Team planning

Modern leaders realize that the best way to engage their team in the process of actively implementing plans, sharing responsibility and high involvement is to involve them (the team) in the planning process itself. It seems as if the conclusion is that such joint planning meetings should be quite time-consuming, but this is not always the case.

Very often we organize and conduct various planning meetings - from strategic planning sessions to meetings on creating a plan for implementing new projects. And this experience has allowed us to highlight some points in the group planning process that we would like to share with you.

A clear plan

Before any planning session, we try to make it as clear as possible what is included in the subject matter to be discussed and what is not. What topics, issues we need to cover and what topics lie outside the participants' area of expertise. In most large organizations, there are some limitations within which people can operate. Finding out all these limitations and details before a working meeting, and clearly defining these boundaries at the very beginning of the meeting, can save a lot of time and effort during the work.

Clear terms

Vision, mission, values, goals, objectives, targets, priorities, results, strategy, tactics, actions ... oddly enough, all these words mean different things in different organizations. Even within the same company there can be different understandings and confusion of terms. Perhaps this is why there is a tendency in large companies to develop their own definitions, terms and frameworks for the planning process. At least this allows people within the same organization to have a common understanding and definitions - which helps them work together more effectively.

To avoid spending a huge amount of time clarifying terms and arguing over meanings during a meeting, we recommend agreeing on the terms and definitions to be used in advance, at the very beginning of the meeting. It may even be worth devoting a separate time before the meeting, or making a mailing with a list of terms so that participants have time to think about them and understand them.

There have been times when managers have wanted to hold a session to get participants to accept and agree to a plan that already exists. Unfortunately, we have to refuse such requests, as we believe that this is a manipulative process that requires neither true cooperation nor input from the participants. Nevertheless, we are happy to offer the leader to openly present his/her plan to the group, and we can organize a discussion and adjustment of the plan (if, of course, the leader is ready for this), as well as the stages and details of its implementation.

Planning meetings at different stages of the work require different involvement and cooperation of the participants. For example:

- The leader tells / "sells" his/her vision of the next steps

- The leader checks/agrees on his/her goals

- The group develops a plan to implement/implement the proposed steps or ideas.

If you're serious about collaboration and teamwork, it's important to remember that only by involving people in all stages of the project will you really be able to realize it with their active participation. This may seem obvious, but it's always important to clearly distinguish when we want input from people and when we just need to cascade goals or communicate a decision.

Clear tools

Visual tools work great during planning sessions. Showing the meeting participants the entire process being worked on, showing the overall structure, and noting where their input is needed and important will immediately bring clarity and make follow-up work easier. Visual tools not only help in the work that takes place at the meeting itself, but also play an important role in helping participants to remember and use what is going on.


In our experience, time invested in collaborative team planning is time well spent. It is how people "buy in" to the plans that have been developed, and it is how you gain the support and involvement of the team in their implementation. Decisions made in this way are much more likely to be supported by the team than plans made by the manager alone