Facilitating an Effective Strategic Planning Process

American Management Association

How long?

  • 2 days
  • online, in person

American Management Association


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Who should attend

Experienced executives, directors of OD, senior HR leaders, division leaders, strategic planners and others who must manage the strategic planning process for a department or organization, as well as those who would like to become an internal or independent strategic planning facilitator.

About the course

Efficiently prepare and run strategic planning sessions that produce real results.

Regardless of goals, there’s one thing that can be said about all strategic planning process: the stakes are high. So you need to prepare. How to get the right people —and get them to actively contribute? How to prevent high-powered personalities from taking the session off-track? How to make sure your goals are effectively defined and that you have all the right elements in place?

This is your course to get the tools and techniques to prepare and conduct a productive, results-driven strategic planning process. You’ll address up-front contracting within the organization, sponsorship, selecting the best approach and tools, as well as determining what data is required. You’ll then learn how to smoothly facilitate the process/session and implement an effective follow-up.

How You Will Benefit

  • Gain a clear understanding of what role the “facilitator” plays in the process
  • Know which discussions and decisions should occur prior to the strategic planning session
  • Determine who should be involved and to what extent
  • Know how to get chief influencers at multiple levels on your team in leading roles
  • Decide the best strategic planning approach/process to use and customize it
  • Create a committee of influencers to support you with assigned roles and accountabilities
  • Develop the right agenda, establish realistic meeting guidelines and gain agreement
  • Explore various scenarios which may occur and possible approaches to handling them
  • Ensure up-front clarity and agreement as to what results are expected of the process
  • Build in metrics and schedule meetings to assess milestones and progress towards goals

What You Will Cover

  • Defining facilitation and examples of how it applies to a strategic planning process
  • Clarifying your specific role in the process
  • Planning for strategic planning by contracting and getting buy-in from executive leadership
  • Defining the scope, goals and specific results that will be achieved
  • Deciding who will be involved in the process and to what extent
  • Finding your Strategic Planning Champions and defining accountabilities
  • The crucial importance of chief influencers at multiple levels
  • Exploring style: the behaviors, priorities, decisions and symbolic aspects of an organization’s culture
  • Today’s most commonly used strategic planning processes/approaches/models
  • Designing your session: creating the storyboard/process flow
  • What tools/models/activities can be included in the strategic planning session
  • Techniques for enabling creativity and innovative thinking
  • Determining what information/data will be critical to discussions
  • Producing the expected results of the planning process
  • Managing the logistics before, during and after the session
  • Facilitating the actual session: drawing people out, generating ideas and running the sessions efficiently
  • Establishing next steps and moving towards the execution phase
  • Conducting regular review sessions to check progress towards milestones


Learning Objectives

  • Understand Your Role in the Process and Contract with the Leadership Team
  • Effectively Facilitate Strategic Planning Sessions That Drive Results Within the Organization
  • Select the Best Strategic Planning Approach, Get Senior Sponsorship, and Set Realistic Expectations for Your Strategy-Planning Session
  • Ensure Results By Establishing Accountability, Implementing Regular Reviews, and Aligning with the Performance Management System

Clarifying Your Role

  • Identify the Different Roles of a Facilitator
  • Clarify Senior Leadership’s Expectations of Your Role as Facilitator
  • Define Your Role as Facilitator

Planning for Strategic Planning

  • Ask the Right Questions to Establish Shared Meaning Around Terminology and Outcomes of a Strategy-Planning Session
  • Apply a Process When Contracting with Leadership
  • Identify Strategic-Planning Champions and Ensure the Right People Are Part of the Process

Strategic Planning Approaches

  • Recognize Current and Common Strategic Planning Approaches
  • Articulate Considerations When Choosing a Strategic Planning Approach
  • Define Strategic Planning Outputs

Tools and Models Used in Strategic Planning

  • Discuss the Importance of Macro- and Market Environmental Factors in Strategic Planning
  • Describe the Purpose of Using Models and Tools in Strategic Planning
  • Recognize Various Models Used in Strategic Planning for Analyzing and Synthesizing Information

Logistics—Before, During, and After

  • Manage the Logistics Before, During, and After the Strategic Planning Session
  • Identify Critical Data That Can Make or Break a Strategic Plan

Facilitating the Session

  • Prepare for Your Strategic Planning Session and Create an Environment for Effective Dialogue
  • Apply Critical Skills and Techniques of an Effective Facilitator
  • Manage Disruptive Behaviors During a Strategic Planning Session
  • Use Processes to Drive Key Outputs and Produce Results

Your Role in Implementation

  • Assist in Crafting a Strategic Narrative
  • Establish Your Role in Aligning the Organization, Translating the Strategy Plan into Meaningful Actions, Communicating the Plan, and Getting Organizational Buy-In

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Facilitating an Effective Strategic Planning Process at American Management Association

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