I’ve assembled this list of reasons you should hire a professional strategy facilitator because I know what works. I have seen internal facilitators come unstuck and teams waste whole days as a result. Not to mention an aftermath of dejected, uninspired teams that lack energy and motivation all because the strategy session was a failure.
Here are our top reasons to hire a professional strategy facilitator:
- Experience. You will benefit from the experience of a professional strategy facilitator that's probably run 100's of sessions for very different organisations. This kind of experience helps professional facilitators think fast on their feet. So, they can help your team 'join the dots' in real time. They can sometimes see an opportunity before anyone else can. They also bring learnings from previous sessions to the table as a bonus. Can you say the same of your internal facilitator?
- Independence. Professional strategy facilitators have an arm's length view. Internal facilitators are often ‘too close to the mirror’ and sometimes can’t see things objectively. An external professional facilitator can see things as they are and are unencumbered by biased thinking - which is only human nature when you're 'from the inside'. With independence comes the ability to reconcile alternative viewpoints among team members and keep things on track.
- Pre-workshop insight. The strategy workshop is only the tip of the iceberg. A significant part of the real work is done in the days leading up to the workshop. A professional strategy facilitator will have honed this process to ensure that you get the optimum benefit from the session when you ‘go live’. Does your internal facilitator have the time to commit to this?
- Smart agendas. No two strategy day agendas are the same. A professional strategy facilitator leverages their experience to design an agenda specifically for the job at hand. Optimising the agenda will ensure you achieve your business outcomes and objectives for the day.
- Experienced Strategists. Professional strategy facilitators are experts in strategy and planning disciplines. They bring new thinking, ideas and best-practice strategy frameworks to help guide your team and stimulate ideas.
- Allows your team to focus for full engagement. Hire a professional strategy facilitator so every member of your team can fully engage in the process and the discussions rather than focusing on documenting stuff - this is a waste of brainpower.
- Manage people and personalities. Making sure dynamics work in a strategy session can be difficult. Keeping things on track, dealing with issues and managing conflict is central to getting the best out of a team. Professional strategy facilitators make sure everyone has a say and that no one point of view overrides the session. This can be very difficult for internal facilitators who have existing relationships with people in the room.
- We want action. You want action. Professional strategy facilitators ensure you get value from your workshops and sessions by providing you with actionable documentation of workshop outcomes. This includes a summary of the discussion and outcomes of each session and the agreed next steps. This means no decisions get lost and you can implement your plans immediately.
- Cut risk. Professional strategy facilitators reduce the risk of wasted time. For example, at an average charge out rate of $200 hr, an executive team may invest almost $20k of time into a 1-day strategy workshop. So you need to make it count!
- They like people and love business - Professional strategy facilitators likes business, people and teams. I love working with teams, drawing out ideas from people and helping them uncover ideas.
- They don’t pull any punches - A professional strategy facilitator will get paid whether they push the envelope or not. But they won’t get another gig unless they make people think, challenge people and strive to get the best out of the team in the room.
- Allow you to focus on things that matter. Professional strategy facilitators sort out the prelims and admin - organise multimedia, coordinate materials, projector, whiteboard, group frameworks, exercises and discussion templates. You can have your full focus on the purpose of the strategy day.
- The unmeasurable added advantages. The benefit of an energetic, smart and highly capable professional strategy facilitator can often deliver benefits to the team that live on after the session. A great strategy workshop brings people together. It increases the energy and enthusiasm in a team. This helps to maintain the momentum to then implement and action the strategic ideas.