How to run a successful strategy day
by Sophia Dass
On Friday 6th October, Flame PR exchanged gloomy London skies for the crisp, clean, air of Henley-on-Thames for our strategy away day. Whatever your business might be, it is vital to escape the office to spend dedicated time together to think, strategise, and reflect. Routine meetings in the board room won’t quite cut it because they typically have a jam-packed agenda and distraction is never far away, whether that be the need to respond to emails or react to a breaking news story.
During our day at Henley Business School, we put our heads together to think of ways in which we might improve the effectiveness of the business through SWOT analysis and also engaged in broader thought about how we might redefine the business in the future. A 9-5 schedule can appear restrictive, so we’ve put together a list of tips to help you get the most out of your strategy away day:
Identify an effective framework for analysing your business
Eight hours is certainly not enough time to reshape your entire business model – what it does allow for, however, is refining your current strategies or getting the team to reconnect with forgotten aspects of it. During our strategy day, we carried out a SWOT analysis, which is a simple but effective framework for analysing your company’s strengths and weaknesses, alongside the opportunities and threats that you face. The result of this, was a wall plastered in post-it notes – while this is a great way to gain a 360 view of your business, it is far too much information to tackle in one day!
Remember, time is precious!
In order to effectively work with the results of the SWOT analysis, we identified common themes that spanned the “weaknesses” and “threats” sections. We then picked three of the themes that we felt were most important to us as a team, and split into three groups ideate to about how we might tackle these issues, and any immediate actions that we could take (however big or small). Following these small group sessions, we presented our ideas to the rest of the team and agreed upon small immediate actions that could be taken, and how we might approach those that were bigger.
Integration of teams
Most companies are split up into teams. In our case, we have two: PR and Business Development. The strategy away day was an excellent opportunity to become more integrated, and discuss ways in which the two teams can better support each other. As an immediate action, we decided it would be helpful to run joint meeting every Friday, giving us a chance to ideate about business opportunities over some slices of pizza.
Making it count
While an away day should absolutely be viewed as a chance to escape the humdrum of a typical working day and combat city stress, it is important that the strategies discussed make their way back to the office. An easy way to do this, is to schedule in a one-month review, to discuss how these strategies have been implemented and how effective they have been so far!
What a beautiful team
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