The StrategyConnect Kick-Off Meeting

by Aidan Nuttall

You have been tasked with the role of Strategy Champion in the StrategyConnect process, and your approach to running effective meetings is vital to the success of the StrategyConnect process. 

This guide is intended to assist Strategy Champions to run “Strategy Kick-off” meetings to ensure effective delivery and the process and rationale are clearly understood. 

It is assumed that participants in the Kick-off Meeting were also in the strategy development session and are familiar with the content.  The Kick-off meeting process relies upon the group to align and reconfirm that the strategy is “right” to ensure engaged execution.  

We recommend using a facilitation style but any style where everyone has a chance to contribute and be part of the process should work.

Why have a Kick-off meeting?

The Purpose

The kick off meeting is designed to:

  • Re-align everyone with the strategy post the strategy development session

  • Ensures everyone understands the strategy

  • Everyone understands the process of strategy execution with no surprises

  • Engages everyone in the strategy and it’s success

The Process

The process should take between one to three hours depending on which sections are covered (Optional sections are noted). We aim to keep to 90-minute blocks at most. Prior to the meeting send a Kick-Off Meeting Agenda and a link to StrategyConnect log in

Section 1:  Introduction (10 mins)

  • Set the scene - A positive approach and an agenda is extremely important, reiterate the importance of the process to the organisation and endorse the strategy process and the participation of the everyone in the room. 
  • Needs Analysis (optional) - What do you want to achieve/gain from the meeting which would make it a successful spend of time? The needs analysis allows the group to voice what they would like to achieve. It is also  useful in setting the scene to demonstrate that they have input to the process as they get to list their questions and it will flush out any potential issues such as lack of knowledge on the strategy which should be addressed by the sponsor before continuing.

If the purpose of the meeting and sponsor introduction has set the context adequately, they should be aligned with the process.

Section 2:  Confirming the Strategy (90 mins)

  • Confirm the outcomes - Review and confirm the outcomes that were set in the StrategyConnect planning day. Are these Outcomes the characteristics of what we aspire to be as an organisation in 3-5 years? The Outcomes are the broad vision statements of the organisation. If they are not right, the rest of the strategy will not make sense. This is an opportunity to tweak the wording or realign some of the outcomes if need be. 
  • Strategic Investments Mapping (do this or the formal mapping below) - Look at each Strategic Investment and determine which Outcome it touches. Look at each Outcome and determine if there are any that do not have a Strategic Investment. This check ensures that the Strategic Investments will deliver the Outcomes. There should be no gaps. Every Outcome should have at least one Strategic Investment associated with it (if not it would need one) and on the flip side every Strategic Investment should relate to at least one Outcome (if not, re-look at where you need to spend  time and effort). You can do this in a spreadsheet formally using the below matrix

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nKWWP480NVGkmi3mpeOALpQwh-nBTXNDiABUMOm_GTU/edit#gid=0

  • Strategic Investments Check - Do the Strategic Investments make sense? If there are any gaps or redundant Strategic Investments identified they will need to be addressed. Similarly, any wording changes or challenges need to be handled. Deal with wording changes after the structure/intent is correct.
  • Milestones Mapping (do this or the formal mapping below) Look at each Strategic Investment and determine which Milestone it touches. Look at each Milestone and determine if there any that do not relate to a Strategic Investment. This check ensures that the Milestones relate to the Outcomes. There should be no gaps. Every Milestone should have at least one Strategic Investment associated with it and on the flip side every Strategic Investment should relate to at least one Outcome (if not then it not likely a good use of time and effort) or use the matrix below to do this in a spreadsheet. 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nKWWP480NVGkmi3mpeOALpQwh-nBTXNDiABUMOm_GTU/edit#gid=0

  • Milestones Check - Do the Milestones make sense? If there are any gaps or redundant Milestones identified, they will need to be addressed. Similarly, any wording changes or challenges need to be handled. Milestones should be SMART(Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound - 12 months worth of work) Deal with wording changes after the structure/intent is correct.
  • Targets (optional) - What are 3 metrics that would be proof of the Outcome being achieved? This can take a while as metrics can be hard to formulate. We use 3 varied metrics as the list could be limitless (this sets a target to adhere to).  

Example:  Milestone - To be “Fit and Healthy”

Targets:

  1. Able to do 30 push-ups (strength)

  2. Able to run 5km (cardio)

  3. BMI of < 25 (weight)

  • Strategy Map Confirmation -  This is your Strategy Map, make sure everyone is clear and aligned and outline next steps. 

Section 3:  Review Process (20 mins)

  • Printable user manual - Print or share the link to the training manual which outlines the process of using the StrategyConnect Tracker to commence execution phase of your strategy. 

 

Section 4:   Milestones (60 mins)

  • Assign Milestone owners - Who is the logical owner for each milestone? For each milestone, the owner is accountable/responsible for the milestone. It is best if people self-nominate as they will be far more vested. The logical person has enough seniority to be able to drive it but also have the capacity to be across it. They do not necessarily need to directly do the work necessary.    Note:  There can be only one Milestone Owner for accountability purposes.  However, the Milestone Owner can change over time if it makes logical sense eg,  IT handing over to Marketing after technical delivery
  • Assign Team (optional) Who needs to be involved to make this milestone work? Alternatively - what resources are required to make this happen? Recruit or nominate contributors or people required to achieve this milestone.
  • Set 90 Day Targets -  Each Milestone Owner and team (if applicable) should set their Opening Situation and 90 Day Target. Opening Situation is the current situation as of today. The 90 Day Target is what will have been achieved in 90 days (SMART) Either input directly into StrategyConnect Live or use the 90 Days Strategic Initiatives template

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B71NkTQKTQ_1QWcweldPRHdURms/view?usp=sharing

  • Review 90 Day Targets - Each Milestone Owner to read out to the group the Opening Situation and 90 Day Target for their milestone(s). Everyone to listen and comment if required.

The commentary should be on 3 things:

  1. Does it make sense?

  2. Is it an appropriate (too little or too much) work?

  3. Are there are any dependencies with other milestones?

Section 5:  Review Software (10 mins)

  • A place to see your strategy. Provides context to all the work that is done
  • Milestones - Where the work happens - should be a description and map out your level of confidence in achieving success. Opening Situation, 90 Day Target and Progress. Notifications and importance. Initiatives (optional)
  • LunarChart - Summarises the progress. A snapshot for others to view. This will identify areas of need at a glance or perhaps a reassessment of the outcome or milestone. Look for exceptions and discuss/surface these
  • Notifications/Notes -  A chronological view of activity. Quick catch up on what everyone else has been up to and any points to note or reminders. 
  • Reporting - Share the results. For Boards -  it is useful to share the LunarChart and pull reports for individual milestones that are worth talking to
  • Putting it All Together - Best practice is to log in every couple of weeks for 5 mins to catch up and update. Look at what has been blogged are and then update your content. Your job is not to spend ages updating.  If everyone updates regularly, a lot of information gets generated with no one left holding the bag. This becomes a great resource to bring new people on the journey.  Within 15 mins they should be able to understand your strategy and know how they could help.

We hope these instructions set you up well for your valuable role as Strategy Champion. We appreciate your feedback and during the process of being a Strategy Champion, we welcome your input on refining this process and making it easy to understand and execute.