Work horror stories: We all have them.
Running late, spilled coffee, non-cooperative technology.
But in my experience as a strategic planner, both in the for- and not-for-profit worlds, the most unwelcome addition to a planning session is unproductive ambiance.
Silent crowds, nasty jabs from one board member to another, sullen participants who say no one cares about their mission or their good work. These attitudes can really put a stop to positive energy that is critical when envisioning a strategic future.
Every strategic planner has had a session or two go terribly wrong, and if you have ever facilitated strategic plans, I’m sure you have a few to put on your horror story list.
A few of mine are:
- The “why are we doing this if we can’t raise money?” strategic planning session: Having the group decide halfway through the session that planning should stop until the fundraising committee could execute a better event.
- The declaration that “establishing an endowment is greedy” scenario: Having the leadership conclude halfway through the retreat that their organization’s drive to put together an endowment was selfish.
- The equipment mishandle that makes silence even more awkward: Leaving your lavalier microphone on when discussing, in another room, how the group is not at all engaged in the process and everything seems uninspiring.