Invariably, executives are seeking information on strategic thinking exercises suited to making strategic planning participants more effective and successful.
Strategic Thinking Exercises – Some Work, Some Don’t
That is why whenever we’re working in the Brainzooming R&D lab on new strategic planning exercises for clients, I’m reminded of this video. It’s a Monty Python sketch called “World Forum.” In it, Eric Idle plays a talk/gameshow host quizzing the big players in communism and socialism.
Why, you may ask, does this video remind me of strategic planning exercises?
Because the Monty Python sketch demonstrates how asking questions that participants aren’t suited to answer tanks strategic planning meetings. That’s why this video was an early inspiration for the Brainzooming approach to strategic thinking exercises.
Think about how closely the sketch matches your strategic planning meeting experiences.
In the first round, the host asks experts in communism and socialism about trivia questions pertaining to English football. Despite how opinionated they are in their fields of expertise, they can’t contribute beyond what they know. In the second round, it’s only through dumb luck that one of them positively answers a question far afield from what you’d expect they know. Finally, in the third round, a few questions about their areas of expertise lead to beneficial answers. After the topic returns to English football, however, it’s back to silence.
That’s just like many strategy meetings. Employees that rarely deal with strategy formally are peppered with questions and exercises about corporate strategy and business analysis they are ill prepared to answer. As a result, participants are frustrated and feel as if they wasted their time.
If you’re facing a challenging organizational situation and are struggling to maintain forward progress because of it, The Brainzooming Group can provide a strategic sounding-board for you. We will apply our strategic thinking and implementation tools on a one-on-one basis to help you create greater organizational success. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org call 816-509-5320to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around your organizational challenges.
It is time for strategic planning across organizations. To make it a little easier to track down ideas for how you can approach developing strategy this year, here are nineteen Brainzooming articles filled with 113 techniques and ideas for improving your organization’s strategic planning process.
While we go even deeper than this since the Brainzooming blog’s inception, these articles are all from the past twenty-four months (at the time we published it).
If you are responsible for leading the strategic planning process at your organization, dive in and tweak your process to improve its efficiency and effectiveness.
113 Ideas for Strategic Planning Process Improvement
In addition, remember: The Brainzooming Group is here to assist you in applying these techniques and more to make developing strategy a productive and high-impact activity for your organization. Contact us, and let’s customize a strategy process specific to your organization. – Mike Brown
Since we’ve had success in facilitating strategic planning from both insider and outsider roles, my answer was, “It depends upon the person and the situation.”
10 Vital Characteristics for Someone to Facilitate Strategic Planning
Relative to the personal side of strategic planning facilitation, here are ten characteristics to look for in the person facilitating group collaboration-oriented strategic planning for your organization:
Strong listening skills – to entire interactions and to bits and pieces of interactions, to what is being said and what isn’t being said
The ability to put pieces of ideas together to make them stronger
They either don’t have a stake in the outcome or can put those interests aside
As you can see, these personal characteristics for strong strategic planning facilitators work irrespective of whether someone is inside or outside the organization.
It is definitely viable that a facilitator from inside the company can lead strategic planning.
Want to have someone outside your company make your strategic planning work for you in a creative, mentally stimulating and result-oriented way? Then contact us at The Brainzooming Group and let’s get started working together! – Mike Brown
Waiting at O’Hare airport for my flight, another business traveler stopped in front of me, and asked, “Mike Brown?”
He was a former corporate sales executive where I used to work. He’d been pointed in my direction to talk about content marketing strategy and social media and just happened to run into me in the hallway at O’Hare. He is now the C-level sales and marketing executive at a B2B service company.
His big question about social media and content marketing strategy was, “Why would a B2B company engage in these areas?” He’d never heard of a B2B company gaining business from their efforts.
Incredible as that statement may sound, I understand his reluctance. I told him The Brainzooming Group is a B2B company, and we gain business from our social media and content marketing strategy. And we are definitely NOT by ourselves in that!
8 Reasons a B2B Company Should Engage in Social Media
For a B2B company, a content marketing strategy, along with a social media presence, allows it to:
That’s why I find myself so frequently trying to manipulate hotel meeting rooms in ways that hotel proprietors never imagined. Most of the time we have to go well beyond what hotels consider standard ways groups will use their meeting rooms when we’re trying to create an effective space for a Brainzooming creative thinking workshop.
12 Reasons Hotel Meeting Rooms Suck for Collaboration
Based on the challenges we typically encounter, here’s my basic list of twelve reasons why hotel meeting rooms suck:
The seating plans cram too many people into rooms to the point where there is no room for people to spread out and think
The room configurations don’t allow for people to move around and collaborate with each other
Valuable wall space (where people can place and react to ideas) is taken up with ugly, bland artwork
They place lights in front of the areas where they set up screens to project images
If there are lights where you need to put a screen, they are always on switches tied to half the lights in the front of the room
They insist on putting the food and beverage in the meeting room where it takes up wall space and/or makes the room stink (instead of using the hallway for food service)
Too many big hotel ballrooms have very low of ceilings so you can’t raise a screen high enough for people in the back to see it
In their room setups, they have no concept of presenters that don’t remain in one spot at the podium
There is never enough room for two different seating configurations that would allow people to move into a new setting for a different activity
They place U-shaped table configurations nearly up to the screen so there’s no room to move about
They insist on skirting things you may need to move around, such as AV carts, screens, and extraneous tables
They typically have all kinds of big, impressive hall space that goes unused
Even at at the last minute, however, you can try things to improve these meeting spaces to boost collaboration.
Last Minute Changes to Boost Collaboration
All those frustrations surfaced the other day as I was pacing back and forth in front of an open hotel meeting room door where I was getting ready to facilitate a Brainzooming workshop. Since it was such a quick turnaround to fly to Chicago to facilitate the workshop (and it was tucked into a much longer meeting), I had no opportunity to influence the room setup.
Pacing in the hallway and trying to sneak peaks at the meeting room through an open door, I noted incredible wall space outside the room, and no other meetings were taking place. Thankfully, our client agreed with taking the workshop “outside” into the foyer. After the first poster-based exercise, everyone went into the hall for the rest of the Brainzooming workshop. SUDDENLY, we had all the room we needed to boost collaboration.
Yay for flexible clients, lots of wall space in the hall, and no other meetings!
If not for those, a successful creative thinking workshop would have been VERY DIFFICULT to keep from sucking.
Which is one more reason why hotel meeting rooms suck. – Mike Brown
Whether spoken or unspoken, organizations can send strong messages saying, “If it isn’t broken, don’t screw around with it” in a variety of ways. Such messages make it clear that good things do not await those pushing for innovation involving any significant level of risk.
This free Brainzooming innovation eBook identifies seven typical business innovation fears. For each fear, we highlight strategy options to mitigate the fears and push forward with innovative strategies. We tackle:
Whether facts or emotional appeals are ideal to challenge fear of innovation-driven change
When it is smart to call attention to even bigger fears to motivate progress
Situations where your best strategy is taking business innovation underground