Posted Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 by & filed under Leadership Development, Organizational Change, Regenerating organizations, Uncategorized.

The last eighteen months have been challenging and paradigm shifting.  Are you ready to spend time with your team to focus on renewal and chart the path forward?  Or are you dreading the same old approach to the annual offsite or the quarterly business review as you feel how out of step this process feels now?  

If you are in the midst of planning quarterly or annual meetings; which are typically meant to facilitate a review of the past and chart the path ahead,  we offer some tips to help ensure your time is productive and renews you and your team. 

DO!

  1. Focus on inclusion: Whether meeting in person, virtual or hybrid, ensure everyone can fully engage no matter the forum.  If you haven’t used new forms of virtual collaboration, now is the perfect time to explore tools like Miro.  
  1. Dream a little or a lot: Allow for some 10x, creative, pie in the sky and what if? thinking.  This is the time to stretch your thinking way beyond what you think is possible.  This will open the door to possibilities and perspectives.  
  1. Regenerate at personal / individual levels: Spend as much time revitalizing yourselves as you do focusing on the business.  Allow space for personal reflection that enables learning from and honoring of the journey and the extra effort (in so many ways) the last eighteen months have demanded.  
  1. Support “what’s next?” action: Many insights and new commitments are made during these meetings. Ensure ways to drive accountability so that you can realize the outcomes. Don’t wait until the last hour to develop a plan of action.  Come back to the commitments list throughout the convening.  Allow it to evolve and change, what you think needs a next step on day one could be very different on day three. 

DON’T!

  1. Think “event”:  Strategic conversations must have a cadence that is then connected to day to day execution – have a clear sense of both timing and other convening vehicles whereby the rich discussions continue and support transformation and progress. 
  1. Walk in with the answers: Mindfully shift your stance into one that is lower on the ladder of inference, dealing with the real pool of data vs. all the conclusions and assumptions you’ve drawn about it.  Staying close to the ground helps you navigate the real terrain which is dynamic and significantly more complex than your fixed ideas about it.  When you do this an emergent and “real” quality to your thinking comes forth more clearly. 
  1. Pack the agenda:  Things always take longer than you think.  In addition to allocating more time for specific items, reduce the number of items and topics, to allow greater depth of fewer and more important topics. Now is not the time to do updates or other activities that can be handled via email or other modes.  Use this important time to sensemake together – this means conversation and discovery. 
  1. Neglect involving the organization as a whole:  When leadership teams get together the rest of the organization is wondering; what’s going on in that room?  What are they talking about? Don’t leave them wondering!  First, make the meeting, the topics and objectives transparent to others.  Second, gather important input and ideas from the organization to support the meeting. Third, loop back after the meeting; share meeting materials and communicate the action plan and how it involves others.  

P.S. The picture below illustrates how we think about strategic leadership offsites and we’d be delighted to work with you to customize this for your team!

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