As a CEO, you are expected to deliver the opening address at your organisation's strategic planning workshop or retreat.
The strategy speech, which sets the scene for the strategy workshop, usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes.
What you choose to focus on in your speech, will affect what your team focuses on and how they will behave during the strategy workshop.
When you present your opening address at the start of a strategic planning workshop, the delegates at the workshop use your speech to determine:
Use your opening speech to shape the expectations of workshop delegates so as to:
Let your team know that you respect them and look forward to their contribution.
"I’d like to welcome you all to the Strategic Planning workshop for the (put in the name of your organization.) Over the next 3 days we will be working together as a group to develop our strategic plan together. And I look forward to seeing everyone contribute towards creating our future together."
1. Provide your view of your organization today - where it sits in your industry, and which model or paradigm it has been working under.
"We are one of the top four financial services institutions in our country whichever way you want to measure it. By staff, branches, balance sheets, values transactions and profitability. But we need to protect our position and we need to do better.
Up till now we have been operating on a BancAssurance model. Most of our business comes from the bank’s database. We have a wide distribution network consisting of 1400 branches country wide. While this is difficult to copy, it is also a disadvantage in terms of costs."
2. Provide examples of how the world outside your organization is changing, and how this poses challenges to your organization.
"The economy is growing at a low rate. Unemployment is higher than ever before. People are now looking hard at costs. We are no longer just competing with banks, insurance companies and asset management companies. Telecom companies, medical aids, retailers and IT companies are now entering our markets. They no longer play by our rules. They don’t carry the costs of bricks and mortar branches so they are able to offer products and services at a fraction of the prices we charge..."
3. End by stating that the industry your organization is operating in, is likely to be very different in the future.
"The future of financial services industry is going to be very different from today."
State the purpose of this strategic planning workshop.
"The purpose of this workshop is to develop a strategic plan for our organization to be successful within this new competitive world."
1. Explain what you will be doing during the workshop.
"During this workshop, we will:
2. Explain what will happen to the strategic plan after the workshop.
"After the workshop:
State the behaviours you expect and don't expect from the group.
"We have invited you all here today, because crafting a high quality strategic plan is a difficult task to do alone. But if we all contribute our knowledge and ideas – we will create something powerful together.
To produce an excellent strategic plan that we can all be proud of, I am going to ask you all to remain focused and not to get distracted by other issues.
Explain the role you will play during the workshop. Get across the idea that there is no status during the workshop.
"During the next 3 days, I will not be acting as a CEO. Rather I will be a member of the team – working together with you to develop our vision."
Introduce the facilitator in a way that establishes his/her credibility.
"I'd like to introduce you to xxx, who will be leading us step by step through the process of developing our strategic plan."
State the companies the facilitator has worked with. Especially choose those companies that are part of your industry.
"xxx is one of the top strategy consultants in South Africa. She has worked over 98 companies and with most of the blue chip companies in our country as well as internationally. In our industry she has worked with:
Explain why you chose that facilitator.
"She has a very creative way of getting the best out of each of us. And of ensuring that together we develop a strategy we can be proud of. So we are in very capable hands. I’d like to hand you over to our facilitator."
A short, concise speech of about 15 - 30 minutes covering the points listed above, will set the scene for a successful strategy workshop.