copied from the emaillist, early '16:
I am going to host a 2 day retreat of 4 CEOs (all guys) of 2 companies (1
is holding, 1 is subsidiary company). They basically had the question:
³What strategy are we going to adopt?²
I said that we cannot answer this question in the two days, so we agreed
on the following: The goals are to align the CEOs on how they will
proceed in finding a (new?) strategy for the subsidiary company: How will
the company be organised? What kind of products should they strengthen?
Where do they see innovation potential? Also, there are some personal
issues between the guys that they would like to bring to the table.
I have hosted such retreats before, but 4 (alpha) men whom I don¹t know
is new to me :) Also, I feel that I cannot prepare so much and that there
is more need for opening and holding space for them to (re)learn how to
talk to each other. And this is what makes my 'Monkish Me' nervous.
I designed a framework with different options on how the retreat could
go, which is okay for me at the moment.
But I would really appreciate any kind of feedback, suggestions,
questions to ask or experience with that to give me more security in
stepping into this circle.
Thanks a lot and have a wonderful day,
That sounds scary, not the cause and the purpose, but the way to proceed.
As preparation is all, I would INSIST to have a one-to one interview, can
be a phone call, with each of them, beforehand. That will create the trust
between you and each of them individually and show you what they really
want and what their needs are.
Once trust is there, the skeleton strategy could even emerge in the time,
two days is a lot. The strategy could then be filled and aligned by the
rest of the company or middle management for ownership and accuracy.
That¹s what I would do.
And for the formats: of course circle probably the most part, but also
dyads and solo time. You will have to sense what the group needs.
And a question: Why did they book/invite you? What do you have you can
offer they need? Once that is clear, the rest is clearer.
And: do you have someone else who can hold this with you?
Wishing you success and self confidence!
Thank you for your quick and really helpful response. I had an extensive prep call with all of them and also will meet two of the guys in advance. So that is fine I guess. Also I know they booked me because they are fed up with "classical consultants" and feel they cannot proceed in the "usual way". So they are open for stuff.
The only thing I am concerned about is that none of my company peers will be there -
So, yes I will have to hold space on my own and I think that this is what scares me... And may be part of the reason I posted this mail to get virtual support upfront to get enough strength to do it...
I think it would be very interesting to challenge them about their dreams and their leadership before opening up to the strategy. The strategy is the HOW of something, but what’s the WHO and WHY?
By the time they reach the top, so many leaders are isolated and feel themselves very alone. They think about what they have to do, but not who they need to be in order to work in the organisations that would also give them life and energy. Here are some questions that come to mind:
And from there
It would be so fun to host a Flow Game for this circle!
And if it were me, I’d be inviting someone like Phil Cass to come in by Skype and have a very intimate conversations about the struggles of senior leadership and how he saw that he needed to work in a different way. This kind of plain speak from someone who has been there is very important, and gives you more support in your backbone too.
Maybe you also need an eagle team?
I agree with much of what others have shared so far.