[Q&A] How do you evaluate your team’s thinking prior to planning sessions?

Q: How do you evaluate your team’s thinking prior to planning sessions?

A:To evaluate your team’s thinking [and help them think strategically], we recommend gaining insights from your team before sessions with good thoughtful questions, considering their answers, and creating an environment conducive to strategic thinking.
It’s also essential to have the right people in the room!

Great question! Here are a few of the best answers from our Strategy Collaborative Q&A Session!

The effectiveness of a strategic plan heavily relies on the quality of the thinking in the room.

And if the right strategic thinking doesn’t happen, it’s tough to build a great plan!

Evaluating the team’s thinking is an excellent way to ensure that your meetings are productive and efficient. Here are some key takeaways from our AMA session on how to evaluate the quality of team thinking:

Tip 1: Gain Insights from Your Team Before Your Sessions

Get a pulse on your team’s thoughts by asking them a few thoughtful questions before your planning session.

This doesn’t need to be formal, but it will give you a pulse on what your team thinks, where you have alignment and consensus, and where you might have opposing views. A few quick methods for collecting insights might include:

  • Running a buzz session.
  • Distributing a short survey.
  • Even just emailing 3-4 questions to your participants!

Tip 2: Ask Good, Thoughtful Questions

Don’t underestimate the power of thoughtful questions. The evaluation of team thinking is inherent in the questions’ quality.

Thoughtful questions drive the process and outcome of the session. Consider each question’s purpose, relevance, and impact, and make sure it’s designed to help gather the information you need to move your planning process forward.

Tip 3: Create an Environment that Promotes Thinking

Everyone has the potential for great thinking so create an environment that promotes great thinking.

This can include:

  • Exercises
  • Healthy food
  • Thought starters

Really, anything that can kick off your team’s thinking!

Tip 4: Ensure You Have the Right People in the Room

Invite the relevant stakeholders who bring valuable perspectives and expertise to the session. Their presence ensures a comprehensive and well-rounded evaluation of team thinking.

Strike a balance between inclusivity and decision-making efficiency. Avoid having too many people in the room, which can hinder strategic decision-making. The rule of 12 suggests that more than 12 people make it difficult to reach a consensus and make efficient decisions.

Pro Tip:

Also consider tailoring sessions to the personalities in the room. Some organizations (like OnStrategy) have personality and thinking assessments, like Emergenetics or Myers-Briggs, for team members that can be helpful to reference.

It’s not about evaluating good thinking and creativity, but about encouraging it.

By incorporating these strategies, teams can gain valuable insights, evaluate the quality of their thinking, foster creative problem-solving, involve the right stakeholders, and strike a balance between inclusivity and decision-making efficiency.

Additional Resources to Consider



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