To keep energy high and participants engaged in your next team strategy session try breaking into sub-teams and make the team strategy day competitive.

We’ve all been to strategy days where the energy dies.  Sure, at the start everyone is full of excitement, pumped and ready to create a grand plan to take things to the next level!

But soon resistance and disagreement from the usual suspects is allowed to creep in and take over. The energy in the room wanes…and now you’re more focused on wondering what’s for morning tea.

For strategy days to be productive and get great results, the energy and enthusiasm in the room needs to be kept up.  The energy needs to be managed.

One of the best ways to prevent your strategy day from going stale is by creating competitive teams.

Break your team into sub-groups

Break your team into sub-groups and have them compete again each other for the prize of best strategy ideas.

Create two or more sub-groups of not less that 3 and not more than 7 people (depending on the number of people attending the workshop). The fewer number of teams the quicker it is to run through the exercises.

In this competitive team process sub-groups undertake the same strategy games or exercises simultaneously.  At the end of each strategy exercise each sub-group presents and discusses their ideas with the whole team, allowing for feedback.

Creating a spirit of competition not only delivers sustained energy, it also encourages participants to dig deep and really think about the best ideas.

Choose your sub-groups wisely

Choose your sub-group members wisely.  You need to pick teams that will give you the best ideas. This doesn’t mean getting everyone who agrees on the same team.  On the contrary you want to have teams that generate and discuss ideas, and that challenge each other’s thinking – this is where the real gold comes from.

You can build your teams a few ways – here are some that have worked well for me:

Old Guard vs New Guns – Pit the more senior and/or experienced members of the management team against a team of more recent recruits, or

New + Old –  Create sub-groups containing an equal mix of long-termers and newer staff.

These alternatives both allow for exploration of traditional and ‘business as usual’ strategic ideas vs new strategic initiatives from new members to the team.

Team Eclectic Roles – Splitting your team into sub-teams of people that don’t often work together can prove valuable. They’re not as influenced by their usual working relationship and may bring totally different and fresh points of view of the business due to their different roles. It’s also energising to engage with someone new or that you don’t get to work with much.


For each sub-group to work at an optimal level, you need to make sure each group stays positive and engaged. Making sure no one voice takes over and everyone has a chance to be heard is a key to managing the energy in the room.

This might mean splitting the group based on their personalities, role or longevity in the business.

While it’s hard to get it completely wrong, getting the right balance in each sub-group is a mix of art and science.

free team day strategy infographic