Create Your Own
“Unfair Advantage”

Every year, countless organizations conduct STRATEGIC PLANNING. And every year,
70% of their plans fail.

But think of the COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE if you’re one of the 30% of companies that GET RESULTS!

strategic planning | growth planning | visioning

Strategic Planning, Growth Planning, Long-Range Planning, Visioning … whatever you call it, your organization needs to know where it’s headed and how it’s going to get there. And everyone needs to be on the same page, to be aligned, especially members of your senior leadership team. You need to CREATE FOCUS!

How FOCUSED is your team?

Is your leadership team as focused as it needs to be? Is your organization clear on what success looks like? Take this simple diagnostic quiz:

Diagnostic Quiz

Answer Yes or No

  1. Do members of your leadership team know, agree on, and are they passionate about the reason that your organization exists?
  2. Has your leadership team clarified and embraced a small, specific set of behavioral values?
  3. Are your leaders clear and aligned around a strategy that helps define success and differentiate from competitors?
  4. Does your leadership team have a clear, current goal around which they rally? Do they feel a collective sense of ownership for that goal?
  5. Do members of your leadership team understand one another’s roles and responsibilities? Are they are comfortable asking questions about one another’s work?
  6. Are the elements of your organization’s strategies and action plans concisely summarized and regularly referenced and reviewed by the leadership team?

If you answered YES to all these questions, congratulations! You are among a very select group of organizations that have mastered strategic planning (or whatever you call it in your organization). Well done!

If you answered No to any of these questions, your organization could benefit from a refresher to revitalize focus and make sure resources are consistently being applied to the most important activities.

If you answered NO to several of these questions, lack of focus and internal misalignment are major risks to your future success. You and your organization could greatly benefit from a concerted new effort to create focus at the leadership team level.

How to create FOCUS

Creating focus starts by developing answers to important questions like:

  • Why do we exist?

  • How do we behave?

  • What do we do best?

  • How will we succeed?

  • What’s most important, right now?

  • Who must do what by when?

If you and your team can rally around clear answers to these types of fundamental questions, you will CREATE FOCUS that will dramatically increase the likelihood of achieving breakthrough results.

Think about it. What would it be like if everyone from your senior leaders on down were rowing in the same direction…at the same pace…toward the same goal? Imagine the power!


We can help!


Cynthia Waisner, M.B.A., Ph.D.

Managing Partner

We’ve been designing and facilitating successful strategic planning off-site events for more than fifteen years. Our clients range from global brands such as Bayer, BDO, and Gucci to entrepreneurial startups to successful mid-tier enterprises to national associations like the School Nutrition Association and International Housewares Association.  The organizations we work with are very different…but the challenges they face and their need to create focus and alignment are common ground.

SCHEDULE exploratory call WITH CYNTHIA SCHEDULE exploratory call WITH GLEN

Glen Waisner, M.B.A

Managing Partner

Work ON Your Business, Not IN It

What should you expect from a planning retreat?

If you’re thinking about strategic planning, then you probably feel that you and your business can do better. You have ASPIRATIONS – they may be relatively modest, or they may be “Big Hairy and Audacious.” In either case, we can design and facilitate a session for you that launches you and your organization toward your new, brighter future by…

Creating Organizational Clarity

When we ask meeting invitees before their session what they most want to achieve, 90% of the time they tell us they want CLARITY. Where are we headed? How will we be successful in the future? Who will do what by when – and how will we hold each other accountable? What if things change (and they always change)?

Reinforcing Collaboration and Accountability

One of the greatest benefits of a well-run retreat is the opportunity for you and your colleagues to work ON the business not IN it – and to do so together, as a TEAM. True teams focus on the business, as a whole, and not just their own functions. They realize that strategic planning is all about the BIG PICTURE.

Producing an Action Plan That Drives Results

The point of having a strategic planning session is to articulate a desired future state (e.g., more revenue, more customers, higher returns, liquidity event, etc.) and for you and your team to agree on an action plan (e.g., a growth road-map) that will move the business toward that new horizon. Poor action planning leads to weak execution and weak results. Remember the cautionary tale about 70% of strategic plans that don’t get implemented? We help our clients join the successful 30%!

An Investment, Not An Expense

Chief Executive Magazine recently noted that “Few initiatives in the business world can consistently generate enough ROI to compete with what a well-planned and well-executed executive retreat can do for you and your team.”

We couldn’t agree more!

Our clients include:


Frank Kenna
CEO, The Marlin Company

Glen has a solid methodology that creates a framework for planning. He then facilitates without “getting in the way,” allowing the team to focus on the actual planning, not the structure.

My favorite part of our strategic planning session was getting ideas and feedback from all group members, not just the usually-vocal ones.


Stuart Powell
President, Cookshack, Inc.

Examples of what clients have acheived during their retreats

  • Identified step-change aspirations for the future and developed a 3-year growth plan to rapidly move their business toward that exciting new future.
  • Mapped current and future growth opportunities by product category and market. Identified high potential opportunities for future investment. Identified low-potential categories to “harvest” and/or exit.
  • Explored and evaluated dozens of existing and planned initiatives and projects. Refocused organization on five “big rock” ideas. Developed an action plan that identified milestones, timelines, and project leaders.
  • Surfaced the root causes of senior team disagreements and dysfunction. Developed team behavioral norms and communication processes to minimize future collaboration challenges.
  • After exploring industry and economic mega-trends, the leadership team realized that their business model was outdated and subject to disruption. So they agreed to pursue an entirely new business model.
  • After identifying a lack of innovation as a major risk, workshop attendees surfaced dozens of potentially lucrative new product and service ideas to be tested and evaluated long-term.
  • Identified several market niches that could be exploited in the near-term and several others that could, with minor investment and structural changes, be penetrated in the mid-term.
  • After an in-depth exploration of what’s been working and what hasn’t, the senior team identified the need to quickly accelerate online sales while expanding domestic warehousing and distribution capacity.

What do strategic planning projects include?

We work closely with project sponsors to articulate detailed project expectations and deliverables that are unique to each engagement. But our strategic planning projects always have three phases:

Prior to the Event

This is often the most important phase of a planning project. Well before the event itself, we spend as much time as necessary with project sponsors to understand their expectations and goals. We review prior strategic plans (if any) and other pertinent material. We may distribute pre-work, surveys, online assessments, or thought-starter questions. And we typically talk with all planned attendees in advance to understand their perspectives and aspirations regarding the upcoming session. 

During the Event

This is when the magic happens! With a clear understanding of the desired work products to be generated during the session always in mind, we guide participants on a journey of exploration, discussion, debate, prioritization, and action planning. We facilitate you and your team answering the questions necessary to create focus and alignment. And we ensure that participants create a consensus action plan — who must do what by when — so that everyone is committed to executing your new plan.

After the Event

Within a few days of the completion of your planning event, we provide written documentation of the session’s outputs, strategic imperatives, action plans, etc. This document reminds participants of the work they did together and the commitments they’ve made to each other and your organization. 

We also connect with you by phone or video conference to debrief your session, discuss execution, and provide suggestions for on-going success.

SPECIAL NOTE: Many of our planning clients request post-retreat support to help them execute their chosen strategies (i.e., to avoid being one of the 70%!). We’re happy to provide follow-up support as a separate project.

What do strategic planning projects cost?

Our professional fees are always based upon the project, so that you can call upon us at any time without concern that the “meter is running.”  Our work is also guaranteed, and we will commit as much time as necessary to fulfill the outlined objectives and meet the agreed-to time frames.

Our typical professional fee for a custom-designed 1½- or 2-day session (which we’ve found is the ideal length for a leadership team planning retreat), including the types of activities outlined above, is typically between $6,900 and $9,900.

It’s easy to see why the return of investment of our planning retreats is so high!

The Strategic Planning Cycle

When working with strategic planning clients, we often use our “Shaping and Executing Strategy Model” to help guide the project.

Sometimes the challenge is to define or rethink an organization’s fundamental building blocks like Mission, Vision, Business Model, Value Proposition or Strategic Pillars. We label this part of the strategic planning process “Destination Setting.”

Many clients, on the other hand, are comfortable with their strategic “building blocks” but need help developing consensus mid-term Goals, and the Strategies that will help them accomplish those goals. We label this part of the strategic planning process “Flight Planning” — you set goals and develop plans to accomplish those goals.

Once an organization’s mid-term Goals are set, Tailwinds and Headwinds identified, and general Strategies agreed to, the next step is to establish annual Objectives and detailed Action Plans to accomplish those objectives. This is the “Navigating” phase of the process when adjustments and course corrections will undoubtedly need to be made.

Executing your strategies is the key to success. Remember, 70% of strategic plans don’t get implemented. So, think of the competitive advantage you’ll create if you actually DO SOMETHING with your strategies!

shaping strategy

Copyright Catalyst Consulting Partners LLC

We’re comfortable and experienced working across all aspects of this planning and execution cycle. We don’t force-fit a “canned” solution; we help you focus on just those elements of the strategic planning process that will create the most value for you, your team, and your organization.

Give us a call!  We’d love to talk with you about working together to create focus and breakthrough results.