The Leader & Planning: Pace and Environment

This is the 4th in a series on leadership and planning.  For many organizations it will soon be the season for team strategic planning.  You need a team that is highly engaged and ready to give their best thinking towards the future of the organization.  Today’s post speaks to the right pace of planning and the best environment.  Here are some practical suggestions on both.

The Right Pace Matters  Too many leaders wear out their teams with all day planning meetings.  It’s death by planning.

1. Spread the planning time out over multiple days.

2. Never have a planning meeting for more than four hours in any one day.

3.  Don’t stay on one topic for too long.  I would recommend not going more than 60 minutes on any particular issue.  If you are tackling a particularly big problem-return to it later when there might be some fresh ideas.

The Right Environment Matters  If you want people to be engaged and contribute well you need to place them in an environment that aids the creative process.

1. Provide a comfortable meeting room that is well lit and has enough room for people to move around (I actually prefer meeting in a home when possible).

2. Be sure to take a good break every 75 to 90 minutes during the planning time.

3. If you are going to require planning aids like a VPU, large whiteboard (with markers that actually work), giant 3M note pad, posit notes, etc. be sure they are sufficient in number and in working order before you begin.

4. Snacks.  You have to have some good snacks.

There is an art and a science to planning.  Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference.  Lead well!

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