Strategic Planning Facilitators

Making a strategic plan for your MSP is critical. Think about using a strategic planning facilitator

Written by Ian Richardson

January 28, 2024

Strategic Planning Facilitators

By Ian Richardson, Principal Consultant, Fox & Crow Group
Inspired by Thursday Process with guest Paul Azad, Service Tree

Strategic Planning Facilitators

Strategic planning starts with problems, beliefs, and desires. That room of leaders will spend a bit of time reconciling points of view around “what matters.”

The first time my I.T. company approached the topic, there was a water cooler conversation that stands out. The question posed: “why are we making some of the same avoidable errors.”

Feelings were complex: Fear, anxiety, confusion were common.

There was a steady stream of complaints from customers. Those complaints led to rework. The office had tension and frustration in the air. There was a lot of finger pointing happening, both internal and outside the organization.

What was the cause of the less-than-ideal outcomes?

Myself, as the owner and person who held the bag of “risk” if we failed, I was a bit scared. What if we couldn’t get it “right?” How was I going to get new customers if we kept failing to execute for the ones we had?

I didn’t know the first thing about strategic planning. From what I had read, heard, and seen, it sure sounded like something that could help.

I knew I didn’t want to have to figure out how to do it myself. Especially with the myriad of other balls I was currently juggling day to day.

I wanted to get to a place where my business would run itself day to day. Without me having to take part in every little decision and action.

In walked the concept of a strategic planning facilitator. Someone to help and guide us through the process. I’m grateful I found one and wanted to explore the topic with you today.

The benefit of strategic planning facilitation

Strategic planning is one of those topics that can mean different things depending on who you ask.

It might mean having a quick brainstorming session. Figuring out a high-level plan of action, dividing up some tasks, and running forward fast.

Other times, it might involve a bit more time and people in the room. You may be examining each part of the business to figure out what needs improvement. What needs extra resources or systems, and what needs to be understood better.

I can’t think of a better time to be in business than today. There is a multitude of options, systems, processes, and resources. For someone looking to perform strategic planning in their business, the time is nigh.

It can be a difficult thing to both take part in the planning process with your employees and peers. Trying to lead that process according to a pre-designed structure and format is harder still. Shifting from “facilitator” to “participant” is really damn hard.

My friend Paul Azad, CEO and founder of Service Tree shared his thoughts on the topic in the video below.

He found that having the right people from his team in the room helped. By being “one of the team” versus “leading the team”, it became the team’s plan, versus “Paul’s” plan.

Teams have a tendency to buy into collaborative efforts and support them. They also do it more enthusiastically versus being “told” what to do.

Final thoughts around strategic planning

Strategic planning can be a bear of a topic to tackle. It is hard get started and have it become engrained into your company culture.

This blog, as well as others, can serve as resources to help you get started.

If you’re lost – reach out to me. My calendar is available here: Happy to point you to resources and answer questions.

Also – I talk about planning a LOT in our newsletter. You can sign up here.


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