Strategy Meeting: What It Is and How To Hold One
Meetings are one of the most common workplace activities for employees. Depending on what your role in the company is, you might attend a range of meetings from planning for the company's future to assessing progress on a task to reviewing the effectiveness of a new process. Strategy meetings are an important type of meeting that employees should familiarize themselves with.
In this article, we explain what a strategy meeting is, describe the advantages of holding strategy meetings, provide the specific steps for a successful strategy meeting and offer tips for effective strategy meetings.
What is a strategy meeting?
A strategy meeting is a group conversation about how to most effectively use a company's resources to meet specific goals and objectives. You can use strategy in a variety of ways, depending on what you want to accomplish. For businesses, common strategic approaches include:
Improving product design
Providing better customer service
Maximizing marketing and advertising
Establishing a new market
Using technology effectively
Sustaining company practices
You can apply strategy—or the process of choosing where to invest to meet a certain goal—to most areas of the business. As you develop in your career, it's likely you'll be invited to a strategy meeting or even to facilitate a strategy meeting, so understanding how strategy works can be a valuable asset for your job trajectory.
Advantages of holding strategy meetings
Strategy meetings are often high-level, long-term brainstorming and planning sessions. Some companies devote a full day or more to strategizing for the future. While it may feel like a strategy meeting takes time away from pressing, time-bound tasks, these meetings do provide a number of benefits, both short- and long-term:
Clear vision: When you hold a strategy meeting, you and your colleagues can establish a clear and collaborative vision for the company's future.
Definitive priorities: Knowing what the company's goals are helps you and your team set effective priorities.
Departmental alignment: For large-scale strategy meetings involving employees from all departments, you'll gain full organizational alignment.
Challenging awareness: Strategy meetings help you become aware of any challenges within the organization keeping the company from reaching its goals.
Specific direction: You'll establish a clear direction for yourself and your colleagues with a specific strategy in place.
Open communication: Often, the strategy meeting becomes a space of open communication, allowing everyone participating to share their ideas and concerns.
Empowered employees: When employees have clear goals and guidance for their work, they feel empowered to work autonomously.
Refined culture: Knowing where the company is headed and how the employees will get there helps to cement the organization's values, mission and culture.
How to hold a strategy meeting
If you're in charge of holding a team, department or organizational strategy meeting, use these steps to help you do so:
1. Choose attendees
Consider the goal of the strategy meeting. If it's for your team or department, you might invite every employee to the meeting. If it's for the entire company, you'll likely want to keep the meeting to team or department leaders rather than every single person in the organization. Establish a list of attendees that makes the most sense for your strategy objectives.
2. Set a date
Consult any organizational calendars to choose the most effective meeting date. Since strategy meetings often rely on data like sales numbers, competitor's earning's reports and other valuable information, ensure you're holding your strategy meeting at a time you have the most recent information relevant to your discussion.
3. Prep information
Gather any relevant data and make clear reports for each meeting attendee. You can choose to send this information in advance of the meeting with a request for each attendee to review it on their own time, or you can distribute the report as the first agenda item during the meeting and go over the information together.
4. Establish an agenda
Set an agenda for the meeting. Since strategy meetings often involve a lot of brainstorming and conversation, it can be helpful to have time limits for each stage of the meeting to ensure the team makes forward progress. A common strategy meeting agenda includes the following points:
Address previous or outstanding action items.
Consider objectives and metrics.
Review the brainstorming discussion process and norms.
Discuss key issues and strategy points.
Establish next steps.
5. Moderate and listen
In the meeting itself, your job as the meeting facilitator is primarily to keep the group focused, moderate discussion when needed and listen to the conversation. Give plenty of space to the meeting attendees to brainstorm, discuss and problem-solve together.
6. Take notes
Ensure someone at the meeting takes thorough notes. Ideally, invite a specific person well-versed in taking meeting minutes to manage this task, or you can perform this duty yourself if necessary.
7. Follow up
After the meeting concludes, type up the notes and minutes from the meeting and distribute them to the attendees. Follow up with everyone involved, and particularly those who have specific action steps to take, to ensure the company is working towards the established goals and objectives from the strategy meeting.
Related: How To Define a Business Strategy
Tips for an effective strategy meeting
Use these tips to help you effectively facilitate or participate in a strategy meeting:
Be transparent. In the meeting, ensure you're providing the attendees with all the information they need, both negative and positive, to make thoughtful, strategic decisions.
Use a timer. Consider using a timer rather than looking at your watch to keep the team on track during the meeting. That way, everyone can see how much time they have to work through an agenda item.
Moderate. While, ideally, the group moderates itself and stays focused on the agenda item under discussion, redirect and refocus the group if needed to ensure the meeting is successful.
Save ideas. During brainstorming and planning meetings, it's normal to come up with ideas or solutions to unrelated challenges. Take these down for later discussion and redirect the group to the task at hand.
Seek input. Strive to hear from every attendee in the course of the meeting. If you notice one attendee is monopolizing the conversation or that one or two people have yet to participate, ask for direct feedback or ideas from specific participants to ensure every person is heard and all ideas are stated.
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