A facilitator can make or break a strategic planning retreat. By using an experienced facilitator in the right situations, you will almost certainly accomplish more in your meetings, delve deeper into critical issues and resolve them.
Equally important, participants will leave with positive feelings, stronger cohesiveness, a sense of accomplishment, and a renewed belief in the team.
Why Hire an Outside Facilitator?
Strategic planning discussions can be painful and difficult. They involve personal values and goals, deeply held beliefs about the nature of the firm and where it's going, and maybe different perspectives on the marketplace. Some principals may have values or goals that conflict with those of other key members of the firm.
An outside facilitator carries none of this baggage. He or she can look at the firm, the management team, and the planning process objectively. An outside facilitator can say things like "that's habit talking" or "you're rationalizing," and can make sure that some people don't dominate the discussion. A facilitator knows how to keep the discussion on track while taking everyone's concerns into consideration.
BOTTOMLINE: Six Disciplines Centers offer facilitating services for strategic planning engagements. In fact, a requirement of becoming a Six Disciplines client is for the senior leadership team to go through a 3-day strategic planning retreat.