It Works: Stories From The Book

Keep it small and strategic

I was asked to facilitate a strategic planning session for a national organisation. When I saw the invitation list, which had 23 people on it, I questioned the leader. My questions were about who they were and why they were there.

For a meeting of this nature, he only needed his direct reports. However, he had invited another layer down, as he wanted to be more inclusive.

While this is an admirable intention, the real purpose of the meeting was to develop a vision, mission and strategic priorities for the business for the next three to five years.

Having too many people in the room would make the decision making onerous, as well as creating a political or power dynamic that was not useful. On this occasion, it was not a 25-minute meeting; however, it was still important to make sure the right people were involved. I suggested that we keep it to his direct reports (seven people) and put a plan in place for engaging the other levels of the organisation.

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I took a contract a few years ago that involved spending a lot of time in an office, and in long, boring meetings. There was one colleague, however, who used to do his meetings while walking around the... More
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