A full strategic planning session would include a look back at what has been accomplished since the last strategy session. This includes initiatives that were fully executed, some that may be still in the works, and those that have been scrapped or put in a parking lot. It is important to discuss them all. Remember the pre-retreat assignment? It is great to have the perspectives of the staff members who are working on these initiatives, as well as the leader’s perspective to assist in our analysis. On the initiatives that have been accomplished, not only can we learn what happened and how it happened, but also, we can quickly analyze the benefits the organization has received since the implementation. Giving the attendees the feeling that what we are doing here is not only possible but important is a great way to start off a retreat.
For those initiatives that had not yet been completed or had to be scrapped altogether, we can view the reasons why this happened. Doing so may help us to determine whether we should allocate additional resources (time, money, or people), develop management processes, or recognize that the initiative was not all that vital, to begin with. We can, and should, learn from our failures. This portion is not intended to be a finger-pointing session, rather, it is an acknowledgment that we (the company) were unrealistic in regard to the potential of the initiative, what obstacles were presented, and how these obstacles impeded the success of the initiative. Applying this evaluation to a failed initiative will be beneficial as we begin planning for the coming year.
Well, we made it to lunch on the first day. Take a minute and look back at what we have accomplished in the first several hours, and then take a break! This is intense work— sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhilarating, and almost always emotional. Breaks are needed. They give everybody a chance to take a deep breath, attend to personal needs, and reset for the work ahead. Set a time to reconvene, as this is a good time to recommit to one of the ground rules the group probably set, which is to be present and on time.