In all my years of facilitating strategic planning for organizations, businesses, and teams, there are some things I’ve learned that work for a high-performance-type level of experience.  One that everyone enjoys and the finished product of a plan is not only implemented, but the enthusiasm grows exponentially throughout the community.  Here are 6 “rules,” guidelines really, that set you and your group up for success with a super strategic experience:


#1 – Get out of your normal environment

There is a point we hit a natural rhythm of status quo.  When we are in a status quo state, we settle into comfort zones.  In comfort zones it’s hard to think creatively, to get a vision that’s bigger than our comfort zone.  So, to start to think creatively, get out of your normal surroundings.  Going to a space where things look different – especially getting out into nature where there are no walls – helps you see different so you can think different.


#2 – Don’t put limitations on ideas

When we have an idea, 85% of the time it’s a really safe idea.  Whatever happened to opening the gate to the opportunity our imagination can offer when engaged and unleashed?  Don’t limit the idea.  A hundred  years ago, who would have thought we’d be walking around with a palm-size device that connects us to the world with sound and moving images. Let your imagination loose.


#3 – Learn who are the squirrels and ducks on the team

Squirrels may seem random, but they have fun while being productive.  Ducks line up in a row and follow the leader. Know your team. What are their strengths and where do they fit? Do they think randomly or in logical order? Get a variety of thinkers to help you think bigger. Alone in your business? Join a Mastermind group.


#4 – Get a facilitator

You can’t think of everything on your own, you need a different perspective to your ideas, and you need help staying on track to a finished point. A facilitator can help bring all ideas together to formulate a solid plan.  A facilitator doesn’t bring ideas to the table, they simply put all the ingredients together to make the cake.


#5 – Have fun

Put some fun energy into the process.  If that means going to a park to play for a short time to generate some energy, do that.  If it’s putting on some fun music and dancing around the room, do that. 


#6 – Be strategic

Think it through before you do. Every great plan needs a review process before implementing.  Are your core values prevalent? Have you planned to scale to capacity enough for growth? What did you NOT think about that still needs to be included? Have you considered how the plan affects everyone surrounding you? Before implementing the strategy, look at the whole board to see all the pieces and moves available.  Once you’re confident and excited about the plan, go forth and conquer!