Strategic planning is typically serious stuff. That doesn't mean, however, that doing strategic planning is best served by conducting things in a boring way. Frustrations with boring strategy sessions are probably why so many people visit our website looking for creative ideas on fun strategic planning exercises.
We've previously published some fun strategic planning exercises. Suppose however, you are in a strategy session where things are dragging. You probably can't stop, research different strategic thinking exercises, and incorporate them into your strategy session.
What can you do right away to turn deadly strategic thinking exercises into fun strategic planning exercises?
Strategic Planning Exercises Can Be Fun
Here are six creative ideas for last minute changes to turn around a boring strategy meeting by fashioning quick, fun strategic planning exercises and activities:
Create a competition
Split your whole group into smaller groups and turn your strategy work into a competition. Challenge each group to do more of whatever it is you need - more ideas, more variations, more scenarios, more whatever. Cheer for the team that wins, then give everybody another chance with the next small group exercise.
Rearrange working groups
After splitting your big group into smaller groups, keep changing the composition of the small groups. Try to make sure every person has a chance to work closely with every other person in the group. Variety can break up the monotony of a boring meeting.
Change your meeting place
Take a break and see if there's a different room or place you can move to for the rest of your meeting. If you always have strategy meetings in the same place, changing the venue can add some fun. Go outside. Go the cafeteria. Go to a meeting room that's much bigger than the number of people you have in the meeting would ever need. Just go somewhere different!
Tell people you expect the outrageous
Often participants won't push strategy ideas very far unless you say it's okay to be outrageous. Even better, ENCOURAGE being outrageous. Change a typical strategy exercise (say Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) to have people imagine the most outrageous possibilities for each area. Once you have outrageous ideas, you can always dial the creative ideas back to be more realistic.
Increase the meeting's speed and variety
Spending long periods thinking about the same thing using the same perspective is deadly. Create fun strategic planning exercises by taking only five or six minutes on a boring exercise before varying the creative perspective. For the next round, address the same issue question from a customer, competitor, or industry supplier perspective. Next time, have small groups adopt a different perspective than previously or have them build on (or tear apart and improve on) ideas the small group before them used.
Take more and shorter breaks with fun food or drinks
Give people more short breaks where they stand up, move around, and even do jumping jacks, stretches, or relaxation techniques. Send somebody out to get fun food for an upcoming break. Get some milk shakes from a fast food place. Hit up the deli or bakery section at a nearby grocery store for fun salty or sweet snacks. Looking forward to something fun at the next break can alleviate tedium and make boring questions seem like fun strategic planning exercises.
Plan If You Can
It's always best to plan ahead to add some fun into a strategic planning session. If you don't have the opportunity, or are forced to try something different on the spur of the moment, these six creative ideas are all proven to add to the fun! - Mike Brown