Strategic Directions offers several pre-designed workshops that can help kick-start specific activities and initiatives in your organization. Some are "off the shelf" and can be delivered as is; others are `designed to leverage your content and require some upfront preparation. In all cases, the cost is far less than a custom-designed workshop.
The workshops we offer currently include:
Formalizing Your Value Proposition
Why It Matters
A Value Proposition addresses the question that's uppermost in every “buyer’s” mind, “If I buy your product, join your association or do whatever you’re asking me to do, what’s in it for me?”
In the absence of a clearly defined and communicated Value Proposition, buyers make assumptions about the benefits associated with an organization’s products and services.
When benefits are underestimated, buyers are likely to look elsewhere; when they are overestimated, disappointment can cost the organization dearly in the longer term. For these reasons, it’s very much in an organization’s best interests to communicate benefits clearly and accurately – particularly given the ability of buyers to influence an organization’s reputation on social media.
Designed for six to 15 participants, Formalizing Your Value Proposition is built around a facilitated session. Prior to the workshop, each participant completes a short, online survey. The results are summarized and shared along with information that informs participants about the process and uses for their formalized Value Proposition.
At the session, the conversation is driven by a set of questions designed to elicit information on which to build an effective Value Proposition. Breakout groups enable all participants to be heard and contribute to the conversation. This collaborative process results in a thoughtful Value Proposition ready for testing and/or immediate use.
Once done, participants spend time brainstorming the ways in which the Value Proposition will be used and the key messages that will be incorporated into online and other forms of communication.
“… your approach to developing our value proposition was remarkable and we are very pleased with the results. You were able to get a diverse group of members to drill down and agree on the essence of CEO. You have a very engaging style and a well-honed process for getting workshop participants to collaborate on solving a tough issue. We look forward to working with you again!”
– Cindy Gonsalves, Director, Finance & Administration,
Consulting Engineers of Ontario
Solving Problems Creatively
Why It Matters
Have you noticed how much time today’s business leaders devote to problem solving? For many, dealing with problems that arise in the moment, along with others that have been building up for years, is a primary role.
Unfortunately, leaders are rarely taught – or even exposed to – the best ways of attacking these problems, or whom to engage in the process. When they get together with colleagues, the “solutions” put forward tend to be from the “same old, same old” category – they didn’t work then, and they are not likely to work now.
Solving Problems Creatively provides you and your team with the tools you need to tackle problems head-on – creatively and collaboratively. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to put these tools to work, wrestling one of your real-life problems to the ground and creating a robust action plan that can be implemented upon your return to the office.
This two-day workshop is for teams of three and more.
On day one, participants discover and appreciate their own problem-solving style and those of their associates, making it much easier to match the approach (and person) to the challenge.
You will learn 10 practical problem-solving techniques. And you will discover the power of collaboration when team members are working with a shared language and ten, team-based problem solving / thinking tools.
On day two, you will bring these tools to bear on a real problem (one of your choosing) in real time. By the time the workshop wraps up, you will have defined a creative solution and scoped out a clear plan of action.
Following the workshop, we offer ongoing “action coaching.” This involves sitting in with teams as they tackle problems on the job and offering tips and techniques to make the problem-solving tools work even better.
Engaging Your Board in Strategic Thinking
Why It Matters
Imagine an advisory board or board of directors in which everyone is engaged in strategic thinking and making a meaningful contribution to the organization’s success.
Most leaders recognize that leveraging the knowledge, experience, wisdom, and insight of board members, individually and collectively, is the smart thing to do. The challenge lies in how to accomplish this goal.
Too many boards spend too much time reviewing financial results and getting up to speed on “what’s happening.” Yet board members are chosen for their experience and willingness to contribute. Imagine this talent being redirected into solving the organization’s major challenges.
We work with your organization’s CEO (or equivalent) to identify issues that are undermining the board’s ability to contribute, and areas in which Board members could make a real difference.
We interview each Board member to gain their perspective on what’s preventing the Board from being truly involved and useful.
Working with the CEO, we summarize these perspectives into a concise and comprehensive briefing note. This note, along with an appropriate agenda, is circulated to participating Board members, ensuring that each has been heard and comes to the workshop prepared to contribute to the dialogue.
We facilitate a three to four-hour workshop to refocus Board members. Decisions are documented, blessed by Board members, and provided to the CEO where they are used to engage Board members in activities that make a significant difference to the organization’s success.
Engaging Your Board in Strategic Thinking is a great way to engage talented Board members in actively contributing to the future success of your organization!
Launching a Tough Project
Why It Matters
At the beginning of a large, complex – or complicated – project, there is normally a great deal of uncertainty in the air. Stakeholders see the project, its purpose and scope differently. This often leads to confusion; occasionally to interpersonal skirmishes.
What’s important at the outset is for all involved to be clear on what they are being tasked with accomplishing, and why. Very often, that doesn’t happen to the degree it should.
We have decades of experience working with team leaders to set the stage for a successful project. What we bring to the table is an approach which has worked in hundreds of situations. Combining our approach with your content results in a game plan that will dramatically increase the likelihood of success.
Similar to the way we approach strategy and strategic planning, we work with the team leader to establish the way the project will be scoped out and positioned to increase the probability of success.
In a facilitated meeting, we bring contextual planning, facilitation, and coaching skills to the table to have the project team:
paint a picture of what “success” will look like;
determine what’s in and what’s out of scope;
identify the major chunks of work to be done;
lay out accountabilities for these chunks of work; and
build enthusiastic support for the project.
The team leaves the meeting with a clear plan of action designed to take them to the next stage.
Defining Core Values & Behaviours
Why It Matters
While there are many definitions of corporate culture, on one thing there is widespread agreement: an organization’s culture is determined, in large part, by the ways employees interact with and treat external stakeholders and one another.
In the absence of any guidance, employees will behave in ways that work for them individually or as members of specific groups. Unfortunately, this type of ad hoc behaviour is seldom in the organization's best interests.
Core values are beliefs that an organization prizes above all others. Far more than simple words, a thoughtfully defined core value is essential for guiding behaviour and helping employees understand what is acceptable and what is not.
From a training standpoint, a set of core values can be invaluable as they serve as a filter for important decisions, ensuring that each balances the interests of the organization, the employee and clients or members.
Designed for a minimum of six participants, the Core Values Workshop is built around a facilitated session. Prior to the session, each participant is asked to respond to a short questionnaire about their organization's culture and to identify a few values that, in his or her opinion, will help to reinforce the desired culture.
At the workshop, the conversation is driven by a set of pre-determined questions. Breakout groups enable everyone to be heard and contribute. Important tasks involve defining each value, and discussing how best to encourage their implementation.
Following the workshop, we prepare a summary of decisions made, along with information to help participants operationalize these values.
“[your] involvement was instrumental not just in guiding our process, but in eliciting creative concepts and ideas from our team that would not otherwise have surfaced. Your engaging style, and respect for all participants, were key to the creation of a plan that we believe is aspirational in its scope and direction, yet pragmatic enough to drive quick results."
– Kevin Beingessner, President & CEO, Coril Holdings Ltd.