The sacred strategy off-site workshop

Post date :

Dec 5, 2023

The sacred strategy off-site workshop

As the fiscal year draws to a close, it's that time again – the annual strategy off-site workshop. Excitement fills the air as you and your fellow delegates prepare to tackle the challenges ahead. You're ready to forge a path to outshine the competition, secure a brighter future for your company, and overcome the strategic hurdles it faces. The goal? To craft the most groundbreaking strategy ever!

Gone are the daily routines as you find yourselves in a lavish hotel for two days, thinking and innovating like never before. Flip charts fill with ideas, breakout sessions flow endlessly, and SWOT analyses become your bread and butter. You're defining a new mission (or is it a vision?), pledging to "skyrocket company revenue by at least 10 times in 2 years" and to become the "undisputed market leader" (even if the market remains a bit of a mystery). You're thinking so hard that it feels like steam might start pouring from your ears.

But let's be real, in just two days, you can't possibly delve deep into your organization's complex challenges and opportunities. The insights and analyses needed for that require time, effort, and expertise that often take months to accumulate. So, you rely on the voices in the room (usually the loudest or closest to the CEO) to shape your strategy. And there's no time to thoroughly explore every option that could truly revolutionize your industry. That would take weeks you don't have.

Still, you validate key concepts and chart a broad strategy direction – a promising start. Your strategy team, with the help of pricey consultants, compiles everything into a document. Proud but exhausted, you head back home.

Come Monday, that newly minted strategic plan finds a cozy spot on your office shelf, next to last year's plan and the one before that. Urgent matters and day-to-day tasks demand your attention, not to mention the endless stream of meetings.

When you finally delve into the strategy document, days later, you discover that some of those ambitious ideas remain unclear. The roadmap, endorsed by the executive team, lacks detail and substance.

Weeks pass, and you remember the grand commitments made during the workshop. However, daily routines, competitive pressures, and a sales-focused culture keep you and your team from making any significant progress. A month, a quarter, and almost nothing has been done. Worse yet, the initial enthusiasm has waned, leaving bitterness over the perceived waste of time, money, and effort.

Does this sound all too familiar? It's a scenario most organizations, whether small or large, private or public, experience year after year. But just as we tend to forget a Saturday hangover by Friday evening, strategy delegates return eagerly to new venues, ready for more workshops and excess indulgence.

Let's debunk the myth: Strategy isn't a mere two-day off-site gathering to brainstorm with colleagues, repeating the same cycle without substantial progress. True strategy is a structured process of informed analysis and profound exploration, culminating in one or several workshops. Skipping this crucial analytical groundwork and diving straight into solutions risks "perfectly solving the wrong problem." Relying solely on crowd-generated ideas during the workshop limits your chances of producing outstanding solutions. And if you reduce execution to a hastily compiled roadmap, failure becomes almost inevitable.

#StrategyBlast #Reinvent #Rethink

Author: Anael Granoux