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How to get technical people to think strategically
Strategic planning meetings often become too tactical as the experts quickly begin to solve 'the problem' before the big picture is clear and everyone understands their role in the strategic plan.
Finance experts start on the numbers, engineers check the formula, marketing analysts jump to the data — they do not spend time to appreciate the firm as a whole. As a strategic planning facilitator, I learned to steer the teams discussions to the customer benefit, sustainable earnings and shared assets as they formulate strategy.
The executives in my seminars said:
Use a facilitator or a neutral person to run the key meetings
Use graphics, not tabular data
Educate them on the big picture - for example, let the team first sit on the back bench, listen to the firm's leaders discuss the problem
Find the relationship between their hot buttons and upper management's project or applications; find a niche for their expectations to improve the strategy plan
Integrate them with non-technical people or other experts, off site if possible
Pose "what if scenarios," ask questions out of their comfort zone
Patiently, define the problem - take your time
Use well thought out agenda with the customer's perspective first. Set the stage that we are not seeking solutions, we are looking at the big picture
Teach by example, even technical people learn from successful experiences
The bar length indicates the most likely method for success.
*Lessons learned from over 800 experienced executives on the
strategic planning process and their advice on best practice.
The longer the bar length the more likely the success.