Strategic planning meetings are looking different this year – what does that mean for your team?

Across the board, companies and teams have figured out a way to do annual planning in a pandemic-inspired virtual business setting, however, many leaders are yearning for planning time in-person with their colleagues. Looking back on doing business in a pandemic, we are realizing how many of our relationship/social needs are fed by what we normally call “Strategic Planning Meetings.” When done right, relationships are renewed, laughter and good-natured teasing advances friendships, and the whole process gives the executive a boost of hope and positivity. But, do you still believe Executive Teams need to be in the same room to be high-performing?

Our answer: it depends. There are many teams and leaders who have never met some of their direct reports hired within the last year, and it’s highly unlikely they will “share the same air” for at least another full year. Are they still high-performing?  Yes, many are even exceeding their business goals. But the common theme is that they are “making it work” and team members are “in a constant state of tired”. It’s clear this is not a long-term solution.

Even for teams that are meeting more regularly or have been able to see each other in-person, does that ensure that they are high-performing? Many are dealing with the same struggles of burnout and finding they are not aligned for the new year.

So, we’ve figured out how to temporarily do the planning work for our entities, virtually – that’s good. Now the question is: How do you really know your team is aligned? In other words: What are you doing as a leader to know that all of your team members are “rowing” in the same direction?

Transparency, while always important, has even more value in a virtual world. Consider embracing communication methods that retain history and context of decisions so the entire team understands “why” things happen. Additionally, starting and ending meetings (virtual or in-person) by relating the discussion back to big picture goals reminds everyone what really matters.

If you want help digging deeper into team alignment, our expert coaches share proven techniques. Email us to learn how our team of coaches can empower your team.