Monday, January 16, 2012

8 tips for Better Strategic Planning in 2012

If you are considering a strategic planning meeting, follow these eight tips to get much more out of your meeting:

1. Bring the right people. The strategic planning retreat should be run with a small group of firm leaders who actively participate in the meeting—including a cross-section of people from the firm, especially someone representing the young professionals. PSMJ recommends that the planning team be between seven and 15 people.

2. Go off-site. Seldom can a planning retreat be held effectively in your offices. Too many interruptions, potential distractions, and tardy participants make it impossible.

3. Hire a court stenographer. None of the participants should be expected to record all the information discussed during the meeting. Hiring a court stenographer that can capture the critical information will make writing your strategic plan more effective.

4. Use an outside facilitator. Use of an outside facilitator brings an unemotional professional that can keep your team on track, and remove any individual biases that could influence your plan. Be certain that your facilitator knows the design industry, and that you provide an abundance of advanced data about your firm, its markets, its clients, and all previous strategic planning efforts.

5. Don’t let the facilitator write your plan. Your team should write its own plan for greater commitment to the outcome.

6. Title the plan “DRAFT.” Good strategic plans are fluid not rigid. By labeling your plan “DRAFT,” you encourage everyone to participate and to comment on the tactics and activities required to achieve your goals.

7. Built in accountability. The plan is not a strategic plan without specific actions, tactics, deadlines, and assignments given to individuals by name to assure accountability.

8. Establish regular reviews. Before leaving your planning retreat, coordinate calendars with all participants for a minimum of four reviews per year. Review meetings should be brief, off-site, with nothing else on the agenda but to review the goals and assignments that are part of your strategic plan.

Need help creating your strategic plan for 2012 – PSMJ can help! Over the past 30 years, PSMJ has assisted hundreds of A/E/C firms worldwide with their strategic planning efforts. Our unrivaled expertise and a smart objective point-of-view makes PSMJ an ideal partner for strategic planning.

Don’t hire a consultant who will learn the A/E business at your expense. Ask the hard questions to find someone you can trust to get it right. Whether your needs call for a new fully executable strategic plan or a refresher for your current plan, we are here to help. To learn more about PSMJ’s strategic planning capabilities, contact Kim Pazera at 617-965-0055 ext. 138 or

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