Are you a digital studio owner seeking to take your team through a Strategic Planning process in order to gain deeper perspective on the agency, increase unity, clarify the future and have your team create a plan they will be more motivated to execute?  If so, then the StratOp process is a proven way to unlock the potential of your agency leading to improved performance.

Over two days one of Navigate the Journey’s experienced facilitators will lead your team through 24 related exercises to create a holistic strategic plan to grow your agency.  The outcomes of the strategic planning sessions explained below are dependent on the talent and experience of an outside facilitator leading your agency team through the StratOp process.  Read our 9 benefits of building your strategic plan with an outside facilitator post for more details on why using an outside facilitator greatly improves the outcomes of an agency’s strategic planning process.

StratOp Day #1 Agenda

9:00 – 9:10       StratOp Principles: explains the principles underpinning StratOp, including how gaining full perspective precedes planning and action

9:10 – 9:30       StratOp Process: previews the 2-day facilitation and what the execution phases entail over the coming months.  From the beginning, your team realizes the strategy they help create is the strategy they will execute

9:30 – 9:45      Thinking Wavelengths: identifies where on a continuum from concrete to abstract thinking those on your team fall

9:45 – 10:00    Hopes & Expectations: allows everyone to express their main desired outcome from the StratOp process

10:00 – 10:15  Historical Milestones: the founder(s) walk the team through the key historical events in the life of the studio increasing everyone’s knowledge of the past

10:15 – 10:30  Turning Points: a facilitated conversation with the team leading to the identification of the most significant events that changed the agency and their impact on us today

10:15 – 10:30  Turning Point Learnings: summarizes our learnings from reflecting on the agency’s past

10:30 – 10:45  What Is Our Business: captures insight into who the agency is, what we do, and who our customers are

10:45 – 12:00  Four Helpful Lists: diagnoses what is right that needs to be optimized, what is wrong that needs to be fixed, what is confused that needs to be clarified, and what is missing that needs to be added

12:00 – 12:45  Lunch

12:45 – 1:15    Core Issues: each participant votes on the top five issues from the four helpful lists to collectively identify the core issues impacting the agency

1:15 – 2:30      External Patterns & Trends: identifies current and anticipated changes in the external environment and their implications on us

2:30 – 3:15      Life Cycle Analysis: plots current services, products, technology platforms and customers on the life cycle bell curve as either accelerating, booming, decelerating, or tanking

3:15 – 3:30      Break

3:30 – 4:15      Fountain of Youth: all great products and service offerings start as an idea, but not all great ideas turn into marketplace realities. This exercise captures the creative and innovative ideas of the agency that potentially could be acted upon

4:15 – 5:00      Opportunity/Risk Analysis: Clarifies which of the best ideas in the preceding two exercise would provide the greatest opportunity/return, given their risk and required resources


StratOp Day #2 Agenda

9:00 – 9:30       What Became Clearer Overnight: captures each participant’s main take away from the previous day

9:30 – 10:15     Strategy Canvas: identifies the factors of competition relative to your competitors including how customers make their buying decision; we also discuss whether to change any factors in order to improve market differentiation

10:15 – 10:30   Break

10:30 – 11:30   Mission: we craft a clear, concise and compelling statement of why the agency exists

11:30 – 12:00   Our 3-Year Vision: allows the owner(s) to cast a vision of what the agency will look like in the future and then allows the team to discuss what it will take to achieve that vision

12:00 – 12:45   Lunch

12:45 – 1:30     Core Values: we uncover and define the irrefutable foundations that define the culture of your agency that can be operationalized to reinforce your culture going forward

1:30 – 2:15       Ideal Customer – Characteristics: defines the key characteristics of the agency’s ideal client

2:15 – 2:45       Ideal Customer – Needs, Values, Wants From Us: having identified the characteristics of our ideal customer, we now discern what they need, value and want from us and rate how we are currently meeting those desires of our ideal client

2:45 – 3:00       Break

3:00 – 3:45       Strategic Control Panel: clarifies the key performance indicators for the next 3 years, along with the performance drivers necessary to achieve those objectives, along with the risks & constraints that could prevent the agency from achieving its goals

3:45 – 4:00       What’s Important Now (“WIN”) List: we begin the move to strategy execution by identifying the key strategic initiatives the agency must form cross-functional teams around and execute over the coming months

4:00 – 4:45       Action Initiative Profiles: defines the objectives, deliverables, team leader and members, and due dates for each WIN team

4:45 – 5:00       Next Steps: the two-day facilitation phase concludes with clarifying the next phases of StratOp necessary to ensure the plan your agency team created is executed over the coming months, including how Navigate the Journey will coach the team through the strategy execution phases


At the conclusion of these 2-day facilitated sessions the agency’s owners have shared with their team their vision of the future, while also allowing individual team members to be heard, leading the team to create a plan that will achieve the owner’s vision of the future.  The foregoing 2-day facilitation agenda covers the first two phases of StratOp namely “Perspective” and “Planning”, and begins to move your team into the third phase of “Action”.  If you would like learn how your team can execute the StratOp plan they help create, then read our 8 tips for implementing a strategic plan in the midst of your whirlwind post.

About The Author

Tom Barrett is a sought after strategic planning facilitator and coach to companies, teams and leaders. He is also the Co-Founder of Navigate The Journey, LLC a strategic planning and leadership development company that specializes in focusing and growing digital studios, consultancies, and agencies.


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