Most people hear the words “we’re going to have a business strategy session,” and immediately roll their eyes or try their best not to grimace. Unfortunately, that’s because most companies are doing their strategy sessions wrong. For example These companies, Simply Thick Nectar and WindowsUsa are killing it with their strategy sessions .
Instead of staying on-topic, focusing on important issues, and growth, many of these meetings turn into nothing more than your team staring tiredly off into space as you click through your powerpoint slides. The only thing being accomplished in these meetings is the wasting a valuable time.
What Should Business Strategy Sessions Accomplish?
Your business strategy sessions should be alive, full of energy, and give a voice to everybody in the room. Important topics need to be discussed such as company growth, product improvement, and new marketing strategies. If you’re just sitting at the front of a room clicking through slides or reading off a list, then you’re not having successful meetings.
Your business strategy sessions should be focused on how to improve your company and reach the next level of business success. You should be discussing marketing, sales, teamwork, personal development, and customer satisfaction, and how to improve in all of these areas.
Today, we’re going to go over 10 critical business strategy sessions that you should be having with your team members. These will allow you to grow as a team and as a company. The best part is that you can start implementing them tomorrow.
10 Business Strategy Sessions You Need to Have
The best way to start a business strategy session is to properly plan for it. Put the event down on your calendar and send it to all of the individuals involved in the meeting. Make sure that they have a few day’s notice at least, and that they know what the topic of the meeting will be on. If possible, you should also try to give them some reading material so that they’re ready to discuss the topics with notes in-hand as soon as they walk in the meeting room.
Make sure to keep your strategy sessions on a time limit (30 minutes seems to be the perfect amount of time for maximum retention and focus), and delegate a specific amount of time to discuss each topic or main point. Encourage all of the participants to take notes and to contribute to discussion.
1- Creative Marketing
One strategy session which you should always have as a business is how to improve your creative marketing. Marketing today relies on creativity more than ever. You need to discuss things like market demographics, embracing social media marketing tactics, and how to draw in more customers through creative marketing directives.
Encourage your team to participate in coming up with new ideas, and take note of them. In a room full of intelligent people, you’re bound to get a few great new tactics to try. By encouraging creativity within your team, you’ll be pushing them to achieve their full potential, and take a big first step to starting a great new marketing campaign.
2- Dealing With Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is one of the most important business strategy session topics that you need to have with your team. Your customers are your lifeblood, and their opinions and reviews can make or break a company. At least once a month, you and your team should sit down discuss customer feedback (both good and bad) and figure out what works and what needs to be improved upon.
If there are specific instances of team failures, encourage them to seek out the client and make amends with them. Use feedback to create a definitive list of all of the creases that need to be ironed out.
3- Focus On Team Building
No company can ever be successful as a one-man show. If you look at some of the stories of the most successful companies in the world, you’ll see that few got to where they ended up without the help of an all-star team who knew how to work together for the greater good.
By spending a strategy session on team building, you’ll be able to slowly start maximizing the full potential of your unit. If everybody knows what their jobs are and how to work together to accomplish the company’s goals, then you’ll notice marked productivity and efficiency in your office.
4- Constructive Criticism
Sometimes, you need to be a little bit abrasive in your approach to business strategy. This means that you might hurt some feelings. It’s important that you remain constructive, however. For every ounce of criticism that you find, offer a way to improve it or engage the participants and ask them how they think improvements can be made.
Being able to identify where there are problems and how they can be fixed is one of the most important things that you can do as a company. It will help your team members to reach their full potential both as workers and individuals. The important thing to remember is to focus on problem-solving instead of fault finding.
5- Engage Your Employees
The reason why most employees and managers aren’t able to get much out of business strategy meetings is that they don’t feel like their opinion is important or valued. They just keep their thoughts to themselves and listen to the primary speaker. This discourages creative thought, which is one of the most important aspects of any meeting.
Throughout the course of your meeting, you should be seeking to actively engage and involve all of your participants. Let them know that their opinions are valued, write good ideas on the whiteboard, and encourage them to act on their ideas.
6- The Round Table
If you want to really get the creative juices flowing, identify key problems and come up with solutions for them, then you need to suspend your traditional company hierarchy for the course of the meeting. Once you remove the barriers that prevent your key team members from speaking their mind, you’ll be amazed at what you hear.
Creating an environment of mutual respect where criticism can be openly given and received is necessary if you really want to identify where in-house improvements need to be made. There’s also the old saying, “wisdom comes from the mouth of babies.” Sometimes, the best thing you can do for a fresh idea is to invite a junior employee to your meeting and see what they have to say.
7- Where Are You The Best?
An important part of business strategy is to identify where you are already successful, and how you can continue to grow in these areas as well as replicate the success in other areas of the business. Look at your previous growth charts, and pinpoint the decisions that helped to turn the company in the right direction. Going back to pivotal moments in your history can be the key to unlocking the answers to issues that you’re currently facing.
8- Maximizing Individual Potential
As important as team building is, you should also work on the individual growth of your team. Special focus should be given to your team leaders and your managers. These people need to be the most effective in your office. Once you identify leaders, you should get them all together for a business strategy session and focus on what they need to continue to grow and maximize their individual potential.
Sometimes this may involve giving raises, offering bonuses, giving them higher responsibility within the company, or paying for specialized training programs. Once these key players understand their importance and how their work is appreciated, they’ll take a far more active approach to helping you grow your business.
9- Time Management
The global workforce is facing an epidemic of wasted time. In a 2014 study performed by Salary.com, 62% of all people surveyed confessed to wasting 30 minutes to an hour a day at work. If you multiply this across the board and look at how much it costs your business over the course of a year, you’ll be floored.
If you want to cut down on this, the best thing that you can do is to change your business strategy and gear it towards effective time management. This can be done multiple ways; you can track computer workstation time, offer incentives for finishing quickly, or better organize your deadlines so that everybody knows exactly what they need to be doing each hour of the day.
10- Evolving Strategy
If you want to continue to grow as a company, then your business strategy needs to constantly be evolving. Strategy sessions are the best way to achieve this since you’ll be able to get a wide range of responses from your participants.
Spend time evaluating your existing business strategies, identify what works, and where money is being wasted. You need to prune the areas that aren’t producing results and make your strategy adapt to the ever-changing world of business.
If you want your strategy sessions to start improving your company as a whole instead of being yet another source of wasted time, then you need to change the way that you approach them. By creating an environment devoid of hierarchical systems, where participants are encouraged to contribute, and good ideas are taken note of, then you’ll be able to get the fresh view that you need to continue to grow.