How Do I Choose the Best Strategic Planning Workshop?

Maggie Worth

Small business owners, senior managers, and department heads who are frequently faced with strategic planning duties may opt to take a workshop to improve their skills in this area. As with most things, choosing the best strategic planning workshop is largely a matter of finding the course that best meets your specific needs. Key steps include defining your goals for the workshop; investigating time, cost, and location factors of available courses; evaluating content and instructors; and gathering feedback from previous attendees.

A highly-skilled workshop presenter can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of the workshop.
A highly-skilled workshop presenter can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of the workshop.

The term strategic planning encompasses a broad field of tasks and skills. Entire college courses are taught on the subject, so you need to realize that a workshop — which generally occurs over only a few hours or days — cannot possibly address all aspects of the subject. For this reason, you need to think carefully about what you want to achieve and seek out programs accordingly. For example, if you are new to the concept, you might choose a strategic planning workshop that gives a broad introduction to the thought processes and goals behind the subject. A more seasoned planner might be better served by a workshop that focuses on technology-enhanced planning or on translating a strategic plan into measurable, everyday steps and objectives.

Your ability to attend the sessions is a major factor in choosing the most appropriate strategic planning workshop. This means you must consider location, including whether sessions are offered online. You also need to determine whether the workshop occurs outside business hours or whether you should arrange for someone to cover your workload while you are away from the office. Cost may also be a significant consideration.

As you evaluate your options, you’ll want to find out what entity is sponsoring the event and what experience level the instructors possess. A strategic planning workshop may be presented through a school or college, a community center, a professional training center, or by an independent consultant. Course work may be developed and presented by an individual experienced in strategic planning but may also be moderated by a professional administrator whose expertise is in training rather than the subject matter. You may or may not be able to earn continuing or professional education credits for completing the workshop.

Whenever possible, evaluate feedback from previous attendees. Many companies provide references or testimonials for your review. You may also be able to find independent reviews of a certain strategic planning workshop online.

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