The need for whole brain strategic planning

Every year the management or leadership team treks off to some external destination and spends a few days talking about their plans for the coming year.

It’s a well worn path.

As a strategic planning facilitator I have attended, contributed and designed many of these.

But many of these strategic planning sessions don’t work like they are supposed to.

Now I know the aim is not to treat these sessions as entertainment.

But surely these days can be made more engaging and energising.

Here is the problem.

They are designed as left-brain exercises.

So the process is logical, rational and efficient (in theory).

But by only facing on these elements participants miss the slightly messy, chaotic yet creative parts of the process.

They miss asking themselves difficult and uncomfortable questions.

Delegates and the facilitator often make the mistake of slavishly following the agenda rather than following the energy of the group.

Having a broad plan for the day or the event is a good idea but it should not be a straight-jacket.

Most of all, strategic planning is a creative, imaginative affair.

Apple became the most valuable company in the world not through left brain logic but through right-brain design, passion and an awesome customer experience.

The key message?

Strategy planning sessions should be whole brain affairs.

A dynamic tension between order and chaos, reason and emotion, discipline and bubbling enthusiasm.

You will achieve a better outcome and delegates will want to come back next year!

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