Big Strategic Goals Need Solid Strategic Plans

PSMJ Resources, Inc.
Posted on: 09/20/19
Written by: PSMJ Resources, Inc.

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Sound business and growth strategy starts with a sound strategic plan.  With this being the season for strategic planning, we’ve got some tips for getting it right before you go jumping head-first into any major investment or growth initiative.  So many strategic planning sessions go badly due to poor organization and meetings that veer off of the agenda.  

Discussions can become mired in day-to-day operational detail instead of focusing on the long term.  Thorough preparation is key to avoiding these problems and building an efficient and productive planning session.  To this end, following are four tips for effective strategic planning:

1. Get away.  Schedule your two to three planning days at a comfortable, quiet place away from the office. You can’t concentrate on planning for the future when reminders of your day-to-day responsibilities surround you.

Tell people back at the office not to contact you unless there is a dire emergency (if your firm can’t run without its leadership team for a couple of days, you should probably be addressing leadership issues as part of your strategic plan).

2. Bring data.  You’ll need data when you discuss your strengths and weaknesses. Otherwise, the discussion will bog down with anecdotal evidence, which doesn’t provide you with the numbers you’ll need to set measurable goals.

At the same time, it is important not to get loaded down with too much data. Today’s business apps make it easy to collect numbers, but numbers don’t equal knowledge or understanding.  Decide what types of data are important for your own firm, your current situation, and your future.

3. What Makes a Good Meeting?  Your planning time is valuable: don’t waste a minute of it. Give some attention in advance to each of the following factors. These factors will make your meeting productive:

  • The right people and only the right people

  • Clearly defined purpose and desired outcomes

  • A good facilitator

  • A time and place conducive to create thought

  • An agenda devised with your facilitator and sent to participants before the meeting

  • Adhering to the agenda—revise it only with a consensus of the participants

  • Specified starting times, ending times and break times

  • Clearly defined roles that people know in advance

  • Self-discipline on the part of participants to adhere to the purpose and the agenda

  • Time allotted to defining next steps and who is responsible for them, and scheduling next meetings

4. The right environment.  The following are ground rules developed over the years by PSMJ to assure that all meeting participants understand how they are expected to behave. Each participant should agree to these before starting the meeting:

  1. All participants are expected to express their opinions openly and honestly.

  2. You have an obligation to speak up if you disagree.

  3. No one will be criticized for voicing and honest opinion.

  4. Self-serving comments are OK, if they are properly identified as such.

  5. Objective is to reach consensus, defined as follows:

    1. the majority is in favor.

    2. those opposed are willing to support the decision.

  6. All discussions will remain strictly confidential.

  7. Make sure the sessions start on time. Anyone arriving in meeting room after any scheduled start time will pay a $1 late fee

If you (or one of the other firm leaders on your team) have decided that this is the year to get started on an acquisition or opening a new office or any other major investment, get off on the right foot.  Time spent in strategic planning will be time well spent and will provide a much-needed framework for evaluating potential opportunities and their ability to bring the firm closer to its strategic objectives.

Successful Strategic Planning_EBOOK_2017_CVR_Web-1Looking for more tips, check out Successful Strategic Planning For A/E Firm Leaders
In this free e-book, you’ll find specific suggestions to help your architecture or engineering think of “planning” as something you do all the time, tending to it at regular intervals—as a process that never ends and an ongoing part of running a successful business.

Download it Now!


Need help getting your firm on the road to sustained growth and profitability? Learn more about how PSMJ’s Strategic Planning Consulting Services has helped hundreds of A/E/C firms position themselves for strong, lasting growth and profitability by reading our brochure or contacting


Other strategic planning related blog posts:

8 Tips For Making Your Strategic Planning Meeting A Success

Get Strategic With These Planning Questions

Establishing Your Strategic Plan

Where Does M&A Sit in A/E Firm Strategic Planning?

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