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Strategic Planning Consultants | Experienced Strategic Planning Company, in Minneapolis, MN

"Healthy organizations put 3 times more on the bottom line than unhealthy organizations." - McKinsey Quarterly, April 2014

Our Strategic Planning Retreats Yield Clarity, Alignment, Momentum, and an Actionable Strategic Plan.

Your team will leave knowing your top 5 to 10 initiatives and have a committed, prioritized focus for overcoming obstacles & accelerating growth, or we pay the strategy consultants’ bill and you keep all the diagnostic reports, business insights, and draft strategy map. With decades of experience, including “C” level leadership competence, in a wide range of businesses, our strategic growth consultants have helped our clients build, buy, and sell companies whose combined worth is in the trillions.

Boost execution capacity, clarity, alignment: business strategy consultants

Imagine what's possible when you and your team create the same level of strategic clarity, commitment and cohesion that has skyrocketed the world's most successful companies.

A strategic and agile approach to management is more important now, than ever before.

Our world is being remade by disruptive technologies, customer demands, and cultural transformations affecting workforce availability, compensation, and expectations. The fact that proven methods for business momentum are no longer reliable and what worked yesterday may never work the same way again, is impacting businesses everywhere. A recent Harvard Business Review Survey (2013) found that 81% of CEOs recognize they have to change their plans during execution, but an even smaller percentage of leaders have faith in their team to successfully adapt and respond successfully to the change in plans.

Our comprehensive strategic planning framework includes a thoughtful analysis of your business’ strengths, challenges, and priorities and compares this information to what similar organizations have done to successfully grow the organization. Your opportunities are unique but the roadmap for strategic growth is more predictable than your team may realize. As experienced strategic planning consultants, we enable your team to sift through the clutter and zero-in on the right priorities, in the right order, for rapid problem resolution and expeditious profitability.

What if your team could double or triple triple your results - this year?

We are a strategic planning firm that will get your team focused, super-charged and aligned on what matters.

Our Strategic Planning Retreats are Facilitated by Expert Business Strategy Consultants and Certified Business Growth Curve Specialists

Our corporate retreats help your team create an actionable strategic plan to be used for daily decision-making. Managing company growth is challenging. Our consultants facilitate an unambiguous strategic plan that enables you and your team to:

Stages of growth matrix - click to view
  • implement your strategy
  • align the efforts of your workforce
  • reinforce the most befitting culture for the organization
  • share management's plan for where the company is going
  • define long term and short term goals (and obstacles)
  • set clear, measurable milestones that mark progress
  • develop strategies for staff accountability and more

A retail company with $20M+ in revenue, struggling with the technological and competitive disruptions of our times, and a dreadful, diminishing profit margin. We were hired to facilitate a strategic planning retreat.

First, we facilitated a goal-based, data-driven strategic assessment that compared their organization and the collective perspective of the leadership team against what successful and productive companies do at a similar stage of development.
The business insights gleaned inspired creative discourse and at times, fiercely territorial discussions. This is to be expected and thus it’s essential to work with experienced strategy consultants for your retreat.

We had to facilitate the team through distractions, irrelevant diatribes, and taxing conflict; all while maintaining trust and pushing through to the goals of the meeting. The retreat was “intense, but invigorating” by their own words.
The President, who was also a founder, shared that he was attempting to balance the need for growth with the desire to maintain the company’s homegrown feel and entrepreneurial spirit. While appreciating the intent, peers expressed distress that “old-school” thinking was impeding progress.

Initially, there were very few things the leadership team agreed upon, except that they were missing a sustainable multichannel strategy.

A large executive team (of 20) completed our online strategy assessment and verbal interviews and came together for a multi-day facilitation. With a palpable sense of unrest, the team had to start by relaxing into the fact that to gain a strategic focus and direction, they first had to let go of their value of efficiency over creativity (at least during the retreat).

One of the newer members of the team used the opportunity to share his observations regarding the inflexibility and “old-retail-mentality” of the team. After a short, heated debate, we facilitated a powerful productive conflict exercise that restored the creativity in the room, and we were off to the races.

They identified their top five challenges as:

  • Hiring quality people (and retaining employees)
  • Products not differentiated (solving digital disruption)
  • Outdated marketing
  • Slow getting programs to market (and processes implemented)
  • Meeting changing customer expectations

On the opposite side of the spectrum, they identified their strengths as:

  • Clear core values
  • Strong communication between leadership and staff
  • Staff buy-in for change
  • Foundational project management systems

Fast forward twelve months.

The executive team has shrunk from 20 to 12 (two retired, three jumped, two changed roles, one is spearheading AI initiatives). The consensus is this change was a necessary and overdue shift.
The company is making strong headway towards eliminating redundant resources and retraining (upskilling) high to mid-performers, while overhauling their recruiting and hiring practices to attract more diverse talent.
The team shared they are more cohesive and committed to their business transformation. The CMO said, “I’m amazed at what this clarity has brought to the team. I mean, we were all in agreement before our strategy session about our problems. But I didn’t realize that our plan was just a bundle of ideas and ambiguous targets, as opposed to a clear, actionable, measurable strategy.”

While our strategic planning process cannot predict execution success, through the facilitated experience, your team will create a revived sense of optimism and your own growth playbook.

As experienced strategic planning consultants, we have seen time and again how our strategic planning service and growth planning framework benefits our clients

A few of the outcomes and benefits from our consulting:

  1. Improve the way the team communicates which in turn improves circulation amongst employees.
  2. Engage staff and enable them to help the company succeed by cultivating a common language of growth.
  3. Clarify the top areas of focus and what must be improved, in what order, to align the team around common goals and objectives.
  4. Through trusted research, leaders eliminate the guesswork and better manage the company's growth strategy.
  5. Making unknowns about your business disappear and eliminating the fear of growing a business Rewrites the sentence in a professional tone: Ensuring a fear-free experience and clearing up any unknowns while providing solutions for specific growth issues.
  6. Provides a well-reasoned roadmap for optimal performance
  7. Help improve a leader's ability to address conflict and reduce tension that leads to unproductive behaviors.
  8. Clarify the team's top 5 most critical challenges with a focus on a specific stage of growth to gain traction quickly.
  9. Benchmark areas of greatest opportunity and challenge via a structured analytical process.
  10. Reduce time to market and sales cycles.
  11. Identify and support employees' core values to proactively address the tendency of 71% of employees to become disengaged within six months.
  12. Reveal the impact of the company's caution vs. confidence ratio and juxtapose that against the research to determine when risk vs. vigilance is the right course of action for growth.
  13. Lead the dialogue across three categories: People, Profit/Revenue, or Process, which makes communication clearer and enables a faster approach to assessing problems and solutions.
  1. Improve "critical thinking" skills in a safe setting and improve decision quality across the management team.
  2. Pull back the covers to reveal the truth underneath each challenge thereby improving objectivity and the best prioritization of initiatives.
  3. Identify when the company is in a "flood zone" or a "wind tunnel" to ensure the team knows when to improve process first vs. people or revenue issues.
  4. Ameliorate customer satisfaction and client retention by zeroing in on the most important activities that matter most, right now.
  5. Encourage more productive conflict skills, employee satisfaction and productivity.
  6. Finally put to bed past business issues, with confidence and team buy-in.
  7. Increase performance by creating a bias for action around the right priorities, in most critical order.
  8. Areas of contraction are clarified, roadblocks are revealed, and impediments to growth are addressed, enabling the team to systematically row in unison towards greater growth and success.
  9. Examine the organizational strengths via a detailed analysis, then collaboratively create an aligned strategic approach for unlocking the revenue and productivity streams that will significantly impact the company's goals.
  10. Uncover real issues using self-diagnosis, performance assessments to gain a new perspective based on factual information.
  11. Establish a clear vision for improvement that is fundamental to your organizational success. A graphical roadmap is produced that details the plan to achieve results, outlines where the company wants to be and how it intends to get there.
  12. Once the plans and initiatives have been identified and agreed upon, we aggregate them into a timeline with key performance / target indicators and confirm commitments.

About Our Business Strategy Consultants and Strategic Business Planning Consultants

Established in 2004, TurnKey Coaching & Development Solutions, is an experienced management consulting company. Our consultants have decades of senior-level leadership experience in addition to years of business growth practice, extensive training, and serious credentials. Our team of strategists facilitate the development of a strategic plan with well-considered OKRs, that will help you harness the power of an aligned team on a mission.
As a recognized growth strategy consulting firm, we have worked with 1000+ clients across all industries. Our training sessions leverage adult-learning best-practices to engage your leadership team, inspire confidence in the plan for achieving your big ambitions and steadfastly create the future of your organization.

A few of our clients include:

Costco Wholesale, Pfizer, Rolls-Royce, N.A., PrimeRevenue, Spark Energy, Toll Brothers, Corelogic, Yusen Logistics, Macquarie, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority

There are several advantages that we offer our clients.

Our clients include both small to medium-sized companies and large enterprises, including privately-held, public, and family-owned companies. We have experience in many industries, including manufacturing, retail, healthcare, technology, construction, transport, financial services, and more. Our consulting work in diverse and successful businesses gives your team the opportunity to learn from our experience.

We help our clients with a defined process that has taken us years to perfect. Our retreats enable your team to focus on the right targets, at the right time for predictable growth and success.

We guarantee satisfaction or we refund fees. Call us for a no-obligation consultation: 281-469-4244

High-success organizations have a routine strategic planning process and a strong accountability and execution practice. On the other hand, low-success organizations report lacking a consistent and effective strategic planning process and strategy analysis checkpoints, as well as being deficient in the effective execution competence.

While these statements may seem obvious, there’s a lack of awareness and behavioral congruence in leadership teams. For example, according to the research, leaders say they understand that strategic planning is important, and yet only 36% say they actually do a good job at the actual strategic planning process or strategic management, which includes facilitating leadership team alignment and regularly revisiting a well-structured strategic plan and critical analysis process.
Source: USA national survey facilitated by the Association for Strategic Planning with support from the University of Arkansas (March 2012), of 1000+ respondents.

Most businesses fail when there are too many priorities, absent or insufficient KPIs, and too little strategic analysis

Having a meaningful strategic plan is essential for every serious business enterprise. Unfortunately, most fall short; triggering a series of dominos including poor accountability, execution, frustration and missed opportunities.

Our strategic development and planning services help leaders formulate strategic plans that are clear, data-driven, aligned, and led by an organization's vision and mission. When your team is all on the same page…. rowing in the same direction and engaging in constructive discourse… now, that's a powerful force for growth.

Potential problems your Senior Leadership Team's Online Strategic Assessment may uncover:

  • Anticipating Problems
  • Business/Profit Design
  • Cash Flow
  • Chaotic Periods
  • Communication Gap
  • Cost of Lost Expertise
  • Customer Migration
  • Employee Turnover
  • Expanding Sales
  • Flexible Planning
  • Growth Plans
  • Hiring Quality Staff
  • Inadequate Profits
  • Limited Capital
  • Market Change
  • Marketing Position
  • New Product Development
  • New Staff Orientation
  • Problem Diagnosis
  • Project Management
  • Resistant to Change
  • Staff Buy In
  • Staff Morale
  • Staff Satisfaction
  • Staff Training
  • Systems Development

Typically, strategic management consultants, at this level, charge anywhere from $100K and up for the kind of prepared growth strategy your team will receive from our program (at a fraction of the cost).

Fortunately, there's a proven, more effective and cost-efficient way.

With our data-driven, strategic alignment program and strategic retreat services, you can create alignment, clarity, buy-in, and a vetted action plan within the session.

With our innovative strategic facilitation, your team's outcomes include:

  • Clarity. A leadership team that understands your company's real opportunities and a growth strategy they can get behind.
  • Confidence. Through tough conversations and facilitated discussions, your team builds trust, confidence, and cooperation around the big problems and what to do about them
  • Collaboration. Each leader on your team buys into the elimination of silos and the cohesive behaviors required for more effective collaboration
  • Identify the hidden agents that are creating obstacles to growthIdentify the top five challenges (of 27) that your team considers to be the biggest problems they face, right now
  • Improve your team's ability to diagnose problems, gain consensus and the authentic commitment required for rapid change and growth.

Strategic Planning Consultants | Strategy Consulting Firm: Experts in Strategic Planning Retreats

Contact us today to learn more about how our business growth consultants can support your strategic planning retreat and company goals.

Call 281-469-4244 or email SOGX @ TurnKeyCoachingSolutions (dot) com

Our Strategic Business Planning Retreats facilitate a common language for growth and an organized strategy for unified strategic management

But don't just take our word for it. Take a look at what clients are saying:

“As a senior executive in a fast-growing company that is currently at Stage 5 in the 7 Stages of Growth, I can tell you that the X-ray/27 challenges & Strengths / builder / protector / stages of growth process have been more valuable to our company than words could ever express. It has helped the leadership team understand, and then navigate the stages of growth based on an accurate and brutally honest snapshot and assessment of our company at scheduled and timely intervals. Having experienced it firsthand, I can tell you that it helped us make better decisions, helped us lead with confidence, see what issues and challenges we needed to address, and ultimately help us set the right priorities, strategies and plans in place - and correct them when needed. Lastly, these tools enabled every employee in the company to be in alignment on all aspects of our business and specifically critical Initiatives. This alignment made it easy to communicate clearly and effectively to the entire organization daily, weekly, monthly and annually that drove growth while building a solid unwavering culture that drove our success.

I can’t tell you how many times this process gave us a calm assurance that we were “doing the right things” because we could see from the x-rays and data what we were experiencing and being challenged with - was actually exactly what our company should be experiencing at that moment in our growth curve. And we could see what we needed to change or address at that exact stage of growth to continue up the growth curve.

I am thankful that our consultants and leadership team bought into and supported investing in these tools, assessments, and the process. We are leading our industry and continuing to achieve almost all of our goals thanks to these assessments and the process that surrounds them.”

- T. Sumney, CIO, Real Estate Services Company

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“[The program] helped me as a leader in my company gain an understanding of the effect of growth on our staff. Understanding that focus and that my leadership style needs to change as the company grows was a huge wake-up call for me."

-- L. Franklin, CEO, Service Based Company, Boise

"I’ve owned businesses for 50 years and currently employ more than 1000 employees and I had no idea that a strategist, trained in this process, could help us in this way.

Frankly, our first experience with Anisa Aven and the Stages of Growth X-Ray program was like a dream come true for me. The team's revelations were just incredible to hear, for instance, “One of the best things we have ever done as a team,” and "I feel energized and hopeful now!" I'm very excited about our direction and we'll be doing more of these!"

- T. Brundage. Founder and CEO, Multiple holdings in the financial services, storage facilities, and real estate management industries

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“The biggest "aha" for me, and there were a number of them, was the moment I realized that my team put "sufficient cash flow for growth" at the bottom of our problems.

I have worked with this team for 10+ years, and realized at that moment that our priorities were not in sync and our perspective on what's most important was totally out of whack! This shifted everything about how I approach our executive team updates, meetings, and execution strategy now.

I am very grateful for TurnKey Coaching & Development Solution's guidance and help. We are on the right track now.”

-- T.M., EVP Manufacturing Services, Global Manufacturing company

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“Prior to being exposed to the Stages of Growth, some of our companies were like hamsters running in circles with limited forward motion frantically focused on distractions and non-critical issues.

Our most successful portfolio companies are now implementing the tools and processes that will lead to growth and improved profitability. I recommend the team at TurnKey and the stages of growth to any business entity."

-- J.Parks, Angel Investor and General Manager VC

Maybe even after reading what clients think, you're still on the fence.

That's OK. We understand.

Are you thinking about an internally facilitated business strategy meeting?

It can be quite appealing to have a senior leader or business unit leader facilitate the strategic planning meeting. He or she is intimately familiar with the organization's goals, strengths, and challenges and the price tag of "no added cost" is utterly attractive. However, there's ample research that has proven that an external expert with experience facilitating strategic management retreats is far more likely to have the ability to foster alternative opinions, encourage authentic discourse, navigate the conflict of passionate but varying perspectives, and produce an aligned strategically focused action plan that the full team can get behind.

We appreciate that there's a lot to consider when searching for the right consultant amongst the slew of strategic consulting firms.

What we have found is that companies that fail to implement a strategic approach to their management style continue:

  • focusing on the 80% of activities that produce 20% of the results, instead of the 20% of actions that produce 80% of the results.
  • struggling to stay ahead of the ever-changing, VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) environment..
  • worrying about whether or not the team is really in agreement and clear this time, or just nodding because they'd prefer to avoid conflict.
  • wondering whether the execution strategy inspires the discipline to get the job done.
  • settling for just struggling for accelerating growth, engaged employees, and greater stability

Is it time to also evaluate the aggregate impact of the ongoing deficiencies that impede the fulfillment of your long-term vision?

Why You Need to Hire an Accomplished Consultant with a Proven Strategic Planning Framework

In short order, your management team could use our data-driven, strategic alignment program and...

  • Establish a direct correlation between company success (profits), employee engagement and leadership competency
  • Foster team certainty that impacts your customer relationships and inspires the improved quality of your efforts, products, and services
  • Raise awareness of the misalignment on the team and enable the team to execute in a more focused, aligned full-force manner
  • Put a name to the problems - if your team can name it, they can solve it
  • Create bigger, faster results that can turn the vision into reality

But, DON'T DELAY!

Our program requires an intensive effort from our strategy consultants and commitment from your leadership team.
What we do is not for everyone, but for those leadership teams who are fully engaged, passionate, and eager for sustainable growth and improvement.

This is why we ask potential clients to schedule a complimentary consultation. Let's see if what we do and who you are is a good fit.

Strategy Consulting Firm | Strategic Planning Consultants | Strategic Planning Retreats

CALL 281-469-4244 or fill in this form to contact us:

RISK-FREE GUARANTEE

If we are a good match, we launch with a two-step process that safeguards your investment and our reputation before the actual retreat. This includes:

1) A research-backed, quantitative strategic assessment and report
2) CEO/Division Head Debrief on the results

This provides us both with a "pilot" commitment to ensure the best possible results and confirm each other's understanding of and commitment to the goals. The outcome includes a stage of growth X-ray assessment, a comprehensive report, a stakeholder debrief, and a cursory action plan.
If at the conclusion of this first phase, you are not 100% convinced that our framework is the best fit for your team, we walk away, and you keep the reports.
Call us today to schedule your complimentary consultation and secure your spot for a strategic assessment: 281-469-4244 or email: SOGX at TurnKeyCoachingSolutions (dot) com

We are proud of our data-driven Strategic Planning Framework which enables business leaders to get ahead of issues, predict how growth will impact the business and understand what must be done, in what order to grow the business - fast.

James Fischer the 7 Stages of Growth graphic

Known as the Stages of Growth Enterprise Development Model*, this highly-effective service has been successfully utilized by thousands of successful organizations worldwide. A research-backed program, developed by James Fischer, founder of the Origin Institute, this Strategic Management Assessment & Growth Strategy Model is based on a six-year study of entrepreneurial companies including interviews with over 650 CEOs.

The research enables our strategic planners and business strategy consultants to understand and decipher the patterns, behaviors, and characteristics of growth or failure in entrepreneurial enterprises and business units. Your team's perspective on your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (this is no ordinary SWOT analysis) is then compared to the most successful organizations for a unique perspective on how to achieve your business growth goals.

Our framework provides in-depth methodology for effective strategic analysis, including expert facilitation, team assessment, and facilitated alignment.

You will also learn the different stages of development and the challenges you'll encounter. Before your corporate strategic planning retreat concludes, your team will identify the key steps to achieving your business growth objectives.

A few components of the framework include the rules that govern business growth, the hidden agents to be prepared to overcome, and the 27 challenges every business will face and when.

The Rules: The research uncovered unique “rules” that govern the stages of business growth:

  • Movement from one stage to another begins as soon as you land in any stage of growth
  • What you don’t get done in a specific stage does not go away
  • Time will make a difference
  • If you aren’t growing, you’re dying

The warnings: there are invisible factors that will consistently derail your growth plans, unless they are identified and rectified. We call these hidden agents that have their own roadmap:

  • Factors that lie beneath the surface and create obstacles to growth
  • Surface issues look much different than what it really is
  • Clarity and ability to address the real issues
  • Become constrictors if real issues aren’t addressed

Prioritized Challenges: The research uncovered 27 primary challenges that every business unit, company or non-profit organization will face. When we identify your team's primary challenges it:

  • Forces the team to put words to their top 5 critical issues
  • Provides an opportunity to see how the leadership team defines the top challenges
  • Forces discussion that moves the team toward alignment of the goals and solutions

A little more about what the research uncovered about each stage of business growth:

Stage 1
Start Up: 1 – 10 Employees

What does a Stage 1 company look like?

A Stage 1 company has 1-10 employees, and at this stage of growth, it's all about survival.
A Stage 1 company is CEO-centric — meaning the CEO is likely the ‘specialist’ who has created a product or service and is now getting his/her idea to take shape. It's the energy, passion and vision of the CEO that is the driving force behind the company's success today. The CEO also makes all the decisions and brings in all the sales. Therefore, 50% of the CEO's time should be spent as the technician, or the specialist, while only 10% of his/her time should be spent as a manager. The other 40% of the leader's time should be in creating and fine-tuning the vision of the company.

Stage 2
Ramp Up: 11 – 19 Employees

What does a Stage 2 company look like?

A Stage 2 company has 11 – 19 employees. CEOs of Stage 2 companies are still the center-of-the-universe in their business or division. They need to remain nimble and hyper-focused on critical analysis before reacting to the increases in activity and workload, CEOs/leaders can ask themselves these questions:

  • Am I still focused on driving profits and revenue and is my team?
  • Does my team understand how to distinguish the difference between busy-work and bottomline impact priorities?
  • Where in the business am I the cog in the wheel?
  • Am I delegating, empowering, and mentoring others to do their best?
  • Can I trust them to completely replace me? And, if not, what am I willing to do now to create a capable team that doesn't need me?
  • How regularly do I pay attention to our key indicators of success? Can I recite our KPI's by heart?

At this point, leverage your strategic planning retreat to ensure you have clarity about your core competencies. Profits come from planning and managing the financial side of your business (or division). What exactly is your revenue group(s) or if you are a cost-center division, how and when will you save or make the company money?

Stage 2 companies have double the trouble and must pay attention to the same priorities as a stage 1 company (cash flow, adequate profits for growth,and expanding sales) while also addressing the need for quality, competent staff.

Stage 3
Delegation: 20 – 34 Employees

What does a Stage 3 company look like?

A Stage 3 company has 20-34 employees. At this stage of growth, it's typical to experience a workforce revolt, as the company undergoes destabilization and chaos caused by more more opportunities, work, and revenue but without the processes in place to manage the workload or the history to tackle problems with confidence.

It's essential to get the company focused on the right path for improving performance, while fostering staff buy-in. The team has to develop patience, agility, resilience and a fondness of ambiguity, as things will need to change quickly during this stage of growth. It's also important that the CEO/leader learns to be facilitative and supportive, as opposed to dominant now. A predictor of future success is whether the CEO/leader can let go of the reigns now and train, mentor, and empower his/her team to be their best.
The top challenges of a stage 3 company include staff buy-in, leadership/staff gap, weak profit design, employees resistant to change, and the core values of the organization being unclear.

Stage 4
Professional: 35 – 57 Employees

What does a Stage 4 company look like?

Stage 4 is all about internal focus and internal processes, whereas Stage 3 was all about delegation and the CEO letting go. The necessity of that lesson will become painfully clear if the leader heads into Stage 4 still micromanaging — he/she has to let go.

This stage is all about professionalizing your company/division. The first aspect is building an effective team of individuals that can work together, as opposed to independently functioning individuals/groups. Unfortunately, creating this team might mean that you need to let some personnel go, however it's also a time when you have to pay attention and prevent unwanted involuntary employee turnover.

Growing a company this far means you know how to make good decisions and execute on them. You are aware of your competitors, the economic climate, short-term and long-term opportunities. You know how to make plans and get things done. You take time to focus on the details but are always prepared and can spring into action when needed. However, It's now time to move from running a company and to directing one. This is never an easy thing to do, especially for a founder or a leader used to having to be in the driver's seat. While it may seem like the top priority at this stage is people or profits, it's actually a critical time to focus on ensuring efficient and effective processes first.

Stage 5
Integration: 58 – 95 Employees

What does a Stage 5 company look like?

With a team of 58-95 employees, the company is growing rapidly. Revenues and profits are the primary focus - as the organization's girth requires a reliable, growing and flowing stream. By now, processes should be shored up and thus, the process is the last priority (profit then people then process). However, if process was back-burnered in stage four, leader beware - the leaky bucket will drain your margins and burnout your people.

This stage of growth for a company, a non-profit, or a division is all about integration. Focusing on integrating your processes with your teams can create exponential opportunities. This is often the first time a company begins to think in terms of departmental budgets, and for good reason. Your team has to be empowered to think critically and analyze options against the numbers. Your managers will need a solid strategic plan, a well-considered budget, and OKRs (objectives and key results) to measure every action against to move to the next level.

Now is the time to focus on efficiencies at scale. Leaders that fail to understand the importance of integration at this stage will suffer losses as the complexity and size of the organization dictates consolidation.

Stage 6
Strategic: 96 – 160 Employees

What does a flourishing Stage 6 company look like?

There's a rhythm now and a deliberate cadence and order to the company's success. Leadership styles and cultural norms are well established, processes are in place, and the leadership team can go fishing, at least a little more often. If integration of processes and managerial empowerment has solidified, then your team leads have the authority, resources, and roadmap for keeping the machine whirling. Is it time to relax or be more strategic?
This stage is called strategic because it's time to revisit your business design. Check and recheck the profit model, your plan for innovation, the market and competitors. Stage six warrants celebration but divisions/organizations need to be wary of becoming complacent or overly confident in its "if it's not broken, don't fix it" mentality. If you know where the banana peels lie, you're less likely to slip. Make a concerted effort to forecast how disruptive technology, automation, more agile competitors, consumer buying habits, governmental regulations, and other factors may impact your organization. Make this a part of your multi-year strategic planning process and strategic considerations.

A few of the top challenges a stage six organization will need to pay attention to include:
- keeping your eye on growing profits and what the competitors are up to
- a robust new staff orientation will prevent churn

Talent development, career pathing, and succession planning foster a "people first" culture which is important at this stage for not only engagement and productivity but to lower voluntary turnover.
Remember the bigger you get the more often and in more ways you'll need to communicate the mission, vision, and progress.

Quick tip: Share the company/division's goals, successes and setbacks at least weekly with all employees.

Stage 7
Visionary: 161+ Employees

What does a Stage 7 company look like?
A CEO's challenge in Stage 7 is all about transitioning into a large organization without losing what made it such a successful entrepreneurial business. Management's efforts to professionalize the company often crush the entrepreneurial spirit that is so necessary in order to not to be left behind by newer entrepreneurial firms. A Stage 7 business, non-profit, or organizational unit has greater than 161 employees. Size creates complexity and layers of bureaucracy that can quickly impede performance and growth. Stage 7, called the visionary stage, is a very different world than what's been encountered in the first six stages.

Key success factors include leadership coaching and conflict competency, business acumen, critical analysis, and ability to not only manage change but inspire others to see change and innovation as a reason for choosing to work within your organization. Watch for profit erosion, as even a couple of points may mean there's disengagement in the ranks, waste, inefficiencies, etc. that need to be solved via crowdsourcing your frontline contributors, which will bolster their self-esteem and belief that they matter and are making a contribution to something bigger.

Effective leaders at this stage spend 75% of their time coaching, mentoring, and driving the vision of the organization, 20% of their time managing, and only 5% of their time being the specialist.
Beware of unresolved problems from previous stages which can be like barnacles, teaming up with with low-morale, turnover, or poorly trained managers to cause drag and burn up your people and profits.

To learn more and determine if our process is right for your goals, call today: 281-469-4244 or email us directly at SOGX (at) TurnKeyCoachingSolutions (dot) com. We look forward to learning more about your organization!

How to Evaluate Strategy Consulting Firms and Select the Right Strategic Planning Consultant for your Corporate Retreat

Evaluating strategy consulting firms and growth consulting services can be tough. You need to evaluate the character of the company as a whole and the individual strategic planning consultants you will work with, their experience, as well as the interpersonal effectiveness skills needed for the task. You must also make sure the strategy consulting firm you choose has deep experience in growth consulting, strategic management and corporate retreat facilitation.
What is often overlooked, when evaluating strategy consulting firms, are the skills required for facilitating team alignment. It is not enough to have a well-considered strategic plan, an experienced strategic planner’s primary objective is to foster productive conflict and facilitate the kind of problem-solving that will produce an aligned team, motivated to hold each other accountable as they drive results together. The strategic planning process is important – but it is secondary to an aligned, fired-up leadership team.

Strategic Planning Retreat | Strategy Consulting Services FAQ

What does a strategic management consulting firm do?

Strategic management consulting firms provide a variety of services to organizations. These services include strategic planning, leadership development, organizational design and restructuring, and change management.

What is the difference between Strategic Management Consulting and HR Strategy Consulting?

Strategic Management Consulting is the application of knowledge, skills and experience to meet an organization's long-term business objectives. HR Strategy Consulting is the application of knowledge, skills and experience that may be used to meet an organization's short-term business objectives.

How do strategic planning retreats work?

A strategic planning retreat includes the management team of a business uit, or the executive team of the company.
Effective strategic planning retreats are most effective when facilitated by a seasoned business growth consultant in an “off-site” meeting room to minimize distractions and ensure optimal attention. The outcome of an effective strategic planning retreat includes a prioritized and aligned plan of action for both solving immediate problems, as well as identifying long-term strategic goals. By aligned, we mean making sure the leadership team is aligned around the mission, vision, values, and strategic priorities. For a strategic planning retreat to ‘work’ - the outcome must include team alignment, which is often more challenging than identifying the goals, tactics, or strategies.

We are an experienced strategic planning company with a proven process. We begin by conducting a thorough analysis (aka Business Health Check), a survey of the executive or management team’s top priorities and perspectives on the challenges the business (or business unit) faces, and the approach to driving results. By starting our strategic planning retreat with the aggregate data, the team is empowered to spend more time closing the gaps pre-identified than on arguing about what’s most important. The result is a prioritized, aligned strategy for growth.

What IS the strategic planning process?

Strategic planning is one of the most powerful ways of solving problems creatively while charting a course to achieve ambitious goals.
Strategic thinking allows leadership teams to view scenarios from a different perspective which increases the odds of identifying alternative solutions to business growth challenges.

A common misconception is that strategic planning is limited to large enterprises. However, business growth planning is widely applicable for any company, organization (for profit, non-profit, government organization) or business unit including large and mid-market enterprises and small teams intent on accomplishing a bigger goal. Effective Strategic planning focuses on long term vision and big picture thinking, but cannot ignore the importance of resolving current business processes, people, and profit challenges.

How do you plan a strategic planning retreat?

First, make sure you have a clear goal for the retreat, gather and visually organize important organizational data (the financials, employee engagement reports, past goals, unsuccessful endeavors, employee performance reports, KPIs and OKRs, industry changes, etc.) and prepare the right people for the strategic planning process.

In addition to a solid SWOT-analysis for each department and person, identify the top 10 challenges via leadership team input. Optimally, this will also include comparing where your company is to what the research says successful organizations do at similar stages of growth.

It’s important to secure a large enough space for comfortable movement and at least two-days on the team’s calendar. While some organizations think they can accomplish a strategic plan in less time, they do so at the expense of team alignment - which in most cases is more important than the documented plan.

Be sure to identify and communicate the rules of engagement, including how to engage in constructive criticism, productive conflict, and the individual participation expectations. Large post-it notes, whiteboards, and plenty of wall space will help the team to capture and document the plans and record all of the team's ideas. Tip: This is an essential part of the creative process, so don't skimp!

What are the steps in the strategic planning process?

A qualified strategic planning expert facilitator leads the executive (or business unit management) team in a facilitated, prioritized review of the company’s top priorities, challenges, strengths, goals, and opportunities. However, an effective strategic planning retreat produces so much more than a traditional SWOT discussion, including clarity, alignment, and a prioritized plan of attack.

To encourage engagement and establish a safe space, set up the room in such a way as to encourage interaction, creativity, and authentic communication. The leadership team must be able to see the other team member’s faces and thus address disconnection, disinterest, and discord in the moment. For the outcome to be meaningful, dissent must be encouraged and productive conflict guidelines are a key ingredient for success. The space should be big and comfortable enough to allow everyone to participate in the group discussion and brainstorming without feeling intimidated. There’s also something important about making sure that leaders can move away from intimidating energy and a big room grants permission for some movement, as needed, to dissipate the discomfort.

Our proven strategic planning process launches with a data-driven, research-backed analysis of your leadership team’s perspective regarding the company’s gate of focus, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, builder/protector ratio, threats, priorities, blind spots, organizational health, employee satisfaction, and more. As an experienced strategic planning company, we then compare the aggregate data to the research from more than 650 successful companies at similar stages of growth to reveal the issues most likely to need attention now. The outcome enables a focused, productive dialogue that is facilitated to encourage constructive dissent and ultimately clear priorities and an aligned leadership team.

How do you facilitate a strategic retreat?
How do you facilitate a strategic business planning meeting?

Prior to the strategic planning retreat, communicate the expectations, logistics, objectives, and pre-work to the leadership team or other participants.

To encourage optimal engagement, charge each leader with delivering three to five goals or challenges to overcome for their division in each of the three primary gates of focus - people, process, and profits. If the unit is a cost center and not a profit center, then the goals/challenges would be about cost-savings and/or efficiency improvements.

While you want your team to consider and evaluate their progress towards their goals, an effective strategic retreat will be an utter failure if it’s just another “how are things going” meeting.

The agenda must be solidly focused on:

  • the data - where we are as a company
  • the goals - where we want to be
  • the actions - what it’s going to take to get there in the areas of people, profit, and process
  • the derailers - what will prevent us from being successful
  • the blind spots - what are we not prepared for or unwilling to address
  • the competencies - what skills, knowledge, abilities do we need to accomplish the goals
  • the metrics - what are the success measures

Additional tips for managing strong personalities and facilitating an effective strategic retreat: Team alignment is essential but difficult to facilitate. Your team will need to have the ability to engage in healthy, productive conflict to ensure a unified, cohesive team approach for driving results together. Strategic retreats can be hard to set up and run, particularly if you have type A personalities that all think they are correct, or worse have a compelling need to be right at all cost. Establish and communicate the rules of collaborative engagement in advance. Then, adhere to the rules of civil, constructive discourse during the retreat and empower each participant to hold their peers accountable to the rules. Otherwise, you'll end up in a conference room with half the team yelling at each other, and the other half withdrawn in silence, plotting how they will ignore the plans and do what they think is best.

It’s essential to a successful strategic retreat to make sure that everyone involved is dedicated to the success of the business and not to personal gain or prestige.
The stronger the team and the more complex the business, the more likely an external, expert facilitator will be a worthwhile investment.

Which businesses need strategic planning?

A business needs to formulate a strategic plan, not just when it is not progressing as effectively as desired, but in order to ensure consistent, intentional and relevant progress towards the identified goals.
All businesses - no matter how small or big - need a plan. It’s worth repeating the adage: failing to plan, is planning to fail.

Business is a constantly changing pursuit and strategic planning helps ensure that businesses, of all shapes and sizes, remain up-to-date, proactive, and ready to seize opportunities or resolve challenges, before they derail the company. For example, if a business’ profit margins are diminishing, a strategic plan proactively informs the leadership team about how, when, and in what manner to correct the situation. Another example might be when the industry in which the business operates makes a shift from being labor-based to automation.

The leader(s) must be able to reassess the business goals, and adjust the strategy quickly to remain competitive. When a company has failed to identify its targets and tactics, confusion, frustration, and a meandering pathway to success (or failure) is assured.

What makes strategic planning successful?

While every company’s strategy is unique, there are helpful guidelines for ensuring a successful strategic planning retreat.

Here are a few things that make strategic planning successful:

  • Strategic Clarity: Focus on a clear definition of the process, tactics, goals, and responsibilities
  • Time Bound: The time frame is typically one year to several years; but every objective must be time-bound within the plan
  • Measurable objectives: The strategy should focus on quantifiable objectives that answer the question, “How exactly will we know when we've accomplished this goal?”
  • Vision, Mission, Values Aligned: The strategy should clearly roll up to and align with the vision, mission, and values of the organization
  • Facilitated Team Alignment: Achieving big ambitions and goals require a unified team, rowing in the same direction to execute the strategic plan successfully. It’s critical that the team has an opportunity to actively disagree and work through dissent to drive results as a cohesive team.
  • Regular Cadence of Accountability: To be truly successful, the strategic plan cannot be a one-time event. It must be used as a guideline for progress and a reminder of the goals
  • Cascade throughout the organization: Leverage the strategic plan to create clarity and a value-creation mindset across the organization. All employees deserve (and want) to understand how their role impacts the company’s future, how their role creates value, and that who they are and what they do matters.

An experienced strategic planning company’s role is to help your team create an aligned, inspired, strategic plan, worthy of inspired action and a passion for results.

What are the elements of a business plan?

According to the Department of Commerce, there are 8 elements of a business plan:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Description
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operation Management Team
  • Financial Plan
  • Financing Requirements
  • Feasibility Study

What's the difference between a strategic plan and a business plan?

A strategic plan is more flexible and more fluid than a standard business plan.
In a strategic plan, the organization shifts its focus and attention to the future, while in a business plan, the focus is on making the business case for why the business exists and how it will create value in general.
In a strategic plan, the business focuses on what it plans to create and what the organization must do to make it happen, as well as how exactly it will respond to threats and opportunities. The strategic plan is the immediate approach, tactics, strategies, and key performance indicators.

A business plan is a guide on how a business is going to be executed and make profits.
Certain questions need to be answered:

- What is the business? What services/products does the business offer?
- Where will the business be located?
- How much investment is required? What are the investment sources?
- How much does it cost to start up, to grow, to expand, etc.?
- How many people will we employ to fulfill the business goals?
- How are we going to market the business?How will business be managed?
- What type of records will be kept?How will income be handled?
- What are the opportunities? Who are our competitors?
- How will we create our USP (unique selling proposition)?

Where do strategic plans go wrong?

Strategic planning is the process of defining not just where your business is right now, but where it is headed in the future. When done properly, strategic planning can ensure greater business stability, more efficient resource allocation, and a faster path to financial goals.

Oftentimes, the problem with a company's strategic plan is not the plan itself, but the accountability process, employee input, management’s buy-in, and the measured execution of the plan. The problem is that the plan isn't used as a living, breathing, document. Effective execution requires worn edges and tattered corners, cross-outs and rewrites, and constant attention to the measured results in pursuit of the goals.

Finally, while the executives may agree upon a strategy, they often fail to rally those on the ground to inspire action aligned with the strategic plan. Whether this is because of a lack of communication or a failure to properly define and enforce a strategy, it is a surefire way to send your plan down the tubes.

What is the impact when a company is destabilized by chaos?

When the executives, business owner/business unit leader, is being bombarded by decisions, opportunities, threats and obligations, chaos is unavoidable. Even armed with a strong profit design, a well articulated business plan, there is very little a business owner can do to prevent this chaos, but one can be prepared.. It’s easy to get pulled in many different directions, lose sight of the end goal and get in over our heads financially, especially when we try to chase too many opportunities. The goal is not to control the chaos, but to learn the best practices for managing it. However, when employees do not understand the vision or strategic trajectory, the emotional toll can be debilitating for them. An effective leader undertakes a new mission of constant communication with the team to manage, motivate, and reassure the team.

While a growing business will experience pressure and some chaos at all stages of growth, when managed in the right order, at the right stage, there are only three stages where addressing the destructive chaos takes top priority; when moving from stage 1 to 2, and again in stage 3 and 4.

Primary focus during stage 1 and 2 must be profits, and thus the focus is on cash flow, ensuring profits are adequate for growing the business, and sales. The primary focus during stage three is people, and thus it’s all about staff buy-in, leadership/staff communications, ensuring the core values are clear, and addressing cultural resistance to change. To manage the chaos during stage 4, the top priority is process including ensuring solid project management, cultivating the ability to diagnose problems quickly, addressing employee turnover, and getting systems in place.

How does a company evaluate if it has a weak business/profit design?

When looking at whether your business design is weak, start by asking the following questions:

  • How much money do we make per hour worth of time and per $1 of salary?
  • What is our income distribution (i.e. what % comes from which activities)?
  • What market factors are on the horizon, for which we are unprepared?
  • What’s the level of sustainability of our business development efforts?
  • How well would the company weather the absence of a key performer or leader?
A few sure signs of a problem include:
  • Relying only on a single income stream (product line, customer, market condition, salesperson, etc.)
  • Inability to adapt to market/industry changes, such as technology disruption, or compensation requirements for skilled employees, for example.
  • Poor project management
  • Difficulty diagnosing problems
  • Cash flow difficulties
A qualified strategic planning consultant can help a company shore up its business/profit model and ensure the team has the right plan for sustainable success.

Get Your Business on the Right Track. Effective strategy development enables an organization to set priorities, focus energy and resources on the right things, at the right time, and be prepared to effectively navigate any economic or organizational change. We are so confident in our model and framework, that we have a guarantee on the process - you and your team will experience clarity, alignment, and an agreed-upon plan or you get your money back!

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TurnKey Coaching & Development Solutions is an enterprise learning and development, and management consulting firm. We provide both supplemental as well as fully managed LSO services, including:

TurnKey Coaching & Development Solutions contact details

TurnKey's local services in the city include, but are not limited to: executive coaching and corporate leadership development, Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team programs, leadership team development, programs for high potentials and emerging leaders, business acumen trainings and business retreats.

How do you make sure that your time is spent on the right activities to take your business to the next level? It's not just about the business plan, but about strategic priorities and team alignment. Our retreats are designed for senior people in your organization to focus on a clear set of priorities in an energizing and highly interactive setting. The process can get intense at times - but well worth the effort!

Call 281-469-4244 or email SOGX @ TurnKeyCoachingSolutions (dot) com to schedule your complimentary consultation today.