By Todd Ballowe
Have a DIY Strategic Planning Session Without a Consultant

With budgets tight, not everyone can afford to have a week-long strategy retreat in the mountains. If a strategic planning consultant is outside of your means, and you can’t have your people missing a ton of time to conduct your strategic business planning session this year, consider having a one-day DIY strategy session.

Lock the doors. Turn off the phones. Ignore your e-mail. Pull your team together for one long strategy session. And don’t leave the room until the plan is done.

A couple of things can make this process go more smoothly:

  • Have a clear agenda and a timekeeper. Move on to the next item when the time allotted is up.
  • Come prepared with your internal and external analysis data and research. Ideally, have everyone read the material ahead of time.
  • Appoint a person to organize the plan based on the work completed. This person should also take complete notes of the session for reference after the strategy session.
  • Take a break every one and a half to two hours. Make sure that you’re in a place that’s easy to get outside for some fresh air.
  • Have a lot of snack foods and order in a good lunch. Everyone likes to munch.
  • Plan some fun games. You can only work so hard for so long, so reward your team by having fun during the day or a nice outing afterwards. You can build games into the strategic planning process. Because your time is compressed, make sure to limit any games to 15 to 20 minutes.