A Step Back to Move Forward: The Power of Reflection in Strategic Planning
Picture this: you're embarking on a thrilling hike in the wilderness, surrounded by inspiring landscapes. As you trek along the trail, your eyes are fixed on the majestic peaks ahead, and your focus is firmly on the future. But, there's a catch – you never glance back. You ignore the path you've already traversed. You stumble, miss hidden gems, and often take inefficient detours.
Much like this hiker fixated on the trail ahead, strategic planning often centers on the future while neglecting the lessons from the past. It's a natural human tendency to focus on what's ahead, but it's equally crucial to look back at where we've come from.
Why is looking back so vital?
Think of it this way: by understanding where you've been, you gain valuable insights to navigate where you're going. Without this, you risk repeating past mistakes, overlooking precious lessons, and hindering your progress with short-sightedness.
Reflecting is like retracing your steps on that breathtaking hike. It allows you to see where you stumbled, where you found the best vantage points, and where you may have detoured. This introspection deepens your understanding of your journey, empowering you to move forward with greater confidence and clarity.
How can you do it?
To help you navigate this process effectively, we recommend having a structured and meaningful conversation with your team with the help of our A Step Back to Move Forward canvas.
This conversation will help you intentionally address your past performance and chart a course for a more successful future.
So, let's break it down:
1. What do we do?
Start by articulating your team's core functions in clear, concise terms. This foundational step fosters a shared understanding among team members and newcomers alike.
2. What did we set out to accomplish?
Revisit the goals and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) set in the preceding year. What were the objectives, and how well did you meet them?
3. Where did we shine?
Celebrate your significant accomplishments. Take a moment to acknowledge the milestones you've reached and the valuable lessons you've learned.
4. What did not go our way?
Embrace your failures candidly. Discuss the reasons behind your setbacks and extract valuable insights to prevent them from happening again.
Recognize the factors that propel your team forward – the strengths that have contributed to your successes.
Pinpoint the barriers hindering your progress. Identifying and addressing weaknesses is the cornerstone of strategic improvement.
7. Stop doing
Eliminate inefficiencies. Identify and cease activities that drain your resources and yield minimal returns.
8. Start doing
Act on innovative ideas that have the potential to enhance your team's performance and productivity.
9. Continue doing
Amplify strategies and practices that have proven effective, ensuring they remain central to your approach.
Reflection and Strategic Leveraging
Now that you've gathered all this valuable information from questions 1-9, it's time to ask two vital questions:
10. What have we learned?
Distill the overarching lessons from your past experiences. These insights will serve as the bedrock for future decision-making and strategic planning.
11. What can we leverage?
Identify existing assets – whether it's your talented team members, solid infrastructure, valuable partnerships, or available resources – that can be strategically leveraged to propel your team forward.
Consider an Outside Facilitator
In diverse teams, including different perspectives, ideas, and points of view is essential for success. Engaging an external facilitator can help ensure full participation, structure, and alignment among your team members.
Ready to Rock Our Canvas?
Armed with this structured approach, your team is now well-prepared for an exciting journey ahead. Using the canvas will lead to profound introspection and alignment on a renewed purpose and strategic clarity.
We wish you an incredible journey forward and remember, we're here to assist if you need help getting unstuck. 😉 🚀