Few phrases elicit as many groans in a company as the dreaded “Let’s schedule our quarterly meeting”. The most effective quarterly strategics should take place over the course of 1 to 2 days. When participants learn quarterly strategics will encompass at least a day, they aren’t just groaning at the prospect, they are now gnashing their teeth! Corporate America has come to correlate “marathon” strategic meetings as synonymous with boring, unproductive, and even a waste of time. Many employees actually see these meetings as a chore that’s simply a formality, with the real decision-making happening afterwards.
It’s a shame that strategic meetings evoke such negative connotations. What is more vital and exciting to a company than determining where the company is going, how it’s going to get there and how the team knows if it got there or not? Too often, companies fail to schedule the appropriate amount of time needed to generate and debate these questions. Instead, meeting organizers bow to the misconception that less is more. To delve past surface issues, dive into poignant objectives and then outline concrete action plans, strategic meetings can’t be rushed. Trying to compress strategic meetings will only result in ineffective discussion where little is resolved. Making the time investment of a strategic meeting is actually investing in a company’s future.
Setting aside the appropriate amount of time ensures the participants can achieve four key objectives:
- Review corporate strategy
- Review industry trends and competitive landscape
- Review key personnel
- Review team development
Pitfalls to avoid when scheduling strategic meetings include:
- Not scheduling the meeting offsite is inviting disruptions and distractions
- Including social activities and inviting spouses/family dilute focus
- Over-structuring topics burdens the schedule
- Poor planning leads to poor execution