70 Strategic Compression Planning Headers from 2018

Why isn’t all planning effective?

Why do groups continue to spin their wheels and waste their time when there is an alternative?

I know Compression Planning® isn’t the only “solution” in town when it comes to this frustration.

I recently designed and led a small session dealing with a capital investment predicament.

The previous “meetings” had left everyone frustrated beyond belief. This was a group of elected officials dealing with their management team and an outside vendor.

At the end of the session during the debrief, the CEO started laughing and shared the following:

“I came here tonight fully expecting this thing to blow up. I have never watched this group be this productive, focused and civil towards each other. I’m beyond thrilled we got where we did as I never would have dreamed it possible.”

The keys to the success were the following:

  1. There was a Design that was developed around CORE issues…not favoring any one party but towards getting critical decisions made and addressing the right questions/headers.
  2. There was a neutral facilitation team/leader for the evening (myself and Stephanie). I didn’t have any vested interest in the outcome other than helping this group make the necessary decisions.
  3. There was a process and people played along with the guidelines/norms. They were respectful of each other’s input, of the process and were mostly willing to be led. Yes, there was one challenging participant but in the end, they were on board.

I’d like to think that every planning session has the same successful outcome but I know that isn’t always the case.

However, greater than 95% of Compression Planning sessions do.

If there has ever been a theme that has stuck with our alumni over the past four decades it’s this…

I still hear Jerry saying it when I have my doubts and anxiousness before sessions I’m leading.

Asking the right questions, of the right people, and having a process that leads quickly to decisions can produce amazing results.

Alumni are always asking for help with the creation of Headers. There are hundreds in your Blueprint book from the Institute, hundreds on our website and below are 70 from a few of the sessions I designed and led last year.

I trust you’ll find some useful “thought provokers” in the list you can use (or adapt) for your groups!

2018 Compression Planning Headers:

  1. What are the current or near-future trends/developments in our region that provide opportunities for us?
  2. Which of these are opportunities we can influence/play on our strengths?
  3. What challenges/constraints do we face?
  4. Ways we can collaborate with ____
  5. Ways we can demonstrate to our partners what we uniquely bring to the table
  6. How can we build our “Social Capital/Good Will” with partners or influencers?
  7. What can each of us do, as board members, to start building “Social Capital/
    Good Will” for our organization?
  8. How do we engage more members/partners to offer their time, connections or resources? (build internal capacity)
  9. What do we see as our role in serving ___?
  10. If we were sitting here as a team, three years from now (DATE), what absolutely has to happen for us to be pleased with our progress?
  11. What is missing from our current Mission/Vision that we need to consider adding based on the above two questions?
  12. What is happening in our region that we need to be aware of that impacts our work and delivery of services? Current/future
  13. What trends have we noticed that have a direct (and maybe indirect) impact on our work?
  14. What are the services we know are available for client base? (by us and others)
  15. Who are the providers that serve our clients? (traditional and non-traditional)
  16. Who is best equipped to deliver this line of service?
  17. Who should we be partnering with to deliver our services and what skill sets do they bring to the table?
  18. Ways to make it easy/highly desirable for our “Dream Team” members to do business with us
  19. How can we best use the XYZ award to serve “targeted segment of our client base?”
  20. What do Board Members need to do to ensure the organization effectively delivers on the Mission and Vision?
  21. Ways to ensure our Board Meetings allow us to focus on Strategic Issues and Opportunities
  22. What are our expectations of each other in terms of preparing for Board meetings?
  23. What can Staff do to ensure our Board time is spent on strategy?
  24. How will we specifically know we are being successful at following our Strategic Plan? (Internal/External/Board)
  25. What are you doing right now to develop/recruit leaders? (current inventory)
  26. What leadership development things do we have happening at each level of our organization?
  27. What should be (or could be) our guiding principles in our development of key leaders?
  28. Why do we want/need to do this now?
  29. Where are the greatest needs in our organization? (To include what and where…i.e. projected numbers for 3 years and 10 years)
  30. Who needs the fruits of our labor and in what kind of timeframe?
  31. Ways we can fill our leadership needs in the short-term
  32. What are some “quick fixes” we can explore to start plugging the leadership gap?
  33. If resources weren’t an issue, what would we be doing around leadership development?
  34. What efforts are currently going on that we could slightly change/add to that would impact our needs?
  35. Ways we can inspire loyalty among potential leaders that are involved in partner efforts
  36. Ways we can support prospective leaders through work and life transitions
  37. What are the ”formal systems” we need to have in place to make an effort like this successful?
  38. How are we going to support our efforts? Start-up (first 12 months)/ medium term (3-5 years)/long term (5 years plus)
  39. Given that we all have a vested interested in this, what are ways we can all support this effort?
  40. How can this group be working together differently that will result in the development of future leaders?
  41. What would an ideal management structure look like to support this effort –at startup through maturation phases?
  42. What should the oversight of this leadership development effort consist of?
  43. Who is best positioned to provide the oversight and hold appropriate parties accountable?
  44. How will we know we are being successful through the three phases? Startup, mid and long term
  45. What do we need to be tracking that will inform us of our progress so when we meet, we can work on the “business of leadership development”?
  46. How do we ensure our efforts are sustainable and outlive all of us in this room?
  47. Ways to neutralize the “it’s not in the budget” mentality in our leadership development efforts
  48. Ways we can cheaply “prototype” some of our efforts/pilots
  49. What is the business of our business?
  50. What is the real value we bring to our customers?
  51. How can we become indispensable to our customers?
  52. What are we positioned to do better than any other organization in the world?
  53. What are the big overlooked “Opportunities” we are positioned to address?
  54. Ways to create maximum real and perceived value in our members eyes and minds at all times
  55. Who should we consider partnering and/or collaborating with?
  56. How can we build our bandwidth through our partnerships?
  57. What could a ”formalized relationship” with our vendors provide us?
  58. How can we get vendors clamoring to partner with us?
  59. What can we be doing to position ourselves as “Co-Developers” alongside our vendors?
  60. What are the key issues/major challenges our customers are begging us to help solve?
  61. What are those “consulting services” we could help facilitate to our customers if we had the structure in place?
  62. What would a highly successful Referral Service encompass?
  63. What are other potential “revenue streams” we should consider pursuing?
  64. Ways we can increase our potential revenue through joint ventures/partnerships
  65. What ”guarantee” can we offer new customers (plus existing ones to ‘re-up’)?
  66. How can all Board Members add value?
  67. What are our expectations of each other as Board Members?
  68. What would make someone want to be a part of our Board?
  69. How will we specifically know we are being successful in delivering our Mission?
  70. What will we use as our success metrics?

I hope you find them helpful and serve as food for thought when you are developing your headers!

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