5 Tips on How to Find a Strategic Planning Facilitator

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Nov 07, 2017

Video above: The strategic planning process with PathShare® HR Services.

5 Traits of a Good Strategic Planning Facilitator

Businesses who use Strategic Plans are 12% more profitable (M2 Planning). Strategic planning is critical for businesses today who are serious about growing, staying ahead of their competitors, and proactively anticipating their customer's needs. It’s important to take a pause to assess where your business is at today, and decide if you need to shift or make adjustments. Businesses are faced with a wealth of opportunities, and strategic planning helps you prioritize what opportunities you need to invest time and energy in.

“Without strategic planning, you're probably wasting resources by trying to pursue too many things. Strategic planning can be looked at as fewer things done better.”

- David Pohlman, COO at GreatAmerica Financial Services and Office of the President

If you are taking the same approach every year, inevitably it will run out of steam. Good strategic planning provides clarity of specific things you’re going to do in the next year to drive numerical results. One of the most critical components to making your strategic planning session successful is making sure you have a good strategic planning facilitator.

Here are 5 things you should look for in a strategic planning facilitator:

  1. Engages the whole team and provides everyone the opportunity to participate
    • If you have a leader trying to facilitate in some way, shape or form, and at the same time is trying to contribute – know that’s a difficult position to be in and the quality outcome of the session may be negatively affected. A strategic planning session includes participants providing input, and a separate facilitator to direct the conversations. A good facilitator will encourage everyone in the room to provide input and not let the dominant personalities take over.
  2. Ability to keep everyone on track
    • When you get into discussions, it’s easy to go different directions. A good facilitator will keep the group focused. They also recognize when it’s okay to move off track a little bit because sometimes those are great discussions. They know when it’s time to bring things back on track and the best way to steer the group to a defined strategic plan.
  3. Positive attitude and experience
    • Many times in a strategic planning session, you have different personalities who have different styles of communication. A good facilitator will know how to have everyone best work together and be forward-thinking. Keeping a positive tone in the room will help everyone maintain high-energy and avoid negative thinking.
  4. Effective at communication
    • A good facilitator will help clarify ideas and ask questions to make sure the group understands the discussion. They should be able to restate ideas in a way everyone understands. Ideas need to be clear and concise to keep the group moving forward together.
  5. Results-driven mindset
    • The objective of strategic planning is to evolve the business forward. A good facilitator should be able to help identify specific ways you can measure success on your initiatives, ways to keep goals top of mind and track that you're moving in the right direction.

Most importantly, your strategic planning session needs to have a facilitator you can trust, has your best interest in mind, and will treat you and your business with respect. PathShare® HR Services is committed to helping businesses achieve greater success. They leverage the same skills and strategies GreatAmerica has used internally. Engage a PathShare HR Consultant to facilitate your next Strategic Planning meeting to begin driving long-term success into your business. .

Contact PathShare at pathshare@greatamerica.com for availability and to book a facilitator for your next strategic planning meeting.

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Category: Business Practices

About The Author

Arial Harland

Arial Harland is a Human Resources & Organizational Development Consultant with PathShare® HR Services Group at GreatAmerica Financial Services, where she enjoys fostering relationships with business owners by helping them with their organizational challenges. As a certified AVA Analyst, through Bizet Human Asset Management, she assists companies in building strong cohesive teams. She obtained her B.A. in Organizational Sciences and Psychology at Coe College and her Master of Organizational Leadership through St. Ambrose University, enabling her to aid companies in optimizing their greatest assets – their people. In 2018 she was named an industry “Difference Maker” in ENX Magazine, and she was also one of six named as an industry “Young Influencer” in The Cannata Report.