Planning a business strategy workshop? The four questions to ask yourself

February 9th, 2018 | By

Planning a business strategy workshop? The four questions to ask yourself

I have got to say I am really enjoying this year so far. Great clients will do that to you. Each client has different skills, are at different stages and have different market differentiation. All that leads to diverse strategy objectives for this year. Plus, more organisations are wanting to run disruption strategy workshops so I get to meet and work with some amazing groups over 1 or 2 days that want to access disruptive innovation.

Anyway, more about my shenanigans later, its not all about me you know. Lets talk about my favourite subject – strategy.

Whenever you are running a business strategy workshop, no matter if you do that yourselves or ask someone in to help, determine which of these four perspectives you are wanting to achieve in the session(s) and focus on that.


  1. Settle

Are you wanting to settle something?

You may have been discussing different growth options, making bets on certain trends or considering venturing into an adjacent market? Does your strategy event need to bring you all to a conclusion, so you can get on with doing it?

It’s a bit like choosing either to hike to the top of Mountain A or Mountain B – which is it?

This one is all about decisions


  1. Set-Out

Are you wanting to set-out in a new direction?

But unlike ‘settle’ above you aren’t exactly sure of the destination options yet, it’s too early.

In fact, in this type of business strategy session you want to develop new opportunities, new alternatives. Perhaps you feel like your current market is changing fast and you want to make sure you keep up? Or you feel you need more innovation and disruption elements in your strategy? You may want new alternatives such as building a new service offering if you are a product company or a new product if you are a service company. You may want to explore new business models that are less asset intensive or even create a new marketplace.

It’s a bit like knowing you want to hike North to warmer climates but not sure where you’ll end up.

This one is all about exploring a new direction


  1. Set-about

Do you need to set-about building a new capability in your organisation?

Perhaps you want your teams to be better at innovation, change management or customer engagement. So, your strategy workshop is about how you will start out or accelerate to build this new powerhouse capability.

It’s a bit like knowing you need to get fit for something or be better at navigation, so it matters less about where you hike, just that you do.

This one is all about your business’s development


  1. Set-up

Do you want your ‘strategy retreat’ to design and set-up a new initiative?

You may be launching a new structure, a new process, a new methodology, a new technology or a new business model. At this workshop you’ll want to determine your path, the steps involved and who is involved. The processes and resources you decide upon here will be laid out in your strategy document.

It’s a bit like charting a course on your map and working out who is in the hiking expedition. Then you plan your milestones, River A by June, entry to Forest B by August, resupply in September by the Blue Lake.

This one is all about the delineation of your course


These all describe whether you are after ideas (1,2) or capabilities (3,4) and whether you are after an endpoint (1,4) or a beginning (2,3) in your strategy.

Disruption – something you should be doing, not something that is happening to you


Here’s a sample of the fun I am having sorry, meant work I am doing this past week.

  • Full Day Disruptive Innovation workshops
    • We smack down some concepts and frameworks by morning tea, have a quick game show round, get groups working on business model innovation and then pitch the suckers (that’s the concepts not the audience). Big, bold and breakthrough is what this one’s all about
  • Strategy Sessions with clients
    • Client A – mapped the fast-changing landscape of their industry, who are the players, who makes the money, what’s shifting, where will it end up? A high growth company looking to double in size every year – next up is what is the most sustainable and optimal business model
    • Client B – designing and setting up their new leadership team structure and agenda plus building some sector specific insights to make them more valuable to their clients. Always a frantically busy client where we crowbar-in proactive change.
    • Client C – this was miscellaneous week – all those annoying, lingering unfinished strategy actions that need to get sorted or dropped. Decisions and doing – all over it like a blue heeler on a lamb chop
    • Client D – Setting out plans to fill the new business pipeline and accelerate growth
  • Had a meeting with the two founders of a startup I am mentoring. Exciting progress with users and of course always more APP development and slight pivots in Business Model to do. 2018 will be a big year for them.
  • Xcelerate hit Dymocks Melbourne store this week in a roll out and airports soon, decided to use my own Communication and Distribution Models and open up a new channel to market – its not all about my website and Amazon ya know.


I hope your 2018 is starting as interesting as mine!! And remember…


Disruption  – something you should be doing,

not something that is happening to you

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