Nothing excites me more than strategy meetings.
The idea of discussing “what if” and partnering it with realistic plans creates a beautiful intersection of driving stakeholder needs forward while remaining open to new ideas.
When I joined the Professional Pricing Society, one problem that became apparent in my first year was that cross-departmental collaboration wasn’t facilitated nor planned for. I could see that we were great at maintaining initiatives, but we had a lack of innovation and creativity throughout the year. I knew we needed to move from isolated annual strategy planning to cross-departmental strategy planning and execution frequently throughout the year.
To do this, I focused on the following 6 steps:
1. I used language that aligned cause and effect between our three primary departments to show interdependence. Education needed to create training opportunities that would advance our members’ careers. Membership needed to package these opportunities into a value-packed solution, and marketing needed to tell the story of why our stakeholders should be active members.
2. As other colleagues normalized this language, we heard less about individual department wins and more about collective wins as an organization. I honed in on this by picking two key colleagues I saw as potential allies to help me champion and influence our other team members. I won them over, and they helped me win over the rest of our team.
3. Once the culture moved to more inclusion and collaboration, we needed to formalize this shift in culture. In our weekly meetings, I began pitching an idea that would require all departments to work together. As my colleagues heard it, they began to share input. Within one month, I asked if everyone would like to begin having a separate, dedicated strategy meeting to share new ideas, find the common thread of where we want to collaborate, and then meet twice per month thereafter to execute. With complete buy-in (and enthusiasm!), we held our first strategy meeting.
4. In our first meeting, we wrote all of our ideas for our own departments and our organization around our conference room. We found the project pitch I began with, an upgrade to our membership, was on everyone’s idea boards. This gave us a project to begin with to show how we all bring something to the table and would need to work together to innovate this offering.
5. Since this meeting, we have reviewed our current membership offerings, data around membership revenue and trends, and surveyed four segments: lapsed key accounts, current key accounts, lapsed general members and current general members to gauge their interest in new items we can add. We are now diving through this information to create a proposal for our president of what membership might look like in 2020 based on our member needs.
6. As we move forward, I anticipate us successfully launching this new initiative and then picking a new area to focus on cross-departmentally so that we can keep this momentum going throughout the year, every year.
We now meet every two to three weeks for 30 to 90 minutes to discuss the status of new projects until they are launched and operationalized into our routine schedules, as well as pitch new projects that can be next in line. Moving from one meeting per year to multiple meetings per year has allowed us to accomplish more even more quickly than we realized we could.