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STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP

overview

The process of strategy development is very similar to how we use the navigation system in our car (click here to read Yoram Solomon's article at Inc. magazine). The strategy development workshop follows the 6 steps described here. Dr. Yoram Solomon facilitated this workshop successfully in multiple companies and organizations, including Texas Instruments, The Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Interphase Corporation, and more. The workshop can be delivered in several different formats, as described below. 

who is it for?

The strategy development workshop is designed for the leaders of a company, a business unit, or any organization (including government and non-profit), who wish to develop a strategy for the organization they are leading.

format 

The strategy development workshop can be delivered as an in-depth process, delivering an actionable strategy, or as a high-level process, which will leave some of the work to be done by the participants after the workshop is over.

 

in-depth strategy development workshop

Required 12-16 hours, and can be delivered either in two full days, or in 4 half days. Some pre-work is required by participants. The result will be a complete strategy document (one page). 

high-level strategy development workshop

Can be delivered in 6-8 hours, done in one session. Little pre-work is required by participants. The result will be the initial work done at the session, and guidance on how to complete the development of the strategy. 

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the process flow

Part 1: introduction

  • ice breaker
  • outline of the process,
  • ground rules

 

part 2: locating satellites

Just like the GPS system starts by locating the satellites to calculate the exact current location, our process will begin with determining where we are. What are our strengths and weaknesses? What are our environmental opportunities and threats? (collectively, a SWOT analysis). What do we like about where we are? What don't we like? 

 

part 3: enter destination

You never ask the navigation app "where will I be if I drove 10 miles?" because there is really no good answer to that. You are a lot more prescriptive with where you want to be, so you enter a destination address. Similarly, in this part of the workshop we will determine exactly where we want to be, and when. We can define that time horizon as one year (rare), 5-10 years (common), or even longer (rare). We will then identify very clearly what will the future we desire for the organization look and feel like. The future can be something that will be easily reached, or an audacious goal that will require significant effort to reach. It is up to you to decide. 

 

part 4: setting boundaries

In the third part of the process we will determine the boundary conditions will make the developed strategy acceptable. Just like a navigation system will want to know whether you want to walk, drive, fly, or take public transportation, and whether you want the fast route, short route, toll-free route, or scenic route, we will determine the ground rules for our strategy development. 

 

part 5: calculating...

Unlike GPS, in strategy development this role is yours. Using the right team, open and honest debate, with nothing off the table, you and your team will brainstorm how to get from where you are to where you want to be, while meeting the boundary conditions you have set. Missing any of the previous three steps before calculating your path will make the path irrelevant, unachievable, or unmanageable. The strategy is something you should know if I woke you up in the middle of the night. It has to be simple. It has to be something that you don't need to open a 47-page document to know. I'm a big believer in developing strategy as simple rules. 3-4 rules will guide how you do things.

 

part 6: next steps

In this final part we will discuss what needs to happen next at the organization. Unlike the previous 5 parts which were very interactive, this one is delivered in a form of a lecture and discussion. The first thing that needs to be done after the workshop is to disseminate the new strategy with the organization, communicate it, and follow it. The second part is to be able to identify changes in the environment, and take the appropriate detours, whether through different actions based on the same strategy, or revision to the strategy itself. 

 

what is strategy?

In all his years of facilitating strategy development, participants gave different answers to this question. Some of the funniest ones are: "what I do is tactical, what my boss does is strategic (no further explanation)," and then "what I do is strategic, what my subordinates do is tactical." "Strategic means long-term." "When my boss tells me to do something because it is strategically important, it means there will be no revenue from it..."

Any of those sound familiar?

Strategy is the set of actions that should be taken to take an organization from where it is today to where it wants to be in the future, within a defined set of boundary conditions.