Do you know your business in depth? Do you have a strong team that knows your goals and works towards them? Are you immersed in every detail of sales or product development? If the answer to these questions is positive, then you should avoid facilitating your own strategic planning process. Sounds strange? Read on to learn more.
For effective strategic planning, you need a fresh viewpoint, from someone who knows about your business but is not deeply involved and does not have a huge stake in the outcome. Thinking from that perspective offers tremendous advantages in the planning process.
You could assign this task to either an individual or a team from within your business. However, few may be able to provide a new perspective while working from the inside. Another, more effective method is to get a professional strategic planning facilitator to help you. He would possess the skill and offer the innovative mindset you need. While selecting one, look out for these traits:
Control and not Domination
It is essential that a facilitator understands the planning process as well as has a certain amount of control. This helps in keeping a check on weak areas and fosters optimal resource utilization. A skilled facilitator maintains control and even aids in smooth inter-department functioning. However, there is a thin line between control and domination that a facilitator should be aware of. Controlling the overall process without dominating the employees and department is the key to the fine art of planning facilitation.
Discretion of Inputs
While planning and holding meetings, employees brainstorm and provide ideas that add to the innovation process. But not everyone has a valid input and the ideation process is often endless, leading to delays in strategic planning. To reduce tedious and unproductive meetings, a facilitator should have a clear discretion when it comes to picking and retaining ideas.
Impartiality and Independence
Being impartial towards the task at hand as well as the people involved is one the most important qualities of a facilitator. He may have strong opinions about various issues at hand, but he must allow the group to think independently. Using creative thinking lesson, he may provide a range of solutions, but the final decision has to be in consensus with the business objectives.
These are just a few of the many traits that a facilitator needs to have. Along with this, listening, sensitivity towards others’ opinion and planning skills are needed, too. Hire a smart and capable facilitator to help with your strategic planning process.