We're right at the midway point of the year. If your strategic planning cycle runs parallel to the calendar year, then there's no better time to dust of your key goals and conduct a thorough assessment of your progress to date. It's a great opportunity to inspire, excite and engage your team to deliver on your plan for the year.
Here are four recommendations for conducting an effective mid-year strategic review
1. Do it off-site.
Strategic reviews require a degree of creativity and head-space that can only manifest itself in an interruption-free zone. By getting off-site, you minimize the magnetic draw that the rest of the organization has on the people in the room.
It also provides a new environment in which your team may find the inspiration they wouldn't otherwise if they were sat in 'Conference Room B' in your offices.
Creative spaces like art galleries and museums are great, and many now have event space to rent, as are the meeting rooms in many co-working spaces. On the flipside, try as much as possible to avoid windowless basement conferences rooms in hotels which have a tendency to feel somewhat soulless.
2. Focus on the remainder of the year.
If you conduct a strategic review every quarter (as you should), then this is the last review you'll hold that focuses exclusively on this year. From your Q3 review onwards you'll likely start thinking about the turn of the year.
It's the last opportunity you'll have to introduce new initiatives you'd like to achieve this year or to re-inject enthusiasm into those initiatives that have somewhat fallen by the ways side.
So let the discussion delve into the possibilities. Ask yourself, "if there was something you could still achieve this year, what would it be?"
3. Don't let the summer derail you.
Right around the time of the mid-year review is when the summer slowdown hits many businesses; key people are out on vacation and we get scared to commit to anything before September.
Instead of deferring your projects to the fall, why not take a more measured approach? You may need to reset a few expectations but slowing down doesn't mean you have to put them on the back burner.
You can continue to implement your key strategic initiatives throughout the summer; you may just have to rely on a wider than usual group of people to do so.
4. Hold the social bit at the end of the session.
I can't tell you the number of strategic reviews I've facilitated that incorporate a social event right in the middle of a two-day session. They usually stretch into the evening of the first day before we reconvene the next day to wrap things up.
The sharpness and clarity that was present in the room at the beginning of the first day have, by the end, dulled a little by the previous night's festivities.
By no means am I wanting to come across as the 'fun police;' In fact, I highly recommend that you do build in some social time with your team. But book it in at the end, as a celebration of all that you've accomplished. Not in the middle where it can often slow down your momentum.