5 tips for improving your planning day

When you’re spending the time and money to bring your whole team together – sometimes that’s an entire Divison of 100 people! – then you need to make sure it has an impact. Here are five tips for making your planning day as effective as possible.

5 tips to improve your planning day

1. Allow enough time for activities

  • I know it’s tempting to try to fit it all in – you only come together as a whole Branch/Division once a year, and maybe you haven’t for longer than that! But when you try to include everything, you don’t get through anything in enough detail.
  • Space for breaks and lunch allows people to build informal relationships which directly translate to team collaboration.

2. Be flexible

  • You can’t predict where meaningful conversation and insight will be sparked, and when that happens you don’t want to cut it short just to meet the agenda.
  • Allow for conversations to continuie when they’re adding value, and adjust later sessions to make up the time.

3. Mix up the activities to keep it interesting

  • I see too many agendas with small group conversation – whole room share – small group conversation – whole room share…
  • Keep people engaged and hear from all thinking types by mixing up activities and ways of interacting.
  • Experiential learning helps people sit in behaviours and values you want which is much more impactful than being told.

4. Focus on what matters to your team

  • Census results, pre-workshop surveys, and management discussions will all give you insight into what matters to your team, and where there are challenges.
  • Make sure your workshop responds to those things that matter.
  • When people feel heard and understood, they’re more engaged, demonstrate more discretionary effort, and team culture improves

5. Make the plannng day the start of cultural change not the end

  • Disengagement happens when people don’t believe anything will happen after the planning day.
  • Showing people that you are listening – by capturing ideas, asking questions, sharing a summary report with the Branch/Division – makes them more invested in outcomes.
  • When you take action as a result of the planning day, be explicit about that. People often don’t make the links automatically.

If you need some help

With years of experience running successful planning days, I can help you make sure everyone in the room is engaged, and you might even leave saying it’s the best planning day you’ve ever had.

Thanks again for your expertise over the last two days. It was great to have you leading it and your experience and insights made it one of the best planning days I have had.

Branch Head , Department of Finance

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