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Structure of one day session, used by Patrick Dixon in different adaptations very successfully with global leadership teams of multinational clients, and also as a training tool / strategy development exercise for senior leaders in custom Executive Education programmes at London Business School and elsewhere.  Such days have generated new rapid-start ideas / initiatives with potential value in excess of $150m a year, as well as many profound longer term benefits.

Objectives: sharpen senior team thinking about important global trends, opportunities, innovation and risks, and their potential impact on future strategy plus related issues. Strengthen group-wide view in a highly interactive process which has immediate practical impact.  Challenging institutional blindness, one of the greatest risks to any large corporation – especially where most senior leaders in the company more than 5 years.
 
Outcomes:
1) Fresh insights into important global / customer / competitor / workplace trends – developed with participants own contributions during the day
2) Challenge to current strategic thinking
3) Practical proposals developed in small groups for new initiatives - new opportunities / innovations / accelerate leadership development / improve profitability / increase internal and external client satisfaction – each presented at the end of the day
4) Development of key communication skills to “sell” concepts / initiatives in a clear, simple, rapid and persuasive way to senior leadership, and make change happen

Need a strategy keynote speaker for your event? Phone or e-mail Patrick Dixon now

Sample structure of day:

Introduction - 15 minutes
If participants are leaders below the group executive team / board, then the introduction narrative is sometimes: “You are here because the organization believes in your future, and as preparation for a potential top leadership role. So for today, imagine that we are the board / global leadership team, taking part in a strategy day.
"YOUR views on the future are what really matter."
"The greatest risk for any large corporation is Institutional Blindness".
“Today the time is broadly yours and will be largely structured by you.”
 
Take Hold of Your Future presentation - provocation - 1 hour - (see sample trend slides above)
 “Our aim will be to take a big view of the future, and apply this to your strategy.”
“A key outcome will be a number of key initiatives / proposals, one per group, which will be presented briefly to me, as if I were the CEO, later today. You should expect that some of these will have the potential for almost immediate implementation, to help transform your business.”
 
Brain dump – immediate personal reflections ? - 5 minutes
Share in groups of 2-3 - 10 minutes

 
Break                                                                                    
 
Mapping Issues in groups - 30 minutes
            How did you feel?
            What caught your attention?
            What opportunities and challenges do you think are most important?

Mapping onto flipcharts:  plenary debate and heatmap - 60 minutes
Participants share each opportunity / challenge / issue they have been talking about. Contributions are challenged / commented on, to sharpen and broaden strategic thinking.  Expect to see a large number of huge flipcharts covered rapidly with key issues identified by groups. At end of the session, each participant takes a coloured marker and “votes” for what is most important, by ticking six items / opportunities / challenges each.  Those scoring highest are provisionally allocated over lunch to business-unit groups, clustered as appropriate into related themes.

Lunch

Explanation of task / process – timings etc are flexible - 5 minutes

Provocation: Moments of Genius - 10 minutes
- why they matter to all leaders and where they come from
- why all effective leadership is driven by a vision of a better future
- why most change management programmes fail
- how to translate powerful vision into rapid transformation and innovation                      
 
Groupwork - 45-60 minutes
Each group responds to their allocated opportunity / challenge:
Define the opportunity / area for innovation / challenge and strategic importance
How should the corporation or a particular business unit respond?  Practical proposal with very rough estimates of cost / benefit (preliminary business case). Each team develops a very tight summary – headline in 60 seconds, total 3-4 mins

Break

CEO Pitches – Master Class - 50-60 minutes
Representative of each group is given maximum 2-3 minutes to explain their concept / initiative / innovation in a persuasive and engaging way to Patrick Dixon, as if he were the CEO of their own corporation (assuming the CEO has not been present as a participant during the day).  They have to imagine that they have bumped into him during a reception at an internal event…..  They have maybe 30 seconds to grab attention with an important opportunity / challenge, 30-40 seconds to outline a practical way forward, and if their CEO continues to be engaged, possibly another 60 seconds to outline proposed immediate next steps.

Each group leader receives immediate feedback, not only on how to strengthen their proposal, but also on how to get the message across more powerfully, to win an immediate positive response. The aim is to help leaders develop this vital skill – the ability to present rapidly, persuade and get a provisional “yes” to the next step, is one of the most powerful lessons for any leader to master.  45-60 minutes

Reflections / questions and feedback from groups, and close  - 15-30 minutes
On some programmes – the actual CEO or Finance Director etc then arrives to listen to the pitches and respond, giving rapid opportunity for strong initiatives to proceed.

Need a world-class strategy keynote speaker for your event? Phone or e-mail Patrick Dixon now



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