Someone downloading the new 11 Ideas for Fun Strategic Planning eBook when we released it stated his biggest strategy challenge as coming up with fresh ways to do the same strategic planning exercises with the same executives every year
I hear that challenge in a big way.
When we were developing the Brainzooming strategic planning process inside a Fortune 500 company, we used it to plan strategy across a whole portfolio of services and clients in a B2B setting. While some participants in the early Brainzooming strategy workshops changed from day-to-day, we would often have the same people participating every single day for an entire week or more. I spent many late nights modifying each workshop format to change them enough to keep the participants (and me) engaged, mentally sharp, and creative.
9 Ways to Keep Strategic Planning Process Exercises Fresh Every Year
So when you are working with the same old audience every day (or annually) and trying the same old strategic planning exercises, what can you do to change things up?
Here are nine ideas based on those early experiences to add variety to a strategic planning process workshop when the audience remains essentially the same:
- Change how you collect input for some of the exercises, using online surveys and individual discussions instead of in-person interaction
- Put your creative thinking skills to work and have a strategic thinking session devoted to new ideas for how you can change planning
- Change just one element of an exercise as an experiment in improving your process and adding variety
- Invest time to come up with new ice breakers and brief mental stimulation exercises that provide an element of surprise
- Go to different places than you have before for strategy meetings
- Keep track of which people tend to work together and vary the small groups you use for specific strategic planning exercises
- Mine the Brainzooming blog (and other sources) for new ideas on strategic planning exercises
- Invite someone that is into physical fitness to lead the group in a stretching or cardio routine
- Have individuals that have participated in many of your meetings suggest new ideas or even lead particular exercises to provide variety