5 Reasons our Leadership Planning Session Rocked

officemscottThe exec team I’m privileged to work with had its strategic planning session over the past few days. Aside from fighting a stupid migraine both days, I thought it was a cool experience. Sean McDonald facilitated for us, and he did great.

Why am I mentioning this session? I mean, unless you’re a Mazuman, why would you care? There were some things that I really appreciated at this session. They were the sort of things you’d want to see from a team of humans working together toward some pretty ambitious goals.

1. Culture was a huge part of the conversation.

And not just one conversation. It came up over and over and over again, and it wasn’t confined to conversations where culture was the main topic. It was awesome to see a group of people pressing a lot of other decisions — operations, etc — through the filter of the culture our organization is working slowly but surely to build.

2. Togetherness

There’s something about going away from the office for a session like this. As our CEO mentioned while we were there, it’s important for teams to know each other, not just as fellow execs, but as humans.

130207170822-the-office-nbc-story-top3. We were able to just “be.”

How often can you let your guard down a bit and just “be” as you’re together with others sharing your passion. Hearing my teammates’ different thoughts and ideas was inspiring. Even when my migraine had me holding onto my chair in an effort to make the room stop spinning, it was clear that people were opening up, being vulnerable, having honest (and potentially uncomfortable) conversations, and so on. It’s moments like those — even the smallest moments — that can be amazing.

4. People disagreed.

And it was OK. This wasn’t a “nod and smile” meeting where every sat around the table with Stepford-esque smiles plastered on their faces. Nope, there was open discussion and even debate of strategies and vision. That kind of thing is essential to a team’s success.

5. My teammates are wicked smart.

Like Good-Will-Hunting smart. I already knew this, but it’s always cool to see it in action. It wasn’t that they were smart because they agreed with my position on things; they were just ridiculously smart and creative and determined to make our organization all that it could be.

Why should you care? Seeing things like what I described above is such an encouragement because it another reminder of how teams can be if they decide to work hard, be vulnerable, care about culture, and be always looking and pushing forward.


  1. Matt…it was a great pleasure working with your team. Hope you are feeling better

  2. Mark Arnold says:


    These are great insights about a rocking planning session. Although not mentioned above, I would suggest that another reason why your session went so well is that you used an outside facilitator for the process. It is amazing how having someone from the outside changes the dynamics for the better. We all need that outside voice. Plus, having a facilitator allows everyone on your team to participate as equals. Congrats again on an outstanding session.


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