Say to yourself what you would be. And then do what you have to do.

- Epictetus

 

Unabashedly our favorite type of work. Our strategy process is deeply rooted in six sigma principles and an entrepreneurial operating spirit. 

It's been implemented many times across diverse industries: from top multinational aerospace corporations to higher education.

We are glad to host these offsites at our headquarters in Buffalo, or wherever is closer to home for your team.

Connecting the longest-term thinking to the immediacy of this quarter's action plan.

This is foundational work which establishes what we refer to as "lockstep" within your executive team. It begins with long term goals. But quickly moves to clarity of a roadmap, and concludes with actionable, immediate objectives. Because it is our experience that most strategic planning fails in its first steps on that road. Your strategic plan will not. Instead it will be sturdy enough in practice to soon be transparently cascaded through your organization.

Imagine that in just two and a half days, your executive team is suddenly on the same page about who is accountable for what, and why.

It is an honor to be trusted with the strategic planning of another person's business.

Guiding decision-making that will influence the trajectory of a company's results, and its executive team's careers, should not be taken lightly. 

We've been through many strategy sessions with other practitioners. Too often they've left us frustrated and bored. Even when we've left jazzed up about the goals we've set - by Monday morning it's often worn off and the team is once again drifting apart.

That's why we're rigorous in the facilitated structure of our strategic planning sessions, highly aware of where this type of work falls short for leadership teams, and thrilled to include enough relaxation to take the edge off of taxing mental work.

Why other strategists fail to deliver.

 

Imagine trusting someone with the future of your company when they haven't walked a mile in your shoes. Does the confidence they speak with spring from having lived this work? Or from ignorance of how it actually goes? 

If that sounds like it's a little personal for us, it is. We like our experts to be real experts.

(A business school professor of Dustin's failed him on a business plan assignment - the same exact plan that Dustin used months later to open a business sold for 300X his initial investment)

Expect strategy work from Wayforward to come from multilayered experience across not only the market and sales, but operations, organizational, and human behavior expertise. Expertise that knows what it's like to make decisions on which hundreds of millions of dollars, and thousands of households depend.

 

Many strategy consultants like to base much of their work with clients in market data.

Not that there's anything wrong with that - but we believe a client's executive team is more than prepared for a strategy session with enough knowledge of their market and where it's headed to set their strategy.

We also find that spending any significant portion of what is already precious time within our two and a half days together by pouring through spreadsheets is a distraction from the real work.

And, well, we might also think that anyone who wants you looking at spreadsheets instead of having productive dialogue might be trying to distract you from the fact that they can't produce a strong deliverable.

Lastly, when you're working with market data and other intellectually clever but complex topics - you'll quickly find yourself working on something that is too complicated to get your entire team behind, to communicate to your organization, or for your front-line employees to understand, internalize, and - most importantly - repeat.

 

Spending all of your strategic planning time being excruciating about future market trends leaves precious little time for where strategies usually fail - implementation.

It is all too common for a leadership team to leave an offsite with a lot of enthusiasm - but not much to show for a plan, and diverging understandings of what was discussed.

It is critical to the initial launch and long-term survival of a strategy for the team who creates it to be in lockstep on what that strategy is. For them to have clarity not only on the long-term goals, but the roadmap between their current state and that future state as well. We find in our strategy work with clients that the long-term goals are the easy part.

Where most executive teams are most closely aligned on long-term goals, the closer you get to today - to the current state of the organization and its immediate priorities - the most critical part of the roadmap - the less alignment in understanding and opinion there seems to be.

We ensure that the immediate priority work gets done as well, to set things on track toward the business's desired future state.

What our clients think

This was the first time that we really have a clear idea across the organization about the hot topic issues we are all having. This was a good experience, and now I’m able to think differently about the way things work for my people. This was a completely different way to think about these things than we usually do in our normal jobs.

I’ve participated in a lot of different types of HR workshops. This was by far the most valuable and engaging thing I’ve ever been involved in. I have a pile of things I plan to act on immediately.

Wayforward took the time to listen and learn about our needs and challenges at this major juncture for our new division. We worked through big questions and roadblocks to our strategic plan, and found a path through their focused process. The clarity we found for our business growth was invaluable.

WF brings a refreshing and contemporary approach to today’s unprecedented organizational challenges. If you’re serious about growing and retaining your talent, you need WF on your side!

Wayforward did a great job facilitating our executive team's strategic planning offsite. They were very prepared, they were engaging and they generated a lot of participation. This drove high levels of engagement and only helped to further strengthen our team dynamics and relationships. Which was really powerful given that people were coming in from all over the world and did not know each other well when they arrived.

It was eye-opening to learn how so many employees feel and why they have those frustrations. These experiences are much more complex than I imagined, especially when developing a plan for the whole organization. The process used was interesting and completed with efficiency.

The assessment was an interesting process. It was the most interesting consulting experience I’ve ever been through. I’ve been through a lot of engagement surveys, and this was the first time I felt completely engaged in what we were doing.

They provide an "agenda free" approach to helping you understand how to overcome an internal challenge.

I would recommend WF highly. WF spent the time needed to understand our business so they could ask the right questions.

We found our project to be valuable, and hope to benefit from the insights for years in the future (while never adding that expertise through headcount).

It was so interesting how problems are scattered across the organization but are so similar in different areas. I think it went really well, and they made us think about our organization differently.

I think they did a very nice job facilitating our offsites. They built relationships along the way and took the time to listen and really understand our company. By the end of the first day it felt like Wayforward was part of the team.

We experienced strong collaboration in the planning of the engagement, and a willingness to take feedback and adjust. Facilitation of the work they did with our employees was smooth and fit in easily with our culture. It felt like Dustin was part of team. The deliverables were even stronger than expected and have proven extremely helpful.

Working with Wayforward gave me (and the rest of the executive team) the insight I needed to properly prioritize what the organization needs from me, now and in the future. 

If you're thinking about working with Wayforward for whatever employee issue you're dealing with, I highly recommend that you do it! But, first check your ego or you will miss the opportunity to achieve something great.

We were able to get clear on our company's needs and chart a path. I am looking forward to support for the execution.

Wayforward helped identify strong succession planning and a map of how to develop the potential successors. Also, the employee experience assessment helped identify our need for a clear approach to teaching our culture to new employees so we can keep growing.

Wayforward provided a good set of independent and experienced eyes to assess the situation with our employee engagement. Because of this assessment, we have made good progress on addressing the real root causes behind systemic issues related to information sharing and siloing.

The assessment from Wayforward became insight on employee experience that focused us on the right topics for corporate growth. But their method of in-person connection - showing us how to listen and connect the dots - completely changed our approach.

If your company doesn't know clearly what their goal is, make the investment!

I would recommend the work done at Wayforward with Dustin for change management process and work on your corporate culture.

Wayforward's accuracy in documentation from the assessment. It was spot on. I don't know how we didn't see it that way before.

What distinguishes our strategic planning from the time you've wasted at offsites in the past?

At Wayforward, EEX is conducted by an experienced executive with a proven track record in finding the root cause of employee engagement friction and implementing positive changes. Our process is self-sufficient within your organization, avoiding any additional burden on your leadership or HR teams.

  • 2.5 days offsite - whether that's with us in Buffalo, NY or closer to you. But never at your own facility.

  • Strongly facilitated work that will keep your executive team on-track.

  • A no-nonsense agenda. You will not be bored or wondering why you're not working on something else.

  • Leaving with a committed team that fully understands what each member is accountable for on Monday morning.

  • The feeling that you got more done as a team in the past two days than you have at all of your meetings this year.

  • Simplicity in strategy that can be communicated to any employee in your organization.

  • Enough laughs to make your face hurt!

If you'd like to learn more about our strategic planning offsites, schedule a quick, no-nonsense exploratory call with our Chief Advisor to help determine if you're the right fit for Wayforward.