Strategic Planning Session for the Board and the Executive Team (Case 1)
Public Company in Changing Market
Why was I asked for this assignment?
My client is a public company for whom I previously had done an Executive Team Leadership Effectiveness Assessment. One of my recommendations was for the Board and Management to engage in a Strategic Offsite to establish a clearer view of the growth opportunities and a stronger alignment of the Board with the Executive Team. I was asked to help plan and lead the meeting with 14 seasoned executives.
- The meeting preparation, including the discussion of choice of invited participants, itself created value as it led to greater clarity of the company’s ecosystem and some of the key growth considerations.
- A comprehensive picture of the market created a backdrop for identification of possible strategic paths and permitted a ranking of the most promising and specific strategic initiatives.
- Several new opportunities were uncovered that had not previously been considered.
- All participants engaged fully in the dialogue, with focus and attention achieved throughout the 2 day session.
- Everyone present gained from the session. Invitees left with a sense of excitement and desire to help and support the company.
- A follow on session with Board and management confirmed alignment with the proposed approaches. Both were energized, optimistic and felt that they knew each other better.
- Several subsequent actions at the Board and management level were the direct result of the session.
One of the invitees, the President of a major international engineering construction firm, commented on the effectiveness of the facilitation, wondering where I had acquired the insight into human behavior to take such a diverse and accomplished group and melding them in a very few hours into a creative team.
The Chairman of the Board stated:
I was extremely pleased with our meeting, as was our Board. We had two intense sessions, Monday afternoon and Tuesday from 8 am to 2:30 pm, with a dinner in between. Regarding Johanne’s role, she was able to capture the attention and full participation of everyone of the 14 participants for the two days. I attribute some of Johanne’s ability here to her extensive experience in developing and implementing marketing strategy. It allowed her to be effective and clear as facilitator in spite of the fact that our particular industry is not her field of expertise. She insured that we were very well prepared with our agenda and flow ahead of the meeting, and made sure that from the start people connected with trust and respect for each other, including a fast integration of the outside invitees to the whole group. Although Johanne clearly has a well developed approach to a meeting like this one, the specifics are tailored to the particular needs and stage of the company.
I was a skeptic coming into the meeting. In my long executive career with Fortune 500 companies I have participated in 7 or 8 Strategic Planning Sessions and this far exceeds any of them in accomplishment and process. I attribute this to two important contributors: the job Johanne did as organizer and facilitator, and the caliber and contribution of the invited participants from outside the company.
The CEO of the company expressed:
I was very pleased with the thoroughness and effectiveness of the meeting. Much was accomplished in a very intense and compact session. It confirmed some of my previous thinking, but also opened up other opportunities that we had not considered before. Johanne ensured that we maintained focus which helped achieve the stated meeting goals. She also ensured that my senior management actively contributed to the meeting which allowed them to be seen by the Board in a different light than in the environment of a formal Board meeting.