HOME / Strategic Planning / Local Services / Strategic planning consultation in San Francisco, CA

» Achieving extraordinary things starts with ordinary conversations «

Strategic Planning Consultants | Strategy Consulting Firm: Experts in Strategic Planning Retreats, in San Francisco, CA

"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.

Create alignment and a solid growth strategy. 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.

Creating a sustainable, thriving, and profitable business requires cohesiveness; focusing on the right priorities, at the right time, in the right order, while standing on a foundation of aligned values. Our strong strategic planning framework enables our clients to gain the clarity, commitment, and confidence required to effectively drive results as a unified team.

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 family-owned information services company, still reeling from a serious cybersecurity breach, had some difficult decisions to make. The team was looking at significant growth over the last year and a solid revenue model. However, there was disagreement and denial, about the gravity of their challenges.

From workload imbalance between the owner-operators to skill gaps, to an absence of departmental budgets, to repeated failures in key process automation, the 8-member executive team came to the strategic planning retreat ready to rumble.
Their passion for the business and respect for one another was undeniable, so when the CEO poked the bear before anyone had even finished their coffee, our two growth strategists knew they had to bring it.
The CEO said, [paraphrased]: "We have missed more than $10M in opportunities in the last six months alone because of your incompetence."
The room went up in flames.
Our management consultant facilitated a snap-roll discussion, and the refocused team systematically went through the data, that the initial assessment had produced. They prioritized their top challenges and strengths. In addition to the above-mentioned weaknesses (cybersecurity, skill gaps, budgeting and poor automation adoption), the room cooled as they remembered their strengths:

  • Our profits are adequate to grow the company and face the challenges
  • Our business and profit design are strong
  • We have Low employee turnover
  • We have an uncanny ability to attract top talent
  • We are good at business development

At the end of the two-day strategic planning retreat, they had identified more than 50 initiatives. "Now, I'm really stressed!"; The CFO said looking at the walls (that were plastered in large post-its.)
It was time to prioritize and breakdown the most important actions that will produce the greatest results and help the team divorce from the idea that everything is equally important.
Through a series of healthy debates, they identified the top ten that mattered the most, right now. A few of the priorities included:

  • Make our network and servers impenetrable
  • Every department needs a budget
  • Institutionalize a performance management process
  • Manager training
  • Update our vision, mission, and guiding principles
  • Restructure the team and family member's roles and responsibilities
  • Reduce costs via process automation (and get help to do it right)

They also had some difficult conversations about their vision for the future and realized that they had essentially bifurcated into two-camps. One that was pushing for inorganic growth, and the other that was adamant about getting current problems solved before bringing in new ones.
They agreed to let the separate camps make their business cases and return together every six to eight weeks for a focused, strategic evaluation.
On a separate note, the President had been struggling with how to identify his successor. He had two children working in the business, each with their own strengths and key gaps, and a highly capable COO, that while not family, was better suited for the position. Hoping to avoid conflict he had been dodging the discussion entirely. A separate family plan was facilitated which started with a job-benchmarking activity for the President. We helped him to identify the key performance indicators for his position, and the key competencies required to do his job well. A family session was then facilitated to clarify the plan for family contribution and provide a forum for discourse. All successor candidates took a digital assessment to identify their competency/aptitude as compared to the role's requirements. The reports clarified and helped the President to make his decision and helped the candidates identify their personal development goals. The son said, "I am relieved by the outcome of both the strategic planning and the family work we're doing. There's less doubt and ambiguity about our future, and I feel like I know where to put my focus to make the biggest impact.'
Fast forward 24 months and the company has acquired a small cybersecurity firm, tackled most of their top 10 priorities and then some, and increased revenue by 17%.
They agreed that performing a robust strategic planning process annually is a time-consuming, but an essential and worthwhile activity. They come together now for a fun week of team activities (including strategic planning, golf, good food and fun in the sun) and revamp their strategic plan annually.

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

Founded in 2004, TurnKey Coaching & Development Solutions, LLC is a recognized organizational development company, with experts in every major city in the US and in key hubs globally. Our AI-powered employee engagement platform and organizational assessments were built to leverage our 30+ years of business growth consulting, leadership coaching, and live-client experience.

We've identified the fundamental business growth planning elements as the cornerstone of our retreats:

  1. Business Health Check
  2. Business Plan Development
  3. Team Alignment
  4. Individual & Shared Accountability
  5. Clear Roles & Responsibilities
  6. Prioritized Plan of Action with agreed upon leading and legging measures.

A few of our clients include:

Brundage Management, Aim Aerospace, Pfizer, Azura Vascular Care, Culinary Institute of America, US Army Corps of Engineers, Group 1 Automotive, Costco Wholesale, Rolls-Royce, N.A., Toll Brothers

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.

Our clients say, “This was the workshop I've ever experienced!” We welcome the chance to discuss your goals and see if we are a good fit.

While our program is not for all companies, those that we work with are assured satisfaction - or we refund their money. Call us today for a no-obligation consultation: 281-469-4244

Strategic thinking is an essential leadership capability. However, according to the research, only 24% of managers surveyed state that strategy skills are taught in their organization while 83% believe their managers would benefit from improving their competency in the areas of critical and strategic thinking skills.
- Source: Chief Learning Officer Strategy Skills survey. Facilitated by The Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group partnered with the Strategic Thinking Institute.

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.

Strategy Consulting Firm | Strategic Planning Consultants | 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


“[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

» «

“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


“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


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.

Strategic Planning Consultants Firm | Strategy Consulting and Retreats

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


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.

Would you like more information about our program? Email us at SOGX (at) TurnKeyCoachingSolutions (dot) com or call 281-469-4244.

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

As a leader at a fast-growing company (or one that has untapped opportunities for growth), you know you need competent strategic planning consultants or a growth consulting firm to assist you and your team in obtaining an objective perspective on your business. When you are evaluating strategy consulting firms to hire, it is important to verify the consultants' experience, qualifications, and knowledge of strategic management. You want a consulting services firm with a high success rate with similarly sized corporations. The consultants' character, experience, facilitation and mediation skills, and interpersonal effectiveness talents are also important to consider.

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 a forward-looking business growth planning process. It utilizes past and present information to develop an actionable plan for the future. Utilizing a proven strategic planning process ensures that goals are set, strategies are developed, tactics are identified, and that competencies and resources are available to achieve those goals and strategies.

Strategic planning starts with an examination of current operations, resources, market share, competency gaps, etc. This is done through a trend and employee/team analysis and examination of the progress to date. This endeavor, coupled with facilitated alignment of the leadership team, aims to create a company that anticipates future events and is prepared to react or respond quickly and effectively.

How do you plan a strategic planning retreat?

To plan a strategic planning retreat, first plan to be well-prepared and identify an off-site location. The participants (usually the executive team or management team, if a business unit) needs to be sequestered and focused on one, and only one, goal - an agreed upon, documented strategic priorities and action plan.

Additional considerations include costs (management consultant/ strategic planning facilitator, lost time, accommodations, catering, whiteboards, large post-it notes, writing materials, visual / infographics capturing progress/challenges and financials, binders, secretary/transcriber, etc.)

It is a best-practice to administer a confidential survey to gather input from employees, and an open-ended assessment process to elicit input into the company’s top strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT), leadership competency, etc.

We recommend a certified strategic growth consultant specializing in the stages of growth X-ray assessment and strategic planning process.

What are the steps in the strategic planning process?

Decide on the issues to be discussed. Three to five issues are generally chosen by the senior leader based on the following factors:

  • Topics generating the most anxiety
  • The core problem that the organization is most likely to be facing now, or in the near future
  • The systemic effects facing other organizations
  • What opportunities or challenges have strategic significance for the organization

Determine which leaders will participate.
In addition to the leadership team, some teams also include leaders who are working on particular issues of grave importance or invite a subject matter expert to join the retreat at a specific time.
The outcomes and issues must be decided well in advance of the retreat; otherwise leaders will spend more time on deciding the agenda than creating an aligned strategic plan.

As an experienced strategic planning company, to determine what issues will be addressed during the strategic planning retreat, we use a proven assessment process to survey your team. Next, we combine the aggregate data with the primary stakeholder(s)’ selection of the most pressing issues before juxtaposing these items against what other successful organizations do during a similar stage of growth. The result is a data-driven, ontological approach to driving out a clear strategic plan.

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?

Strategic planning is important for all businesses regardless of their size, product, or industry.

As it is often the case, a business that does not have a long-term strategic plan in place or that doesn't conduct regular strategic planning sessions will have nowhere to turn when the strategy they’ve been using doesn't deliver the results they expected. A continuous strategic planning program will help businesses identify areas of strengths and weaknesses, evaluate the markets, and identify the opportunities and threats that present themselves. A proper strategic plan will allow executives and employees to take a longer-term view on their businesses, allowing them to invest with confidence and with a full understanding of the company’s short and long-term objectives.

An effective strategic planning company will help you identify challenges and the guiding principles by which your team can make quality decisions for overcoming those challenges.
Strategic planning is a critical tool used to help companies make decisions, rather than fly by the seat of their collective pants. A strategic plan can help companies make better decisions and will help make the organization more efficient, focused, and viable.

What makes strategic planning successful?

A strategic plan is only as good as its execution.
An experienced strategic planning company can support your team in producing an inspiring strategic plan that considers where you've been, where you want to go, and what it will take to get your business and team across the gap.

It’s important to have just the right amount of reality and future-vision, high performance expectations and strategic clarity. However, a calculated strategic plan alone is not enough to galvanize employees to execute like a unified team. And, ultimately, the best way to judge if a plan is successful is whether or not the stated goals were met. A non-executed strategic plan belongs in the refuse bin. On the other hand, a considered strategic plan that has buy-in, alignment, and commitment from every member of the management team, sets the stage for a cohesive effort and eminent execution.
The key is alignment. Most strategic planning companies focus on documenting ideas and capturing notions. Unfortunately, nodding heads are insufficient to foster cohesion and inspired action. Thus, the most important aspect of making a strategic planning retreat successful is the capacity of the facilitator to intentionally facilitate dissent and relentlessly advocate for alignment.

What are the elements of a business plan?

A business plan is not one plan but many plans: a marketing plan, an operations plan, a human resources plan, an implementation plan, and a financial plan.

The true measure of a business plan is its ability to show what you want to accomplish and how you plan to accomplish it. A business plan lays out how you will use the resources at your disposal to pursue your objectives. It’s the road map for the business. It covers ideas that will ensure the business performance and profitability, and solutions for overcoming the challenges it will face in pursuit of the company's goals.

A good business plan introduces a company to the world in a written form and provides a roadmap for driving results.

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

A strategic plan defines the tactics, strategies, key objectives, and milestones your team will achieve to grow the business.

A business plan defines the mission, vision, values, and guiding principles. Additionally, the business plan makes the case for how the business will prosper and why its existence is justified in the first place. To this end the business plan is a more comprehensive document and includes a proper market and competitive analysis, the financial investment and financial management decisions, the marketing and HR game plan, and a general growth plan.

It's important that employees at all levels know where the company is going, and how their role contributes to the collective success, so that everyone can work together to get there.

The business plan and strategic plan synergistically work together as the master plan that informs decisions, measures organizational success, and helps employees and leaders drive results.

Where do strategic plans go wrong?

The fundamental reason why a strategic plan fails is because leadership irregularly revisits the plan, even after their organization has changed drastically. It’s vitally important for leadership to re-evaluate strategic plans on a system-wide basis at least once a quarter and on a micro-basis (individual objectives and key milestones) monthly, if not weekly.

Failed plans can mean the difference between a thriving company and a floundering one, especially in a highly dynamic business climate.
A strategic plan is only as good as its ability to be executed and revised, as business changes occur. Consider a plan as a living document. An effective strategic plan is communicated across the organization and used to identify the measurements of success for each and every activity and employee.

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?

First, evaluate how your business creates value for customers and whether the value creation process is sustainable. If net margin is inconsistent, evaluate how this value is distributed across your organization, your customers, the operating environment, market demand, competitors, regulations, the broader business ecosystem, etc. Where are the financial fissures, and what’s essential and what’s not.

Where many companies falter is failing to keep a sharply tuned eye on the numbers. If the management team is not beholden to a budget or the leadership team doesn't know the margins, and their responsibility to the margin, there’s a business acumen problem to address.

An experienced strategic planning company can help you evaluate your business profit model and devise a plan for success.

We help your team ask the right questions and process through disagreements to ensure your retreat produces alignment, clarity, accountability, and buy-in for your business growth strategy.

» «

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.