This week we will focus on an upcoming event for many of you; the annual strategic planning retreat!  So often this meeting becomes the main event for revisiting past strategies as well as planning for the future.  During this three part series, you will receive some best practices and examples on prep-work, session work and post-work to create a strategic plan that will propel your organization forward.

Part 2: Retreat Session

The day has finally arrived, retreat day!  You have completed your prep work exercises and pulled out common themes for review with the team.

Here is a copy of a typical retreat agenda:


I.          Opening Remarks and Keynote from Executive Team (8:30 – 9:00 a.m.)

II.        Strategy Workshop Part 1 (9:00 – 12:00 p.m.)

A.         Building a Culture of Execution *Pre-reading – “Creating a Culture of Execution” White Paper

B.         Review of Results of Pre-Work Exercises

1.         Mission

2.         Vision

3.         Values

4.         Capabilities Gaps

5.         SWOT Analysis/Risk Assessment

6.         Parking Lot Issues


III.       Strategy Workshop Part 2 (1:00 – 3:00 p.m.)

A.         What is Strategic Planning? * Pre-reading – “Overview of Strategic Planning” White Paper

B.         2014 Strategic Goals Framing based on last year’s initiatives

C.         Software Review (Demonstration of the AchieveIt Software)

D.        Discuss and Finalize 2014 Strategic Themes and Goals Statements

IV.       Strategy Workshop Part 3 (3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)

A.         Plan Building in the team (in or outside of software)


With the team, you will want to review the main themes from your Mission and Vision and the results of your Values voting.  Keep the conversation focused on the main themes that emerged and have the group continue to narrow the focus to the key reasons why the company exists and where the company is going.  The goal is not to walk out of the meeting with a perfectly word-smithed statement but the rough draft that a smaller task force can perfect.

Strategic Planning Building a Plan  Strategic Planning Session Templates – Part 2 of 3 Strategic Planning Building a Plan

Then you will begin to review the implications of your SWOT Analysis and Capabilities Gap.  The true value of the SWOT analysis is in bringing this information together, to assess the most promising opportunities, and the most crucial issues. The last step in the process is to translate all of the final Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, Fix and Leverage components to answer the question: “How can we best compete?”

Development main strategies to address these issues based on your analysis:

  • In what niches will we compete?
  • What product and/or service lines, geographic areas, and/or operational areas will we focus our planning efforts? What areas represent the greatest opportunities for growth and prosperity?
  • What customer value proposition will differentiate us in those niches?
  • What direction does the strategy require we take in human capital?
  • What are the technology enablers of the strategy?

By answering these questions and converting your analysis into a blueprint for transformation, you create organizational consensus and planning focus, while charting a clear and deliberate path for the organization’s future – all critical to developing actionable and successful strategic and operational plans.

You will use these broad strategies to develop key measures of success and goal statements during the afternoon portion of the retreat.  The senior leadership team should aim to have goal statements and broad strategies identified by the end of the day.  These items will be your retreat deliverables.  Then identify the right team members to continue to build out the specifics of the strategic plan outside of the retreat.  Allow the people closest to the customer to identify the action plans and key steps to achieve those strategies.  We will get more into this format in Part 3.

What other topics have been critical to cover during your strategic planning retreats?

building a strategic plan  Strategic Planning Session Templates – Part 2 of 3 building a strategic plan1

Maria Frantz
Maria Frantz
Maria Frantz is AchieveIt’s VP of Operations, a proud Georgia Tech Grad, and a Master of Statistics. When she’s not building strategic plans you can find Maria painting and haphazardly attempting to learn how to play the violin, guitar, and trumpet.