Operational Meetings vs. Strategy Review Meetings: What’s the Difference?

By Heyden Enochson

emailfacebooktwitterlinkedin
Operational Meetings vs. Strategy Review Meetings: What’s the Difference?

As expert planners, we’re often asked what the difference is between a strategy review meeting and the other types of meetings our clients commonly already hold.

The short answer is these meetings are focused on gathering your team to review your organization’s holistic strategic performance to keep the momentum on strategy execution. Not to be confused with your standard operational and tactical meetings, strategy review meetings intentionally remove tactical problem solving so your team can take a step back and see how you’re trending against your strategic roadmap for success.

So, as we dive into how you can structure your meetings to get the most from your organization’s strategic management process, it’s important to understand what the different meeting types are and how they play a role in the strategic management process. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Weekly Meetings as Part of Strategy Success

So, you might have noticed we included weekly tactical meetings in the mix. Weekly tactical meetings are certainly part of your current meeting mix and are essential to the success of your organization. In fact, they’re also essential to the success of your strategic planning for a few key reasons.

First, they allow your team dedicated time to focus on the actions and tasks you are currently facing. These meetings are the groundwork and grunt work that drives your organization to problem-solve and execute the short-term actions in a 5- to 10-day timeline.

However, these meetings can be pivotal in the strategic management process if you leverage them to help focus your team on the short-term actions that affect the monthly, quarterly, and even annual performance of your plan. In short, you can leverage these tactical meetings to remind your team to keep their short-term priorities aligned with your long-term goals. After all, a plan is achieved when you execute in days and weeks rather than just in months and years.

Monthly & Quarterly Strategy Reviews

Monthly and Quarterly Strategy Reviews are arguably the most critical component of a successful strategic management process. They allow your team to report on their progress against the plan, make changes, and establish strategic focus for the next 30 days (monthly reviews) or the next 90 days (quarterly reviews).

Without these meetings, the focus and alignment created during the initial planning process will be all but lost. It’s an opportunity for you to gather, refocus everyone’s attention, and be really clear about what your organization is accomplishing over the next period to achieve your vision of success.

What does a Strategy Review meeting look like? Here’s a sample agenda we like to use with our clients for monthly review meetings:

I. Welcome & Introductions

  • Purpose of the meeting.
  • CEO introduction/ kick-off.

II.  Financial Perspective

For each corporate goal, report out:

  • Comment on the performance of the key metric– movement from last month.
  • Going well – what movement results are we seeing? And why?
  • Not going well – what are we concerned about? What are we doing about it?
  • Note learnings – what did we learn last month?
  • What are we specifically focusing on in the next 30 days to accomplish our goals?

III.  Customer Perspective

For each corporate goal, report out:

  • Comment on the performance of the key metric– movement from last month.
  • Going well – what movement results are we seeing? And why?
  • Not going well – what are we concerned about? What are we doing about it?
  • Note learnings – what did we learn last month?
  • What are we specifically focusing on in the next 30 days to accomplish our goals?

IV.  People Perspective

For each corporate goal, report out:

  • Comment on the performance of the key metric– movement from last month.
  • Going well – what movement results are we seeing? And why?
  • Not going well – what are we concerned about? What are we doing about it?
  • Note learnings – what did we learn last month?
  • What are we specifically focusing on in the next 30 days to accomplish our goals?

V.  Special Topics Perspective

For each special topic, report out:

  • Are we on or off target?
  • Focus for the last 30 days
  • Focus for the next 30 days
  • Asks of the group

Wrap Up & Focus for the Next Month

  • Reaffirm the next meeting date
  • Outline any changes to the plan that will be made as a result of the meeting.
  • Outline next steps based on any “offline” items that need to be taken up by the team.

DOWNLOAD THE SAMPLE AGENDA

How to Prepare for Your Strategy Review

To ensure your meeting runs smoothly and everyone is prepared, there are a few steps we recommend taking to get your team prepared for the meeting. These include:

  • Email the agenda to your team prior to the meeting. If your team needs to prepare any hand-outs, data presentations, or information to smoothly run the meeting, make the request during this email. If an attendee is invited to the meeting and receives an agenda, attendance is mandatory!
  • Make sure your team has updated the progress of their goals at least 5 days prior to running your review. An email reminder is a helpful prompt.
  • Review your plan prior to the strategy review. Make any notes on the performance or items you might need to address during the review.

Other Tips & Advice for Strategy Reviews

  • Time your meetings late enough in the month to allow your team to track the metrics from the previous month. This is particularly helpful for financial metrics.
  • We recommend strategy reviews include your executive team, but you may need to pull others into the meeting that might have insight into different operations within your business. If you need to include them, do!
  • Keep the meeting at the strategy level. This isn’t about problem solving. Take things that aren’t flying at the right thinking level off-line to avoid derailing the meeting with tactical issues instead of strategic focus.


Heyden Enochson

Heyden works as OnStrategy’s Communications Manager, focusing on developing and executing effective customer and website communications. Heyden brings with him a design and marketing background in addition to developing integrated marketing communication plans.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Joseph Njagi
    Jul 13, 2018 @ 21:01:58

    very educative

    Reply

Comments

*

What is 2 + 5 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
All fields are required.

Clients executing their plans with OnStrategy:

A Dose of Strategy.

Actionable tips, case studies, best practices in your inbox every other week.