The purpose of strategy reviews is simple; they are the heartbeat of the strategic planning process. A strategy is utterly useless without a process in place to keep it from becoming a paper weight.
Furthermore, strategy reviews aren’t meant to be operational meetings; they’re meant for your team to connect to discuss, review, and adapt higher actions that impact the future of your organization. Really, they’re a 15,000-foot view of what’s working in your plan, where you’re behind, and what you need to focus on during the next period.
So, here’s a three-step process to put in place so you can run and participate in the strategy reviews that are essential to your organization’s strategy execution:
Step 1: Set Up a Cadence and Create Expectations
The first step in creating a process and culture centered around strategy execution is creating a regular cadence for strategy reviews, outlining who is expected to attend, and what data your organization needs to prepare to conduct a successful review. Here is what we recommend to do this:
- Cadence: We recommend holding strategy reviews monthly as it provides your organization with the most agility during execution. If monthly seems like too much for your organization at first, you should be holding these 90-minute reviews at least quarterly.
- Timing: Strategy reviews should be conducted after the financials for each period have been collected and posted.
- Attendees: Anyone who owns goals, supports their execution, or owns initiatives within the plan should be in attendance. While you won’t be reviewing initiative-level actions during strategy reviews, initiative owners can benefit from attending.
- Data: Your plan should be updated, including your KPIs and qualitative goals. Just remind your team prior to the review that their goals should be up-to-date.
Step 2: Outline the Meeting Structure
Keeping strategy reviews flying at the right elevation and within a 90-minute meeting time will require your organization to develop an agenda and be thoughtful about what is being covered. For structuring your agenda, we recommend:
- Organize the agenda by covering goals within each section of your plan: For example, structure the agenda by having goal owners within the financial section present, followed by the market growth section, followed by operations, etc.
- Covering all your corporate annual goals and some initiatives: If you try to cover the whole plan, the meeting will become far too long and operational in nature.
- 3-5 minutes per attendee: Plan for each member to present for 3-5 minutes about the goals they own.
Step 3: Guide the Presentation
With an agenda in place, each member should spend 3-5 minutes reporting to the team about the goals they own. Each person should answer:
- Are we on plan? This is simply a report out of the progress to date against the plan.
- What did we accomplish during the past ___ days? This is each presenter’s opportunity to review the actions that drove goal performance during the previous period.
- What is the focus for the next___ days? Simply put, what is the focus to move the needle against the goals during the next period.
- What help is needed? What changes (if any) need to be made to the plan? Each presenter should articulate the resources they need to execute their goals or if they recommend any changes to the plan. This step is vital as it gives your organization the foresight and ability to adapt to meet the changing needs of your organization.
Strategy reviews give your plan and team the opportunity to adapt for the future. They’re the backbone to your strategy execution and propel your team towards achieving your organization’s annual goals and, eventually, it’s long-term vision. Without them, your plan just becomes a pile of meaningless words.