How to Strategise When You Can’t Meet Personally?

by | Aug 17, 2020

Many leaders I speak with these days are asking how to strategise when there are restrictions on travel and group meetings. They believe that creating a good strategy requires meeting personally. I don’t buy it.

How we go about developing strategy becomes a habit and we just keep following the same beaten path.

Back in the day, boards and management teams got together for onsite and offsite workshops to brainstorm, debate and build agreement and ownership. However, when the old way is not available, the first reaction is usually to view it as a problem. It’s not.

The alternative response, is to ask what opportunities does this offer us to go about it differently and produce an even better strategy? Instead of dwelling on what you can’t do now (e.g. by video conference), look at the upside and ask what can we do?

My point is to let go of old beliefs about ‘how’ strategy should be developed. Revisit what strategy really means and then develop a disciplined approach to creating it. You are not accepting a poor substitute for a conventional strategy workshop, but choosing a leading-edge approach to create breakthrough strategy. 

There are limits when collaborating virtually. For a start it’s more mentally taxing, which means holding shorter and more disciplined meetings. However, remember that video meetings also allow you to have strategy discussions that you hadn’t considered before. 

For example, world class innovators and specialists from outside your industry and country can be invited into a board discussion to speak and answer questions for 30 minutes.

Face to face meetings are becoming the exception and not the rule. Progressive firms are gravitating to a view that it is optimal for knowledge workers to be in the office 1-2 days per week. Even then, it will be because they must collaborate on the toughest problems that have never been solved before.

If you want a better strategy to thrive in disruptive times, start by innovating in how you go about developing it.

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