Maximizing Locations to Boost Strategic Planning Creativity
One of the most critical decisions to make when planning a successful strategic planning session is where to hold the event. Unfortunately, too many nonprofits assume that frugality in choosing a venue is the most responsible approach. This usually means that strategic planning meetings are held in the conference or board room of a board member's office or, worse still, at the agency's own conference room.
Why not save some money that, after all, was donated to the agency in order to do more good through our programs? The answer is simple. Because a strategic planning meeting is not a time to be surrounded by the ordinary, the routine or the daily concerns of staff, board and leadership. A strategic planning meeting requires participants to consider new possibilities, uninterrupted by the common place. Removing the participants from their normal surroundings allows them to free their thinking and fully engage in their responsibility of creating a strategic plan.
Think about it this way. If you are an executive director trying to focus on strategic planning and your office is right next door to you planning session, and several of your staff members are likely to interrupt the meeting with reports or questions of day-to-day operations, how are you going to get to the 36,000 foot view required to contribute to a strategic level of planning?
At the very least, your strategic planning meeting needs to take place at a local hotel conference room. Nothing in the room, the location, the dress requirements or even the food should remind participants for a few days of what they have left back in the office.
Better yet, if there is a resort within a couple hours drive of your location, consider renting it out for two days and for paying for your board to stay overnight. Most board and leaders have experienced how getting away from routine for a few days can become a breading ground for new ideas. Our minds need to be free of their regular restrictions.
Even if your organization does not draws its leadership from around the region or around the country, you may want to consider a strategic planning meeting that is even more removed from daily reality, such as taking advantage of one of the following opportunities:
- Strategic Planning at Sea
- Even a 3 or 4 day cruise can provide your leadership with the chance to meet for two 4-hour sessions aboard a ship, allowing your minds to drift, not away from reality, but toward possibilities.
- After boarding the first afternoon, your group can meet for 2 to 3 hours to get the planning started, having the rest of the evening to unwind.
- The next morning (not too early), you could meet for another 3 to 4 hour session, focusing on mission-critical strategies and goals.
- If you continue for another day or two, you could meet for a couple hours to complete your strategic plan.
- And consider how affordable some 3- and 4-day cruises can be if you live within driving distance of one of our coasts.
- Destination Strategic Planning Retreats
- If you believe that your board will greatly benefit from truly getting away from their routines, you need to consider talking to me now about creating the perfect destination strategic planning retreat. Whether it involves tropical beaches, bright night lights, zip lines, roller coasters, or historic districts, a destination retreat is ideal for releasing the mental inhibitions that tend to block innovative ideas. These are just a few of the possibilities:
- Central Florida
- Disney World
- Sea World
- Busch Gardens
- Universal Studios
- Southern California
- University Studios
- Sea World
- Knots Berry Farm
- Rocky Mountain Adventure Strategic Planning Retreats
- If your board, leadership and other stakeholders enjoy an adrenaline rush from time to time, a strategic planning white water rafting retreat on one of Idaho's famous rivers may release torrents of creativity.
- If you would like to hold your strategic planning session during the winter, meeting at the facilities of one of the many top notch Utah or Colorado ski resorts can result in amazing strategic discussions.
- Arizona and Utah Canyons and National Parks
- The possibilities are endless. We are happy to arrange the destination strategic planning that best fits your leadership's personalities and your nonprofit's needs and budget. Perhaps the Casinos of Las Vegas, the palm shaded beaches of Hawaii, or the affordable mid-America destinations of Minneapolis, Dallas, St. Louis or the French Quarters of New Orleans.
Whatever type of strategic planning session will most benefit your nonprofit, Todd R. Christensen Consulting will create the best agenda and provide meeting facilitation sure to let loose the creative geniuses within your leadership and stakeholders.
Call us now at (208) 649-4788 or complete the form below to find out how best to proceed.