Make Outcomes Visible

By Charlotte Hochman. Photo: Michele Caleffi Reading Time: 3 minutes

Make Outcomes Visible‘ is the last of the four parts of ‘Lead On‘, a series addressing how to involve others in the strategic planning process.

Success in involving many people in a strategic planning process relies on holding many sessions with many people.


Essential to the process is to make the outcomes of the dialogues visible to all. There is nothing worse for participants than feeling like they’ve wasted their time. The answer does not lie in “marketing” efforts. It lies in authentic and direct communication of what has come out, and a digestion of the results by leadership. The way results will be communicated need to be set in advance by the team driving this process, through ground rules defining clear roles and responsibilities.

Direct communication can take the form of regular updates sent out by leadership to reflect what has happened, or “roadshows” – physical events in different locations if relevant- where leadership summarizes orally what has come up and ways in which it will be integrated in the new strategy. Again, make sure it is the person who is most clearly associated with decision-making, the executive head of the organization, that personally communicates, though writing or speaking. Otherwise trust in the process and in the organization will be endangered.

People should feel ownership and pride towards the result. They have been courageous in speaking their mind, in entering new spaces built for this process, and in speaking from their own point of view rather than hiding behind roles or other people’s voices. The result belongs to them, and they need to see it to know it’s true.

A strategy built with as many voices as possible will always be stronger than one that is born in a boardroom. It will reflect the questions, needs and desires of the people it is there to serve. And any organization can learn to do use this power to build its future in a way that is relevant to more people.

Success in involving many people in a strategic planning process relies on holding many sessions with many people and sharing the outcomes with everyone.

Charlotte Hochman is the Executive Director of Wow!Labs, accelerating innovation for companies, cities and universities in emergent situations. She has founded incubators and designed curriculums for leading institutions. Charlotte is a Fulbright scholar, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD, Designer-in-Residence at CCA in San Francisco, a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader, and a panelist at Obama’s Presidential Summit. Discover her work and access her guide "People spaces: How to create, convene and take part meaningfully in new spaces online”.

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