We’re in the fourth quarter, which means there are a lot of strategy sessions happening right now. Everyone is trying to close strong in 2023 and get off to a strong start in 2024.
Reminder to anyone leading or facilitating a strategy session, whether with your team, leader, peers or board, your job is not to have answers to all the questions. Your job is to create an environment where you’ll elicit the best perspectives, questions and feedback. It’s a strategy session; you’re not presenting, so don’t be quick to answer.
Instead, dig in deep when questions are asked. Think about the person asking the question, and try to understand their perspective, experience and where they’re coming from. Why do they think that? Why did they ask that? Dig for more; you want more.
Take the feedback, then outside the strategy session, compile your notes, find the takeaways and go to work on them. Dig in, find the answers and consider different perspectives. When it’s time, call the next meeting. After reviewing it further, you’ll have more perspectives and takeaways. Have a discussion about it.
There will come a time when you present your budget, forecast or plans for 2024, and you will need all the answers. When you’re in a strategy session, that is the time to hear all the voices and elicit the best questions and perspectives you can. Make that your goal when you go in.
I’ve seen people get that backwards, and I’ve done that myself. I try to have all the answers to prove that I know the business and am on top of everything. That’s not what the time is for; that’s not the goal of a strategy session. Get the best questions and perspectives out. It will help you think, and you can go back and work on it. That’s real strength, leadership and facilitation. It’ll make people feel valued and part of the process. You’ll get a lot further down the road with better plans and ideas the more perspectives you elicit.