If there is one major, critical, key lesson that I have learnt from many, many years of facilitating strategy discussions with executives, it is this:
Always, always, always make sure that you have everybody in the room.
There is no more of a guarantee, that all of your hard work in progressing a strategy discussion will be completely undone, than if somebody of influence is either late or can't attend a strategy meeting.
Because 9 times out of 10 - when that person, who wasn't involved in a discussion, is then brought back into the mix, and up to speed with what was decided while they were away - they will almost certainly have a problem with the choices made in their absence and will more than likely derail everything.
You'll have to start all over again - or use your own magical powers of influence and charm to convince them that the choices were sound.
Either way - for the rest of the strategy work that still needs to come, mentally you will have lost that person and further on you have lost the opportunity to get critical buy-in to the work.
So unless you have absolutely everybody in the room (all paying attention) - rather postpone the discussion. Don't even bother going on without them, because you are sure to mess up the progress that you have made to that point.
So then, I propose this to be officially inducted into my own set of laws when it comes to good strategy work:
Cherry's law of strategy #1: 'Always, always make sure that you have everyone in the room.'
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