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It’s that time of year again … time to plan the strategic planning meeting!!

How do you insure it doesn’t turn out like this??? It’s so true while being both funny and sad … take a look!

Sometime in the next few weeks tens of thousands of businesses, large and small, will begin their strategic planning process. And for about 90 percent of those businesses, the entire process will turn out to be a huge waste of time.

What goes wrong when teams get together for strategic planning?

In classic David Letterman style, here are my top 10 things that mess everything up!

  1. Focusing on past events rather than the future.
  2. Getting tangled in the weeds of tactical minutiae and not focusing on the broader business.
  3. Personal agendas and pet projects.
  4. Everything is presented in a mess of spread sheets and there are no visuals to keep it interesting.
  5. The ‘dominator’ takes over!
  6. No one took the time to effectively plan the meeting and assign roles.
  7. Too many ‘irrelevant’ people are invited.
  8. The tech doesn’t work.
  9. Time doesn’t matter and isn’t respected.
  10. ……The outcome is another strategic meeting from hell!

Over the next few weeks, I will provide you with a few tips, tricks, and interesting ideas for your upcoming strategic planning meetings that will assist you in avoiding the meeting ‘from hell’ designation.

Here are a few planning ideas to get you started.


The meeting space matters more than you think. It doesn’t have to be in Maui, but if at all possible, it should be offsite in a place with lots of natural sunlight, and windows and doors that open into fresh air.


Only invite guests who you believe can contribute meaningfully to the discussion. Tell the invited guests why they are being invited, and what you expect from them. If you need to invite guests remotely, make sure they can be seen on a screen and are physically given a seat at the table … set the screen up on a stand at the meeting table so the remote guests are both seen and heard. Calling in never works!


Start on time. End on time. Respect people’s time. Assign a time keeper. Schedule plenty of quick breaks, and don’t let them go overtime.


EVERYONE in the meeting must have a voice. If you are leading the meeting, make it clear that you will be calling on everyone to express their thoughts. The time keeper will ensure that everyone is given an equal amount of time to speak.

These points sound basic, but I thought it best to build from the ground up. Plus, sometimes the basics are not given their due.

If it’s time to ramp up your team’s innovation and collaboration abilities – we can help! Contact us today


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Employees sleeping during meeting