This post is the second in a series. You can find the whole series in our Complete Toolkit for Strategic Planning with Remote Teams.
When I worked at larger companies as a product manager, I LOVED to get invited to strategic planning sessions. These were usually held at a nearby hotel or corporate meeting/vacation center.
Snacks and lunch were provided, drinks afterwards, and I felt ever so important to be a junior team member invited to sit with the executives.
Best of all, they never asked me to prepare a thing or even make any overt commitment to the resulting plan.
It was like a luxury vacation from email, with chocolate, and I loved it.
Of course, I have no idea what the strategic plans actually said afterwards, because down in the trenches, we never used them again.
Let’s not do that here.
This post is the second in a series discussing a process for running strategic planning with remote teams designed by Upstream Meetings. See the first post here:
An Intro to Strategic Planning with Remote Teams.
With this process, you’re aiming for a strategic plan that’s rooted in a clear understanding of your current situation, and that lays out a framework for moving forward that your whole team understands and embraces. As Steve Blank so clearly stated, Strategy is Not a To Do List. This leaves no room for chocolate-snarfing freeloaders in the process; everyone must actively contribute to building the plan for it to succeed.
To run strategic planning with a remote team, you must increase each participant’s individual responsibility for preparing and working outside the meeting. It’s the only way to get through planning within the time during which people can effectively engage online.
The happy side-effect: when your team does get together, every person will come with key insights and will actively contribute ideas that shape the resulting plan. When people are this involved in the process, they will also buy-in to implement the plan! This plan will be their baby, not some execu-garblety-gook destined for the round file.