Saturday, August 11, 2012

Exit Planning – Ingredients For An Effective Strategic Planning Session

Step 6 of the exit planning process (Action Plan) begins with assembling the key individuals for a strategic planning session.  These individuals could include the business owner(s), the family, management and professional advisor(s).
The objective of the initial strategic planning session is to identify at least 10 different strategies that will help accomplish the exit planning goals.  Subsequent meetings will be devoted to prioritizing and selecting the specific strategies to implement and to assign responsibilities.

How do you ensure meeting objectives will be achieved when, according to a Microsoft office survey of 38,000 people, 69% of people feel that meetings are not productive?
An effective meeting begins with sufficient planning and ends with proper follow-up.  A meeting Chair is also required to ensure the proper planning, execution and follow-up steps are implemented.
1.  Planning

Proper planning involves setting and distributing an agenda to all meeting participants in advance of the meeting.  The agenda provides an overview of the meeting objectives and topics that will be discussed at the meeting.  Timing for the meeting will also be highlighted, including the start time, end time and time allocation for each topic.

Key agenda items for an initial strategic exit planning session include:

  • Restating the exit planning goals;
  • Brainstorming obstacles that will prevent the achievement of these goals; and
  • Brainstorming strategies that will overcome the obstacles and help meet the goals.

2.  Execution

Two important considerations for running an effective meeting include establishing meeting rules and ensuring active participation.

Meeting rules provide the structure and process for active participation.  Examples of meeting rules include: "one person will speak at a time", "all have a chance to be heard" and "only items on the agenda will be discussed".

In order to keep people engaged and ultimately reach a consensus on any decision, active participation by all attendees is required.  It is the meeting Chair’s role to encourage quiet individuals to share their thoughts and to ensure no one person monopolizes the discussion.

At the end of the meeting, the Chair should ask attendees for feedback on whether or not they felt that the meeting objectives were achieved.  This will help improve the effectiveness of future meetings.

3.  Follow-up

Following-up after the meeting is key to ensuring an effective strategic planning session.  This will remind attendees what was accomplished during the meeting and what action items are required before the next meeting.

Meeting minutes should be distributed to all attendees within 3 to 4 days.  The minutes will identify accomplishments made and detail the action items, responsibilities and due dates agreed upon during the meeting.

The meeting Chair will then follow-up with everyone to ensure they understand, and are working on, their assigned action items.  Agenda items for the next meeting should also be canvassed.


It is unfortunate that more than two thirds of people surveyed feel that meetings are not productive.  Effective meetings take effort and a skilled meeting Chair is required to ensure all the ingredients of an effective strategic planning session are present.

No comments:

Post a Comment