Your enrollment includes PROVEN AND POWERFUL BONUS TOOLS AND EXERCISES for accelerating your strategic plan design/update -- and getting the results you want faster!

Apply everything you learn with practical, clearly-explained optional exercises that lock in the learning and help you get to implementation FAST! Each of these projects align with the course content to streamline your strategic plan development or updating process.  Choose from a menu of exercise you and your colleagues will complete, based on your firm's specific needs: 

Planning your strategic planning retreat – 1 hour Your technology adoption philosophy – 1.5 hours
Identifying your firm’s core purpose, core values, mission, culture, growth hurdles and strategic goals – 5 hours Your plan for improving employee engagement – 2 hours
Your firm’s market distribution goals and strategies to achieve these goals – 4 hours Your current and visionary H.R. profile – 2 hours
Your action plan to achieve your business development issues – 1 hour Your firm’s philosophy on employee bonuses and benefits – 1.5 hours
Your firm’s operational report card – 0.5 hours Your action plan to improve your recruiting – 2 hours
Your clients’ organizational priorities – 1.5 hours Benchmarking your firm’s key financial metrics – 2 hours
Your firm’s authority matrix – 2 hours Your action plan to improve profitability – 2 hours
Your current and visionary project mix – 1.5 hours Your plan to streamline invoicing and speed up A/R – 3 hours
How many PMs will your firm need? – 1 hour Your firm’s leadership development process – 2.5 hours
Your PM’s desired authority levels – 1 hour

Your process for replacing a retiring CEO – 1.5 hours


Breakthrough DIY Strategic Plan for A/E/C Firms Digital Toolbox:

You get exclusive online access to this suite of management information and decision-making resources that multiply the value of what you learn ($497 Value):

  • Competitors Analysis Tool
  • Proposals Roles & Responsibilities Matrix
  • Strategic Positioning Tool
  • Red Team Review Form
  • Personal Productivity Action Plan
  • Go-No Go Decision Matrix
  • Seller-Doer Planning Guide
  • IFBP Worksheet
  • Client Evaluation Template
  • Bootcamp Skills Implementation Plan

Session 1 – Setting the Stage

  • PSMJ’s Recommended Venue Logistics.  This checklist, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, will help you select the proper venue and arrange the room for the optimal retreat environment.  We also provide you with guidance regarding A/V needs and retreat timing to be sure your retreat will be efficient.
  • Strategic Planning Timeline.  This tool helps you plan how long each element of your strategic planning process should take.
  • PSMJ’s Landmark Study of Strategic Planning in the A/E Industry.  In surveying the strategic planning methods of hundreds of A/E firms, we have identified the most successful practices that lead to a high level of alignment and significantly improved performance.  (We also idenfied some common pitfalls you should avoid.)  THIS STUDY IS A $347 VALUE!
  • Checklist of Input Needed Prior to the Retreat.  This tool, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, provides you with a checklist of critical information you must gather if you are to have a successful retreat – including several items that most DIY strategic plans overlook completely.
  • Facilitator Checklist.  Choosing the right facilitator for your strategic plan is critical.  This tool provides a checklist of critical skills needed to be an effective facilitator.  This tool, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, also provides great advice for how to dramatically improve your personal facilitation skills – not just for strategic planning but for all the meetings you facilitate.
  • Strategic Initiative Evaluation.  This tool, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, helps you decide which strategic initiatives are really worth the effort and expenses.  And, when you do decide to proceed, what are the key milestones to measure progress along the way. 
  • Action Plan.  Many DIY strategic plans are long on goals and short on the actions needed to achieve these goals.  This tool provides you with a structure you can use to identify the actions, responsibilities and due dates needed to implement the strategies that will achieve your strategic goals.


Session 2 – Your Firm’s Purpose and Strategic Goals

  • Core Purpose.  The foundation of any successful strategic plan is alignment among the retreat participants on the core purpose of organization.  This tool helps you establish a core purpose that is more important than profits and is used as a continuing source of guidance.
  • Your Firm’s Core Values.  Many DIY strategic plans have a list of core values that reads like the Boy Scout Pledge.  This tool helps you zero in on the small number of true core values that your firm MUST continue to practice.
  • Is Your Firm Focused on The Practice or the Business?  This 10-question quiz will identify what kind of culture each retreat participant thinks your firm currently has and what kind of culture they wish it had.  The ensuing discussion is critical to getting cultural alignment among all your retreat participants.
  • Accountability Culture Quiz.  This 10-question quiz tells you how accountable your firm is to your clients and how accountable your leaders are to each other.  More importantly, it helps you determine your optimum accountability level and, with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, how to get from here to there.
  • Empowering vs. Controlling Culture Quiz.  This 10-question quiz tells you if your firm has an empowering or controlling culture and whether that is the culture you want to have in the future.  If not, guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator will help you get from here to there.
  • Mission Statement Scorecard.  Many strategic planning retreats spend hours wordsmithing their mission statement only to come up with something that is too generic and that no one can remember.  This tool helps you to quickly develop a mission statement that avoids these pitfalls and truly serves as a source of guidance for everyone in your firm.
  • Your Highest Growth Hurdle.  Sustainable growth requires overcoming a series of growth hurdles including selling the work, hiring top talent to do the work, providing facilities and support for them to work efficiently, integrating them into your firm, developing new work processes, developing new leaders and financing the growth.  This tool identifies which of these hurdles is the highest so you can focus your strategic planning efforts on that one. 
  • Your Long-term Strategic Goals.  This tool, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, allows you to set 3 to 6 really important strategic goals and express those goals in quantitative terms.

Session 3 -- Marketing and Organizational Structure

  • How Strong is Your BD Culture?  This assessment allows you to gauge your retreat participants’ perception of the various elements of your firm’s business development culture so you can take advantage of your strengths and develop a plan to improve your weaknesses.
  • PSMJ’s Latest Quarterly Market Forecast Report.  Since 2003, PSMJ has collected detailed market research on the 55 largest A/E markets and 7 regions across the U.S.  The latest forecast provides you with the market intelligence you need to select your best marketing targets.  THIS STUDY IS A $347 VALUE!
  • Our Market Goals.  This tool, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, allows you to develop and document which geographic markets, client sectors and practice areas you want to enter, increase emphasis, decrease emphasis or exit entirely.
  • Our Quality Client Criteria.  Long-term success requires selecting the clients that can help you meet your strategic goals.  This tool helps you to identify the characteristics of your strategic clients, quality clients and base clients so you will know how much marketing attention to pay to each one.
  • Our Cross-Selling Plan.  Cross-selling new services to existing clients is one of the most difficult and potentially most lucrative marketing activity you can do.  This tool provides a framework to make it much easier.
  • Annual Sales Plan.  This tool helps you identify and prioritize your target clients, establish who is responsible for each target client, identify which services your firm currently performs for each client and which services you would like to add for each client.  This tool, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, also helps you compute how much work you are likely to get from each of your target clients.
  • PSMJ’s Go/No Go App.  This mobile app not only helps you make better proposal go/no go decisions.  More importantly, it helps you win more of the ones you decide to pursue.  THIS APP IS A $347 VALUE!
  • Our Organizational Priorities and Our Key Leadership Positions.  Many small firms face the prospect of creating an organizational structure for the first time.  Or revising a structure that isn’t working.  This tool, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, provides you with a framework to make this decision easier and a lot more successful.
  • Position Descriptions for CEO and COO.  These descriptions, for an actual engineering firm, are the best we’ve seen because they not only describe the duties to perform but also the scorecard metrics expected to be achieved.  You can use this same format to write position descriptions for all your firm’s management positions.
  • Authority Matrix.  Once you decide what the duties and desired accomplishments are expected by each of your management positions, you then need to decide what level of authority they need.  This tool helps you do just that.

Session 4 -- Project Delivery, Technology and Human Resources

  • Does Your Firm Have a Project Management Culture?  This 10-question quiz will identify the gaps in your current project management culture and what you need to do to correct these gaps.
  • Current and Visionary Project Mix.  This tool, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, will help you identify your current project mix based on type of service, contract type and project size.  You can then use the same tool to establish your strategic goals for the kinds and size of projects you’d like to have.
  • Project Management Maturity Levels.  PSMJ has defined 7 distinct PM maturity levels for A/E firms.  Using this tool, you’ll identify your firm’s current level and your strategic goal for which level you’d like to be.
  • Project Review.  PSMJ has found that one of the keys to project success is holding regular discussions between principals and PMs.  This tool provides you with an easy-to-use format for informal discussions about small and midsize projects as well as more formal reviews of large projects.
  • Information Technology Vision.  IT is becoming more critical each day – especially during the current Coronavirus crisis.  This tool assures that all retreat participants are on the same page on this critical issue.
  • Family vs. Business H. R. Culture.  This tool tells you whether you have a family culture in which you attempt to treat all employees equally or a business culture in which you treat your employees according to their contributions.  You can also use this tool to establish your strategic goal for this important cultural factor.
  • The PSMJ Human Resources Model©.  Everyone says their people are their most important asset but few firms have a real plan for how they will recruit and develop (and sometimes have to terminate) their employees.  This proven model, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, provides you with the framework for all the retreat participants to inventory your current staff and develop a detailed plan for how you will move to your optimum staffing.
  • 5 Steps to Building a High-Performance Organization.  This step-by-step process described in depth by PSMJ’s facilitator lets you move your staff to become a truly high performing organization.  You and your fellow participants will use a series of case study exercises so you’ll understand how to use this powerful model.
  • Bonus Program Benchmarking.  This tool allows you to compare your firm’s bonus program with that of other similar firms in terms of perceived fairness to staff, rewarding/motivating desired behaviors and ease of administration.  You can then use the results to identify which elements of your bonus program can be improved.
  • Work-from-Home Benchmarking Data.  We provide you with PSMJ’s latest data on current practices and the best ideas on how to structure your office vs. home working arrangements during the current Coronavirus crisis and beyond.
  • Recruiting Effectiveness Survey.  Every few years, PSMJ surveys over 100 A/E firms to determine the recruiting tactics that are most effective.  PSMJ’s facilitators will show you our most recent data and explain recent trends.  This will help you focus your recruiting efforts in activities that work best.

Session 5 -- Financial Management and Leadership/Ownership Transition

  • Benchmarking Your Key Financial Metrics.  You can’t improve your firm’s financial performance by just hoping.  There are 3 profit drivers for A/E firms: labor utilization, direct labor multiplier, and nonlabor overhead.  But other metrics are also important – such as staff turnover rate, backlog and A/R days.  This tool allows you to easily benchmark your firm vs. similar A/E firms to see how you compare on the 13 most critical metrics.  That knowledge, together with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, will help you devise effective ways to improve these metrics – and your firm’s financial performance.
  • 5-Year Financial Goals.  This tool, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, provides a framework to use the benchmarking data to establish year-by-year goals for each of 13 key metrics.
  • Cash Flow Model for New Employees.  If your strategic plan has ambitious growth goals, you need to be sure that your cash flow will be adequate to support those goals.  This tool helps you do just that by telling you the effects on accrual profits and cash flow of each new employee that you add.
  • Price Optimization Model.  Are you pricing your services too high?  Are you pricing too low?  This Excel model tells you your optimum pricing in each major market you serve.
  • Credit Application Form.  Unless you get paid in advance, you are extending credit to your clients.  In today’s Covid-19 environment, it’s more important than ever to know if your clients are truly credit-worthy.  This form, used successfully by several A/E firms, does just that.  (If your client refuses to fill out this form or pay you in advance, what does that say about them?)
  • Realization Budget.  This Excel tool provides you with an easy way to estimate your future revenues based on each employee’s available hours, utilization rate and target billing rates.
  • How Many PMs Will Your Firm Need?  Your strategic plan may have very ambitious growth goals.  But will you have enough project managers to handle that growth?  This tool allows you to compute how many project managers you need – both now and in the future.
  • Strong PM Development Plan.  This tool helps you identify the deficiencies of each of your PMs and develop a 1-year and long-term plan to improve these deficiencies.
  • Your Personal Replacement Plan.  No one knows the requirements of your job like you do.  The same goes for your other key leaders.  This tool helps each of you to identify future stars based on that knowledge. 
  • Essential Traits of Business Unit Leaders.  Developed with extensive research by PSMJ and Harrison Assessments, these are the 9 traits that are most important in assessing if your potential future stars really have what it takes.
  • Leadership Development Plan.  This tool, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, helps you identify what kind of training, education and experience is needed by each of your future stars in order to accelerate their development and reach their full potential.
  • Ownership Transition Quiz.  This 9-question quiz allows you to identify the ownership transition desires of each retreat participant and, with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, help you reach a consensus on the best way to move forward on this critical topic.
  • Ownership Transition Financial Model.  This Excel model helps you determine if your future cash flow will support your planned ownership transition.


Session 6 – Finalizing and Implementing Your Strategic Plan

  • Prioritizing Your Action Plan.  Many strategic plans we’ve seen have way more action items than can possibly get done.  This tool helps you prioritize your action items based on (1) their expected return on investment and (2) whether they would make sense even if your business goes through a downturn.
  • The 3 Major Change Barriers.  This tool helps you identify the 3 biggest barriers to achieving organizational change.  PSMJ’s facilitator then provides guidance on how to overcome these barriers and achieve true strategic breakthroughs.
  • Presentation Format.  This tool, along with guidance from PSMJ’s facilitator, helps you present your completed strategic plan to all your employees in a way that is easy for them to understand, motivational for them to get onboard, yet still maintain confidentiality of critical information.

The A/E/C Breakthrough DIY Strategic Plan for A/E/C Firms Workbook loaded with all the slides used in the online training sessions (a $197 value)

Ongoing Career-Boosting Support: Up to two hours of one-on-one email and phone support with your course instructors, for a FULL YEAR after your live classes conclude (a $1,000 value)