices sometimes realize they need to create the infrastructure necessary to reach their goals. For example, they may not have systems in place to provide data that will be needed to remain competitive.

In other cases, the group may come up with many strategies that need to be prioritized during the meeting or at a subsequent meeting. To narrow down big lists, Guidi describes two approaches that work well when groups meet more than once. One mechanism she uses is to put all the strategies in writing after the first meeting; she then asks individuals via e-mail to score the importance, difficulty, and cost of each strategy on a scale of one to five. In another approach, after one or two brainstorming sessions, Guidi boils down the information to three or four overarching goals for additional discussion by the group. Guidi finds that several short strategic planning sessions are often more productive than is a full- or half-day retreat, and in the end, the shorter sessions call for about the same total hours of physician time.

More Information About Strategic Planning

  • Soper WD: The meeting you won't want to miss: Annual strategic planning.
  • Holcombe D: Strategic planning and retreats for practices.
  • McNamara C: Strategic planning (in nonprofit or for-profit organizations).

Action Plan

The outcome of developing strategies should be the prioritization of a few (ie, two to five) achievable strategies and creation of related action plans. Many strategic plans have faltered or failed because they were too ambitious or too complex. Do not try to take advantage of every opportunity or address every limitation identified in your SWOT analysis. Some goals may be important but can be scheduled for implementation in a year or two. By having an annual strategic planning meeting to update your plan, these goals will stay in sight and can be addressed successfully.

Create an action plan to address each strategic priority within the next 12 months. Spell out steps to be taken, who will have the lead responsibility, and the milestones that will show progress. For example, a strategy of adding midlevel providers might have a work plan with dates and assignments for finalizing a position description, creating a compensation package, recruiting, hiring, and conducting orientation. A strategy of building a new facility or merging with another practice will ultimately involve complex actions, but initially, the work plan might specify only the steps involved in finding and retaining a consultant to present a business plan by a certain date. Make sure the action plan is in a format that can and will be used by those with responsibility for implementation.

Communicate the strategic goals and action plan to all clinical and administrative staff. Everyone in the practice should know the goals and clearly understand his or her role in implementing strategies to achieve them. Effective communication and cultivation of a team culture are especially important if your strategic planning results in changes or begins moving the practice in a new direction.

Keep in mind that a strategic plan does not have to involve a lot of paperwork or a big report. The mission, values, and vision of the practice should be documented, and the group should revisit them at the beginning of subsequent strategic planning meetings to validate them or make revisions if appropriate. A summary of the SWOT analysis should be included, but this may be brief, with the data that went into it provided as appendices or even stored elsewhere while remaining easily available for updating. The action plan must be available for tracking progress. Your strategic plan must be a living document—a roadmap that guides what happens in your practice on a day-to-day basis—not a report that sits on a shelf.

How To Master Your Strategic Planning Process

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What is strategic planning?

  • How to master your strategic planning process

Best practices and common mistakes

Make a strategic plan that helps everyone, / was this article helpful to you, strategically plan to more effectively hit all your business's objectives..

While many project leaders understand the importance of strategic planning, they may be unfamiliar with the tangible steps they can take to improve their planning processes. The need for strategic planning has never been more urgent, particularly with the quickly evolving nature of business technology and the emergence of disruptors that quickly change the competitive landscape.

Strategic planning helps insulate organizations from the effects of unexpected change by providing a way forward that takes into account a diverse range of business coefficients. This article is your strategic planning playbook, guiding you through what strategic planning is, six steps you can take to master it, and some best practices to keep top of mind.

Strategic planning refers to the process of outlining your organization’s objectives and creating a roadmap designed to help you achieve them.

For small-to-midsize business (SMB) owners, strategic planning is especially important, because it enables you to rein in costs without sacrificing organizational mobility.

In this way, strategic planning provides you with guidance you can use to navigate twists and turns that might otherwise have disrupted your journey to success. It gives you a combination of SMART goals, an analysis of your business environment, your company’s strengths and weaknesses, a view of your competition, and the resources you have and will need to reach your goals.

The business impact of effective strategic planning can be monumental, especially when you allow its various elements to intertwine.

How to master your strategic planning proces s

Each of the following steps, when taken in sequence, makes it easier for SMB leaders to form an actionable plan that fits budget parameters and positions them for success—even in highly competitive markets. [1]

Graphic showing steps to master your strategic planning process

Step 1: Roadmap the plan

Roadmapping your plan starts with gleaning input from various stakeholders, including senior leadership. By gathering their input, you ensure that the strategic plan fits the goals of a wider range of people, many of whom may play a significant role along the way.

In addition, you should leverage project management tools as you form your roadmap. These tools can ensure you stick to appropriate timelines. Project management tools can also help you avoid scope creep, which means that the scope of objectives or action steps expands to the point where it consumes too many resources.

However, with a roadmap built using a diverse selection of voices, you can keep both your timeline and scope reasonable.

Step 2: Conduct external and internal scans

Conducting an external scan involves identifying trends, such as newcomers in the market and tech that could provide you or your competition with an advantage. An external scan would also include examining regulations that may impact how you work toward your objectives. For instance, there may be data privacy rules that pertain to your industry that you will need to consider as you devise action steps.

An internal scan focuses on examining your company’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to how you accomplish business objectives. For example, suppose your company wants to ramp up its marketing—particularly its online presence. But you don’t have a strong social media presence. In that case, social media penetration may be a weakness. You could then either work around it or try to boost and optimize your social media participation.

Step 3: Determine strategic goals

Determining your strategic goals should result from examining three things:

Your vision or what you want to be

External trends or the things that are changing that could impact your vision

Core capabilities or the things you’re great at

In the process of determining your strategic goals, you should hone in on the areas where you want to invest the most energy and resources. This is also where you test the limits of your organization’s ambition, having productive conversations with stakeholders about which goals are too lofty and which are reasonable.

Step 4: Establish key initiatives and priorities

Your key initiatives are the high-level action items you’ll use to accomplish your goals.

For example, let’s say your consulting firm establishes a goal to expand its range of services to include advising commercial real estate professionals. One key initiative may be to attend and present at professional conferences aimed at people in the commercial real estate sector. While you don’t have to outline each and every conference set to take place over the next year, you can establish this as a key initiative for your firm.

The process of setting priorities is just as important because it helps determine how you’ll allocate the resources needed to support each initiative. The most important initiatives should receive the highest priority—and the resource support to match.

Step 5: Allocate resources

Once you have established your priorities, the process of allocating resources will be more straightforward. Resource allocation may focus on how you invest any of the following to make your strategic goals a reality:

Finances , including budget allocations from different departments, such as marketing, product development, sales support, human resources, and others.

Technology , which may include software systems that make it easier to automate workflows involved in reaching your goals. Technology can also include the process of digitizing a core business function, such as inventory management, customer relations, or social media marketing campaigns.

Human capital , which may be a combination of existing and new employees. This is also where you discuss resources to support training employees and filling key knowledge gaps.

Step 6: Communicate the plan

Your communication strategy should involve as much listening as it does talking. At this point, you still want to keep the details of your strategic plan somewhat fluid, especially because, while listening, you may hear something that inspires a change in direction. Those you present and listen to should include employees, investors, management at all levels, and, in many cases, partners and suppliers.

For example, if a supplier tells you they don’t have the production capacity to pump out enough product to support an element of your plan, you may have to scale back. It’s better to get these curveballs during the communication phase than to strike out later on.

Here are some best practices that successful businesses use to develop effective strategic plans:

Identify stakeholders who need to be engaged . It’s better to have more stakeholders at the table than you need than not enough. This is especially true of stakeholders that may play a part in turning your plan into reality, such as sales managers and staff, those running assembly lines or fulfillment centers, and business partners.

Establish clear roles and responsibilities . Each element of your plan needs to have an owner—someone who takes responsibility for making it happen and who’s held accountable if it falls short. In addition to naming those involved, you should clearly outline what they would need to do on a daily basis to fulfill their roles.

Apply learnings from previous strategic plans . Regardless of the success—or lack thereof—of previous strategic plans, they’re treasure troves of valuable info. For example, examining a prior effort may produce measurement criteria and performance reviews you can learn from or recycle for your new initiative.

At the same time, many companies have had to learn the hard way how not to form a strategic plan. Here are some of the most common potholes so you can swerve around them:

Excessive complexity . A complex plan often forces you to make multiple changes to the plan itself or its timelines. This often results from trying to implement too many good ideas in a single strategic plan.

Lack of clearly outlined information . You need to clearly lay out information regarding your plan’s details and what’s involved in each action step—especially when it comes to stakeholders’ responsibilities. Otherwise, there can be confusion at all levels, from those in the C-suite to the boots on the ground.

With the steps described above, you can systematically craft an effective strategic plan. By using the above best practices and avoiding common mistakes, you prevent miscommunications both early in the process and throughout its lifecycle.

With a combination of the right strategic planning software and more info on what makes a strategic plan successful, you can take the next step: building a strong framework for a plan that wins. 

Here are some resources you may find helpful:

Strategic Planning Software

2023 Strategic Planning Software Shortlist

Strategic Planning Software Buyers Guide

Strategic Planning Software Pricing Guide and Cost Comparison

How To Create a Project Plan That Gets Results

Strategic Planning Playbook , Gartner

About the Author

Adam Carpenter - Guest Contributor profile picture

Adam Carpenter - Guest Contributor

Adam Carpenter is a writer and creator specializing in tech, fintech, and marketing.

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Published In: Agendas

Strategic Planning Meeting (Guide and Templates)

A strategic planning meeting is an excellent opportunity for the manager to collaboratively develop the company’s management strategy and with a multidisciplinary team. For this meeting to be productive, it is necessary to give it a structure that encourages collaboration.

Strategic planning is the backbone of a company’s management. Without it; there is a significant risk of spending much energy and drifting. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that this document is supposed to be prepared collectively.

Planning an exceptional strategy is a difficult part whereas executing it without any flaw is even more difficult. Most organizations have been found to face severe difficulties in strategic management. Strategic analysis meetings or only strategic meetings are a widely used tool to ensure that what is said is done. That’s why we want to introduce you to what strategic meetings are and how to use them successfully in strategic management.

What is Strategic Management?

Strategic management is the process by which strategic planning materializes. It involves the systematic assessment of the achievement of the objectives; to do so, it follows up on key indicators and strategic initiatives that lead to organizational success.

On the other hand, strategic management is also a difficult discipline to maintain.

Studies have found that between two-thirds and three-quarters of large organizations struggle to implement their strategy. In short, strategic management is an essential discipline to achieve the organizational goals embodied in strategic planning; however, it is a discipline difficult to master, which makes it one of the priorities at the managerial level.

One of the techniques used to carry out strategic management is to conduct regular strategic meetings .

Important elements of these meetings are described in detail below;

What are Strategic Meetings?

A strategic meeting; also called a Strategic Analysis Meeting is what its name suggests: a meeting focused entirely on strategy .

No matter what name you are given (performance assessment, steering committee, management review, statistics session, quarterly reports, or even just leadership meeting), there are factors that all strategic analysis meetings have in common.

They are regularly scheduled meetings that focus on using data to assess and improve progress on priorities defined within an organization.

The strategic planning meeting aims to analyze strategic objectives and indicators to test the central hypothesis of the strategy and thus consolidate a detailed action plan that solves the problems in the implementation of the process.

These meetings answer questions such as;

  • What is the organization trying to achieve?
  • Is progress being made towards meeting these objectives?
  • What is being done to improve performance?

Strategic planning meeting: a roadmap for success

Steps to conduct an effective strategic planning meeting

Invite Participants

Work to ensure that the meeting is a success begins well before the scheduled date and time. As the organizer of the meeting, you need to invite the people you want to attend at the time (or assign this task to someone else, indicating who should be there).

Along with this invitation, also send a preparation kit. It includes necessary information, such as the meeting’s general objectives, relevant data and information, and some task for them to start thinking about it. This task can be, for example, for the participant to answer the question what synergies can your department create to generate new business opportunities?

Plan The Group Meeting

For a strategic planning meeting to be truly productive, you must engage participants from the first moment. There is nothing better than to let themselves create the plan and the script that should be followed at this meeting. Ideally, it would help if you had a flipchart or a board where you can write down the ideas that will come up for the following questions:

  • What goals do we want to achieve with this meeting?
  • What challenges do we want to overcome, and why is it a significant challenge?
  • What should we deliver at the end of this meeting?
  • How are we going to monitor the success of this meeting and planning after we leave this room?
  • Who are those involved in this task?

For everyone to have the opportunity to express themselves and contribute, the groups should not be too big. So, if you have more than six participants in the event, divide them into subgroups to work more deeply.

Also, ensure that you have the necessary equipment and materials at your disposal, such as a projector to display data and graphics and an internet connection to display videos.

Make Sure Everyone Knows The Purpose

If you have come this far, you have probably come to imagine that the next step is to plan how. For this step, we will start turning planning into actions. What needs to be done to achieve specific goals? It will be your how, and these will also be your projects.

In the strategic planning meeting, you must define the actions and determine the hierarchy of those actions according to priority and establish the relationship between the various projects.

Determine The Evaluation Process

At this stage, strategic planning is very close to becoming an action for all company employees. But before you get your hands dirty, you need to ensure that this whole process can be monitored and evaluated.

Therefore, choose the KPIs of your projects and your strategic planning. Enjoy and also establish how each of them is evaluated. It will ensure that you can adjust some action that is not running as expected.

Spread Knowledge

A strategic planning meeting doesn’t do much good if people don’t leave it, knowing who does what. Thus, the last step to ensure your meeting’s success is to assign the tasks to the people and indicate who will be responsible for the other actions within each department.

Meeting participants should work as multipliers. It means that they will be the ones who will pass on to the respective teams what was discussed and built-in this meeting.

What Shouldn’t Happen At A Strategic Analysis Meeting

A strategic meeting is not a discussion about your organization’s operation. In strategic meetings, you should ask questions like, “Are we achieving the results? Are we having the expected impact?” save questions like, “What has been done this month? Are we on our way to closing this project?” for an operations meeting.

In short, operations meetings measure, “Are we doing things right?” while strategy meetings measure, “Are we doing the right things?”

Why Hold Strategic Analysis Meetings?

Did you know that management teams typically spend less than three hours a month reviewing the strategy, and nine out of 10 teams fail to execute it? To achieve success, it must be better than the odds. It takes hard work, but it’s worth it.

Regular, previously scheduled strategic meetings focused on well-defined topics can help senior management in the event of any of the following management hurdles as;

  • Senior management meetings are not decision-oriented.
  • The management team rarely sits together to discuss and decide.
  • Strategy and operations are usually combined into a single meeting, but urgent actions take precedence over important ones.

Typically, leadership teams and planning offices, or strategic management, spend one to two days a year developing strategic objectives. However, after this, they return to their jobs, where the daily whirlwind extinguishes the flame of strategy. The folder with all strategic thinking and planning only accumulates dust on the shelf.

The ultimate goal is to execute your strategic planning. And the first step in making that happen is to take the time to review it. You know the saying: “what is measured is done.” But nothing is going to be measured unless tracked. That’s why it’s necessary to reserve the time to turn your eyes to your strategy and analyze it. Only then can it start to have an impact.

What Are The Benefits Of Strategic Meetings?

Your organization has a lot to gain from conducting strategic analysis meetings. Here are just a few of them:

  • They offer a focused space to identify successful and troubled areas or departments within your organization.
  • They facilitate the identification and subsequent adoption of improvement actions.
  • They help departments and areas collaborate.
  • Align resources and facilitate informed budget decision-making.
  • Improve transparency and accountability.

Strategic Meeting Planning Templates

If you have a strategic planning meeting today and don’t have enough time to go through the hassle of preparing the agenda, do not worry. Our website offers a free-of-cost and fully customizable template for your ease and peace of mind.

Strategic Planning Meeting Agenda Template 01


Meeting agenda and preparation on the part of the participant is a prerequisite for a strategy review meeting.

You can start the meeting by talking about the importance of the strategy review meeting.

Lack of preparation, confidence, improper presentation, and not reaching any conclusion can derail your meeting.

In this article, we have presented what strategic meetings are and how to use them successfully in strategic management; we describe a series of simple steps. Suppose you have decided to start implementing strategic analysis meetings in your company. In that case, you should know that you’re going the right way; SAM is the first step in tracking your strategy’s successful execution; this process will give you a definite advantage over your competitors.

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When a Coworker Undermines You in a Meeting

  • Susan Peppercorn

what is a strategic planning meeting

It can feel jarring and even hurtful. Here’s how to respond.

Feeling undermined, unappreciated, or unsupported by a colleague when you’re both in the same meeting can lead to loss of trust, along with feelings of self-doubt and lack of confidence. But looking to see what you can do to help the situation, rather than dwelling on what someone is doing to you, can begin to ease tension and repair a dysfunctional working relationship. In this article, the author offers strategies to try when a coworker doesn’t have your back.

In my coaching conversations with Anna, she remarked that she felt unsupported by a colleague who she thought tried to sabotage her during team meetings rather than having her back. According to Anna, this coworker (we’ll call Dina) seemed to relish the opportunity to find something critical to say, shoot down Anna’s ideas, and rally others to an opposing viewpoint. The situation understandably caused Anna to feel vulnerable, doubt herself, and lose trust in a relationship she valued. As her executive coach, she turned to me for strategies to counter this negativity.

How can you repair the situation if this happens to you? Here are some strategies to consider:

Look at your own behavior.

Anna realized that the first step in changing the dynamic between her and Dina was to look at the ways she shared feedback with Dina and others on her team. She asked herself the following questions:

  • Am I quick to judge others or celebrate their successes?
  • What can do I do to set a positive tone in team meetings?
  • How can I diffuse the tension with Dina before team meetings?

Make an effort to recognize wins. 

According to Annie McKee, author of  How to Be Happy at Work , people generally have a need to be appreciated for their efforts . When we perceive a lack of appreciation, feelings of self-doubt and isolation can creep in.

One strategy McKee recommends for getting your work noticed is to first appreciate the work of others. By praising your colleague’s accomplishments, you can become a change agent in a culture that focuses on achieving goal after goal without pausing to savor accomplishments.

As Anna told me: “Our organization is fast-driving and values winning. We don’t often stop to look at where we’ve been.” She decided to recommend to her boss that “when a coworker makes an important contribution or finishes a significant piece of work, everyone stops for a second and claps.” Taking her own advice, Anna made a special effort to recognize Dina’s wins publicly during meetings and privately afterward.

Model how to reframe feedback. 

If you notice an employee who makes negative comments during meetings, you can request a reframing of the offered feedback by modeling this approach. Amy Gallo, author of Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) , suggests following any critical comment with “but” or “and” statements.

For example, if you plan to share feedback about a project timeline being overly aggressive, you might say: “This project timeline is risky and may miss the original deadline — but if we build in the proper contingencies, we should still be on target to accomplish our goals.” The words “but” or “and” signal that the statement following the conjunction is the one the communicator wishes the other party to focus on even more than the first half.  

Check in with your manager.

In my conversations with Anna, she thought it might be helpful to ask her manager for a one-on-one discussion — to “go up on the balcony,” so to speak, and get a view from someone less emotionally involved in the situation. She wanted to gauge her boss’s perception of the dynamics playing out at staff meetings to check her own perception of Dina’s negative behavior and be sure her interpretation was accurate. Anna also hoped to gain a sense of what her supervisor saw as her strengths and growth opportunities. This type of “check in” with your manager can be a helpful way to gain perspective when you feel unsupported by a colleague.

Seek internal validation.

Humans are evolutionarily wired to crave inclusion and have an innate drive to connect. In pre-historic times, this drive was linked with our survival: If someone was ousted from the group, their life would be at risk. Because these consequences of rejection were so extreme, our brains and behavior adapted to avoid disapproval from others. When we’re criticized, we can become insecure or defensive, which inhibits our growth. So it’s natural to look for validation from others at work, yet if we become too reliant on this external validation, we lose our sense of self-worth and autonomy.

This is why developing intrinsic motivation can be an effective strategy when you feel a colleague is making your life difficult. Intrinsic motivation means engaging in a behavior or activity because you find it interesting and satisfying, not because someone else wants you to do it. To get better at seeking internal validation, try to carve out time at the end of each day to reflect by writing down what went well, what you accomplished, and your strengths and skills. To foster intrinsic motivation in your job, try:

  • learning new skills
  • attending conferences
  • volunteering to help others
  • taking on a stretch goal

Ask your coworker for help.

After looking at her own behavior and gaining an outside perspective by taking with her manager about the conflict, Anna addressed her discomfort directly with Dina by swallowing her pride and asking her for help. She respected Dina’s technical skills, so when one of Anna’s projects ran into technical challenges, she walked into Dina’s office and said: “I’d like your help thinking through this project. What do you think we should do here?” Anna made a specific request of Dina that recognized her strengths.

The strategy worked, and Dina gave Anna helpful advice that she then implemented. The request became a turning point in their professional relationship, and ultimately, Anna no longer felt unsupported by this colleague.

Feeling undermined, unappreciated, or unsupported by someone you work with can lead to loss of trust with a teammate, along with feelings of self-doubt and lack of confidence. But looking to see what you can do to help the situation, rather than dwelling on what someone is doing to you, can begin to ease tension and repair a dysfunctional working relationship. You have the power to look within, do things differently, and ally with others and yourself to create the supportive workplace environment you need.

what is a strategic planning meeting

  • Susan Peppercorn  is an executive career transition coach and speaker. She is the author of  Ditch Your Inner Critic at Work: Evidence-Based Strategies  to Thrive in Your Career. Numerous publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, the Boston Globe, and SELF Magazine have tapped her for career advice. You can download her free Career Fit Self-Assessment and 25 Steps to a Successful Career Transition .

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