Understanding strategic planning
The first question we have to ask before we even think about your board meetings is what is strategic planning? It’s the process of defining a company's direction and making decisions on allocating its resources to follow that goal.
It involves more than just setting long-term goals. You need to identify all the steps to achieve your target and then regularly review progress by, for example, checking in with your team, to make sure your company stays on track. Think of it like a map that guides you to your destination. If you don't know where you're going, how will you ever get there?
It’s important you understand how strategic planning is different from your operational planning on a day-to-day basis. While the latter focuses on getting tasks done, strategic planning is more about defining what those tasks are in the first place. It's the big-picture that’s looking several steps ahead and keeping you adaptable.
How to add it to your board meetings
So, we understand what strategic planning is but how do we successfully incorporate it into your board meetings? Here are some things to think about:
Make it a core part of your agenda. Reviewing your progress is crucial - especially when you're dealing with the board who makes big decisions. Add a review of your strategic plan high up in your meeting agenda to get everyone’s take on how it’s progressing and if there are any changes that need to be made.
Have enough time. Make sure to allocate enough time to go through everything you’ve set out in your strategic plan. Not only that, but you should have time to deep dive into specific areas that aren’t performing as well as you expected. A productive meeting may take several hours, even days, so make a poll and find enough time for everyone on your top team.
Have the right people. Board meetings are where you make decisions, so make sure the people to help you do that are there. C-level, senior leaders, department heads or anyone else who will help you get decision-making over the line. Don’t invite people that don’t need to be there but also try to have a diverse group so you can think of things creatively.
Don’t be scared to get out of the office. Strategic planning is the foundation you’re building your whole business on, so don’t be scared to have it as an off-site. Consider taking the board away for a few days or so to get away from distractions and plan ahead.