How To Run a Strategy Meeting: 10 Essential Steps

11 min read
Vlad Kovalskiy
March 11, 2024
Last updated: March 11, 2024
How To Run a Strategy Meeting: 10 Essential Steps

Strategy meetings are the cornerstone of every organization’s success, no matter their industry. Effective meeting strategies allow you, first and foremost, to set a direction for the future, but crucially to also align your team toward common goals, ensuring a cohesive approach.

To harness the full potential of these sessions, you need to come at them with a structured plan. From crafting a detailed agenda to leveraging effective strategy meeting planning, the better you tackle the basics, the better your outcomes will be.

At Bitrix24, we want to help you succeed with our 10 essential steps to conduct a strategy meeting. By following these steps, you can be confident that you won’t just launch great meetings, but you’ll also execute plans efficiently once the meeting is over.

We’ll show you how to organize an effective strategic meeting by covering the preparation, tools, and mindset you need to thrive. Solid strategies and clear thinking take you above and beyond your competitors, allowing you to implement new workflows, technologies, and best practices faster than the rest.

If that sounds like what your business needs, let’s get started!

1. Make the purpose and objectives of your strategy meeting crystal clear

Probably the most critical step in effective strategy meeting and planning, defining a clear purpose and objectives is your first point of call. Without a well-defined goal, it’s easy for your meeting to meander through unproductive discussions and lead to unclear outcomes. On the contrary, implementing these key elements of strategy meetings allows you to bring the conversation back to its purpose diplomatically without offending any participants.

To make the process clearer, here are three questions you need to ask yourself when setting the purpose and objectives:

  • What are the key issues or opportunities we need to address?

  • What specific outcomes do we want to achieve by the end of this meeting?

  • How does this meeting fit into our broader strategic goals?

Key among the best practices for strategy meeting management is to fully inform participants of your purpose and goals when creating the meeting in your calendar. Alongside your invitation, write an action statement summarizing the overall objective. Then list goals in the SMART framework: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

This pre-preparation lays the groundwork for a session where every minute is spent contributing to your company’s goals.

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2. Prepare an agenda for your strategy meeting

After setting goals and objectives, the natural next step is to prepare a comprehensive strategy meeting agenda. If goals are the “why” of your meeting, your agenda is the “how”, mapping out discussion topics in a coherent order and allocating a specific timeframe for each one. Sticking to your agenda is essential for organizing productive strategy discussions and keeping your talking points on track.

Fortunately, strategic meeting agenda creation isn’t a particularly difficult or time-consuming task.

  • List all topics that you need to address to meet your objectives and prioritize them for importance.

  • Look out for dependencies and make sure tasks that are dependent on another logically come afterward.

  • Allocate time slots for each topic, taking into account the depth of discussion needed and the length of the meeting itself.

  • Include breaks in the agenda if your meeting needs to exceed one hour.

  • Assign topic leads for each item on your agenda. They will lead the topic, facilitate discussion, and summarize conclusions.

  • Share the agenda with all participants so they can prepare discussion points and suggest changes.

Strategic meeting agenda creation is more than a list of talking points; it is a game plan that increases the likelihood of you achieving all your goals in the allotted time.

3. Choose the attendees for the strategy meeting wisely

Even with the best planning in the world, if you don’t have the right participants, your strategy meeting is going to be ineffective. Conducting successful strategy sessions requires diverse perspectives, relevant expertise, and key decision-makers to implement informed strategies.

However, this doesn’t mean inviting every single employee. You need to strike the balance between having all viewpoints represented while keeping the group size manageable to facilitate easy discussion.

Start by taking a look at your objectives and determining the kind of expertise you need to tackle them. You can make this stage easier by having an up-to-date searchable employee directory that covers everybody’s strengths. Then, ensure you have key decision-makers. Senior management can decide on the operational direction, while financial minds can release necessary funds.

As you send out invitations, make it clear to people what role they will play. This will ensure your participants come prepared to make an impact, bolstered by the confidence of knowing what is up for discussion.

How To Run a Strategy Meeting

4. Save your plans as a strategy meeting template

By standardizing your meeting structure, a template helps you maintain consistency across sessions so you can track progress and build upon previous discussions. When participants know how meetings will play out, you reduce the learning curve and allow people to fully focus on the matters at hand.

To make a strategy meeting template:

  • Create a workflow of preparatory tasks for yourself. This avoids key elements falling through the cracks and allows you to get to work immediately. These tasks include setting objectives, agenda items, participant roles, discussion points, action items, and follow-up plans.

  • Set tasks for other key participants. Giving tasks to others makes it more likely that they will come prepared, leading to a more productive strategy meeting.

  • Analyze your performance and update your template. Maybe financial discussions need more time, or perhaps presentations are too long — adapt things that are holding back your productivity and save your templates for the future.

There is a multitude of tools that can handle a variety of templates. Team calendars allow you to duplicate previous meetings, so you just have to adjust instructions and timings. Project management software will save a list of key tasks as a workflow to save you from creating tasks individually each time you run a strategy meeting. Finally, cloud-based documents are perfect for creating structured meeting notes.

5. Set expectations and ground rules

Establishing clear expectations and ground rules is always among the key steps for a productive strategy meeting. The aim is to create an environment that promotes open, respectful, and productive discussions.

Typical ground rules for people to abide by include

  • Promote open, free communication. No one should ever feel uncomfortable when speaking up. Keep a vigilant eye and be open to private feedback to ensure you have free-flowing ideas.

  • Respect time limits. It is possible to discuss every point for an hour each, but to cover all topics and get to work putting them into practice, you all need to respect time limits.

  • Stay on topic. It is OK to suggest new topics in advance of the meeting, but once you begin, you need to follow the agenda.

  • Promote constructive feedback. Feedback is how ideas grow, so keep the focus away from individuals and on the ideas themselves.

When everybody knows the ground rules, you can better enforce them during the meeting without causing rifts.

6. Facilitate open strategic discussions

One of the best practices for strategy meeting management is to always have a facilitator guiding discussions. Whether it’s you as the leader or an expert in charge of a specific section, a facilitator conducts conversation to encourage creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.

There are some simple techniques for organizing productive strategy discussions that are more focused on mindset than on technical skills. One of these is to ask open-ended questions, which generate more reflective responses rather than yes-or-no answers. Similarly, you can inject more lateral thinking by encouraging quieter voices and non-specialists to give their opinions. At the other end of the spectrum, make sure to steer the conversation away from louder voices who tend to dominate proceedings and influence decision-making.

Of course, you can also rely on more tactical approaches to facilitate discussions. Some of the most effective meeting strategies include brainstorming sessions, breakout groups, and timeboxing. These shake up the status quo and often lead to more innovative solutions.

How To Run a Strategy Meeting

7. Equip yourself with the tools for conducting successful strategy sessions

While many of our steps are based on skills and procedures, we’re now going to focus our attention on the tools that can take your strategic meetings to the next level. All of these tools have the ultimate aim of simplifying certain processes and allowing your team to be at their creative best. Here, we’re going to have a look at some of the big hitters.

Collaborative platforms allow participants to work together in real-time, share documents, and contribute ideas before, during, and after the meeting. As a case in point, when you send out your draft agenda, participants can make suggestions that are visible to everybody, promoting open discussion.

Project management tools are invaluable for planning a successful strategy session, with templates and tasks easily at hand. However, they are especially effective at creating follow-up tasks so everybody is clear on their action plans moving forward.

Videoconferencing software is perfect for when you can’t meet up in person. Remote teams are well-versed in video strategy meetings, and use in-call chats, whiteboards, and breakout rooms to great effect.

When all of these tools are fully integrated, you avoid silos and inefficiencies while promoting information transparency.

8. Document progress and action items

If you fail to properly document discussion points and assign action items, your strategy meetings will fail to reach their potential. These two key elements of strategy meetings help you translate ideas discussed into actionable steps.

Make sure to assign a note-taker to capture all significant insights, decisions, and differing viewpoints. This serves as a useful reference to maintain continuity between meetings. For every decision made, make sure to create actionable tasks in your project management software, combining input from all meeting participants. Assigning deadlines to each task allows you to accurately predict a date when you can follow up, as we’ll see in the following section.

9. Follow up and review your progress

Part of planning a successful strategy session lies in setting a time to look back at your progress. This step is essential for maintaining momentum, ensuring accountability, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement within your organization.

Based on the deadlines of your action items, you can schedule a follow-up meeting. Take a look at team calendars for an empty slot, but don’t be afraid to reschedule less-important tasks to make room.

However, you shouldn’t arrive at this meeting uninformed. One of our key steps for a productive strategy meeting review is to track the progress of action items within your project management software. Here, you can check on items that are nearing their deadline and observe updates and comments on every task card.

These review meetings are ideal for celebrating achievements and boosting morale, but also for gathering feedback and planning your next steps.

10. Evaluate and refine your strategy meeting process

After looking at the early steps to conduct a strategy meeting, we’re now firmly at the evaluation stage. To continue improving, you need to assess the effectiveness of the meeting in achieving its objectives, the efficiency of follow-up actions, and their impact on your overall organizational goals.

Starting on the meeting itself, did you implement effective strategy meeting planning? If not, what should you change for things to run more smoothly? Regarding action items, you can be more statistical by looking at the success rate of completed action items, and either give more time or introduce efficiencies in the future.

However, perhaps the most important metric comes from your participants. By taking two minutes for attendees to fill out feedback forms at the end of the meeting, you can get valuable insights to improve in the future. Craft forms to include engagement level, the value they felt they contributed, and areas for improvement in the meeting structure or format.

Bitrix24: Your technical platform for successful strategy meetings

Now we’ve covered how to organize an effective strategic meeting, it’s over to you. However, you’re not alone — technology is on your side.

Bitrix24’s comprehensive suite of tools is designed to support every aspect of strategy meetings.

From digital communication channels and shared team calendars to project management tools that facilitate the execution of strategic plans, Bitrix24 offers a one-stop solution of fully integrated features. Additionally, our document management system ensures that all meeting materials, notes, and outcomes are centrally stored and easily accessible, while analytics allow you to monitor and improve your performance.

So, to transform the way you run your strategy meetings, sign up for Bitrix24 and put our 10 essential steps into practice.

Bitrix24 Makes Team Collaboration Easy and Effective

Register Today

FAQs

What are the key components of a successful strategy meeting agenda?

A successful strategy meeting agenda includes clear objectives, a list of topics with allocated time slots, assigned topic leads, and potentially scheduled breaks. It should be distributed in advance to allow participants to prepare, enhancing focus and productivity during the meeting.

How can you ensure active participation and effectiveness in a strategy meeting?

To ensure active participation and effectiveness, invite the right mix of participants, establish clear ground rules, use engaging facilitation techniques, and leverage collaborative tools. In terms of mindset, encourage open communication and diverse viewpoints to foster a productive discussion environment.

What common mistakes should be avoided when running a strategy meeting?

When running a strategy meeting, common mistakes include:

  • Lacking a clear purpose

  • Not having the right participants, or having too many

  • Failing to follow a structured agenda

  • Allowing discussions to go off-topic

  • Neglecting to document and follow up on action items

What tools can help to run effective strategy meetings?

A range of digital tools can make strategy meetings more effective:

  • Shared documents for collaborative work

  • Project management software for pre and post-meeting task assignment

  • Task analytics to measure performance

  • Team calendars to schedule meetings

  • Customizable feedback forms to gain insights from attendees

  • Videoconferencing tools for remote strategy meetings
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Table of Content
1. Make the purpose and objectives of your strategy meeting crystal clear 2. Prepare an agenda for your strategy meeting 3. Choose the attendees for the strategy meeting wisely 4. Save your plans as a strategy meeting template 5. Set expectations and ground rules 6. Facilitate open strategic discussions 7. Equip yourself with the tools for conducting successful strategy sessions 8. Document progress and action items 9. Follow up and review your progress 10. Evaluate and refine your strategy meeting process Bitrix24: Your technical platform for successful strategy meetings FAQs
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