THE PIT STOP PROGRAM®
You have the pedal to the metal. Competing. Winning.
But every executive team needs a pit stop occasionally to refuel and recharge.
Companies have offsite meetings to focus on strategic issues. The goal is to generate new thinking, but they often fall short. The company ends up off-course, off-track, and often a bit demoralized.
The Pit Stop Program is a 90-day engagement that culminates in a strategic offsite meeting. It is intensely focused on One Issue: helping your company create a Differentiating Competitive Advantage.
SHIFTPOINTS runs Pit Stop Meetings for all kinds of companies, from construction companies to churches. Fortune 500s to startups.
To schedule your Pit Stop Program, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
the pit stop program - components and timeline
Anyone can book a conference room for a standard offsite meeting.
But delivering a trajectory-altering experience requires a comprehensive approach.
The SHIFTPOINTS model for our Pit Stop Programs is summarized in the following graphic:
The Pit Stop Program starts with your current reality.
Are you winning the race?
Some of the key questions we will ask include:
- Are you achieving your goals?
- How is your industry changing?
- What new challenges are your customers facing?
- What are competitors doing to disrupt the industry?
This understanding provides a foundation for everything we do in The Pit Stop Program.
SHIFTPOINTS is passionate about using your Pit Stop Meeting to sharpen your competitive advantage.
We build a shared understanding by asking everyone to read the same thing.
Dave Ramos, the founder and CEO of SHIFTPOINTS, has written several books. (You can learn more about Dave's books here.) Sometimes, our clients start with reading one of those.
However, there are many other great books or articles that can provide a common baseline for the Pit Stop Meeting. Based on our understanding of your company’s unique competitive environment, your unique culture, and your unique goals, the SHIFTPOINTS Strategy Coach will recommend the right material.
SHIFTPOINTS performs extensive company analytics and due diligence before every Pit Stop Meeting.
Our goal is to know your business. Cold.
This is one of the critical points of differentiation for SHIFTPOINTS. Most facilitators will just skim through your website. In contrast, our Strategy Coaches prepare for the engagement like strategy consultants and investment bankers.
This starts with document collection. We ask our clients to provide forty documents, from mission statements to financial statements. These documents are exchanged via a Box.com, the enterprise-grade file sharing service.
The SHIFTPOINTS Strategy Coach will study all of these documents before the Pit Stop Meeting. This allows them to provide both expert facilitation and strategic direction.
SHIFTPOINTS interviews every participant before the Pit Stop Meeting.
Our goal is to know your team well enough to understand their complex interpersonal dynamics.
This is another critical point of differentiation for SHIFTPOINTS. Most facilitators will simply chat with a few executives before the meeting. In contrast, our Strategy Coaches will literally interview every participant. We use a structured process to gain strategic insights about your company and your unique situation. We also ask questions that uncover your team’s unique relational and interpersonal dynamics.
There are several important reasons for this.
First, interviewing every participant ensures that everyone feels included and valued. When only a subset of participants are interviewed, some may feel left out or slighted.
In addition, interviewing every participant gives us the broadest possible perspective on your company’s unique challenges. Every executive provides unique insights based on their unique role and history.
Finally, interviewing everyone is key to building rapport and trust. This way, the SHIFTPOINTS Strategy Coach knows everyone—and everyone knows them—before the meeting.
THE ACCELERATION INDEX™
The SHIFTPOINTS Acceleration IndexTM is a proprietary survey designed to assess strategic alignment.
It is an optional component of The Pit Stop Program.
The Acceleration Index is comprised of twenty questions, which are aligned with the SHIFTPOINTS Drive One Direction® model. Examples of our standard questions include:
- We have identified the One Thing that will serve as our "Defining Differentiation."
- Our senior executives function as One Team. They inspire trust, confidence and commitment.
- Our dashboard tracks a mix of financial and non-financial metrics. Everyone knows which number is the most important one.
In most cases, clients will only survey executives who will be participating in The Pit Stop Program. However, clients can include other key stakeholders at their discretion. (This can help “crowdsource” the agenda.)
First, SHIFTPOINTS analyzes the results by looking at the average score for each question. This provides insight into the best and worst performing areas of the organization.
In addition, we look for dispersion among the responses. As a result, we are able to identify areas where the executives disagree about a particular dimension of performance.
For example, we have worked with clients where the CEO “strongly agreed” that the organization’s vision was crystal-clear, but the executives reporting to him did not share that opinion.
The Acceleration Index provides additional insights that can dramatically improve your company's Pit Stop Meeting. It is an option worth considering.
Custom SHIFTPOINTS CONTENT
SHIFTPOINTS has developed a large portfolio of unique and thought-provoking content.
This allows us to operate as a strategic catalyst.
Most facilitators simply act as timekeepers and scribes.
In contrast, SHIFTPOINTS began as a strategy consulting firm. Therefore, we developed deep expertise in developing corporate strategies and accelerating corporate transformations.
We leveraged that expertise to create unique content that is aligned with our Drive One Direction methodology.
All of our content is modularized (we think of them like LEGO® blocks). This makes it easy to customize The Pit Stop Program to each client’s unique situation.
Each module has:
- Power Points – the slides used to guide the Pit Stop discussion
- Speed Readings – One Page summaries of our key ideas
- Check Points – questions to evaluate performance versus best practices
- External Validation – articles from sources such as Harvard Business Review or the McKinsey Quarterly
These modules are designed to stimulate discussion and breakthrough thinking. They also enable the SHIFTPOINTS Strategy Coaches to operate as catalysts who ask the tough questions, not just facilitators who play silly games.
Our ultimate objective is to create strategic alignment. One Vision. One Strategy. One Team. One Direction.
THE PIT STOP MEETING – VENUE SELECTION
Selecting the right venue for your Pit Stop Meeting is essential.
Sometimes, meeting in a board room can result in a very bored room.
SHIFTPOINTS works with your team to find the right venue. Some of the most common ones include:
- Resorts and Country Clubs
- Bed and Breakfast Hotels (which can create more relaxed environment than a large hotel)
- Sports-Oriented Venues
- Outdoor-Oriented Venues
- Cultural Venues (Museums, Theaters, etc.)
- Retreat Centers
- Car-Related Venues including Go-Kart Tracks
Normally, the client takes care of the booking and contract negotiations. Optionally, a SHIFTPOINTS Certified Meeting Planner can handle everything on your behalf.
In addition, your SHIFTPOINTS Strategy Coach will optimize the many other environmental factors to create the ideal experience for your company.
THE PIT STOP MEETING – MEETING DESIGN
The Pit Stop is not just a long version of the management meeting in a different location.
Our goal is to develop big, breakthrough, game-changing ideas.
Designing a meeting to accomplish this requires a unique approach.
Most facilitators use a generic model known as the ABCs. This stands for:
- Affective – how do you want attendees to feel?
- Behavior – how do you want attendees to behave?
- Cognitive – what do you want attendees to know?
SHIFTPOINTS goes beyond the standard model to consider three additional factors:
- Discussions – what are the critical conversations that must happen?
- Decisions – what are the critical decisions that must be made?
- Deliverables – what are the critical deliverables that must be produced?
We call this model ABCD3 and we use it to design every Pit Stop Meeting. It is another way that SHIFTPOINTS differentiates itself from every other facilitator.
THE PIT STOP MEETING – AGENDA DEVELOPMENT
The vast majority of offsite meetings fail to achieve their objectives.
Agendas are overstuffed, discussions get derailed, and the team never crosses the finish line.
Therefore, SHIFTPOINTS recommends an agenda that is tightly focused on the most critical items. Based on our understanding of your goals, your unique situation, the results from The Acceleration Index, and more, we design an agenda for your meeting.
One option is to focus the entire meeting on One Issue. Sometimes, it is better to go deep on One Issue than skim the surface on dozens of them.
In most cases, however, there will be several issues on the agenda. SHIFTPOINTS works to design the flow of the meeting so the multiple agenda items are sequenced in a logical way.
In addition, we use a broad range of meeting modalities to keep everyone engaged. Some of the modalities include:
- PowerPoint-led Discussions
- Breakout Team Challenges
- Appreciative Strengths Cards
- Post-it-Note Clouds
- Videos, such as TED Talks
- Experiential Challenges (Marshmallow Challenge, Build-a-Bridge)
- And more
SHIFTPOINTS will develop the right agenda and leverage the right modalities to create a Pit Stop Meeting that is both productive and fun.
THE PIT STOP MEETING – EXPERT FACILITATION
Every participant comes into the meeting with biases, assumptions, agendas, opinions, etc.
That is why we require every SHIFTPOINTS Strategy Coach to be a certified meeting facilitator.
Facilitating meetings is actually quite difficult. It requires a broad range of skills and abilities.
Great facilitators monitor the status of each person in the room at all times. For example:
- Some people will put their cards on the table, others will hold them close to their vest
- Some people are naturally reserved and must be encouraged to participate
- Some feel the need to reassert their credentials or status
- Some are frustrated
- Some are passive-aggressive
- Some have disengaged
- Some are confused
- Some are multitasking
- Some can’t wait until it is all over
Reading the room requires intense listening, deep empathy, and high emotional intelligence. The facilitator must accurately gauge everyone's engagement level, dynamically guide the meeting, carefully resolve conflict, and know when to call timeout. All at the same time.
Part of the facilitator’s job is to manage the intensity level of the meeting. They must keep it high enough to create real debate about the issues and low enough to ensure that a fight does not break out.
SHIFTPOINTS Strategy Coaches have the skills, training, and professional certification required to successfully facilitate your Pit Stop Meeting.
THE PIT STOP MEETING – OUTPUTS
Most offsite meetings develop a long list of ideas that are never implemented.
In contrast, our model is to create ownership and accountability with a 90-day SPRINT plan.
During the Pit Stop Meeting, the SHIFTPOINTS Strategy Coach documents action items. Before the end of the meeting, we prioritize them into 90-day SPRINTS. Each SPRINT initiative is assigned an owner and there is a clear deliverable that must be met.
The 90-day SPRINT model is an extremely effective way to drive organizational performance and alignment. The participants know that the group will reconvene in 90-days to evaluate results. SPRINT initiatives are then color-coded—red, yellow, or green—to indicate whether they have been completed.
Many of our clients have used their first Pit Stop as a catalyst for amazing transformations. However, SHIFTPOINTS recommends that companies conduct strategic offsite meetings every 90-days. (See The Top Gear Program to learn more about our ongoing Strategy Coaching service.)
Our best clients have quadrupled in size. Some have doubled. Many have won Best Place to Work awards. One is in the Inc. 5000 Hall of Fame.
THE PIT STOP MEETING – THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Every meeting ends.
The Pit Stop Meeting ends with a unique experience called The Winners Circle.
We gather all of the participants in a circle to join hands and sing Kum-Bay-Ah. (Just kidding!)
We do gather everyone in a circle, but you’ll have to attend a Pit Stop to learn what we actually do.
THE PIT STOP MEETING – FINAL CLOSEOUT
After your Pit Stop, your team will get “back in the race.”
Refueled. Recharged. Ready to win.
But SHIFTPOINTS conducts two additional closeout activities to ensure the Pit Stop Program delivered the expected results.
First, we use a meeting evaluation survey to gather feedback from the participants. This provides quantitative feedback on what went well and what needed improvement.
Second, we conduct an in-depth debrief, either with the senior leader or with all of the participants. This provides a structured way to discuss the feedback we received and evaluate next steps.
Finally, all SHIFTPOINTS Programs are offered with a unique, satisfaction-based pricing model. We look forward to discussing it with you.
WE'VE RECEIVED GREAT FEEDBACK ABOUT THE PIT STOP PROGRAM:
“Thank you for leading our group through a very productive exercise. Your energy and direction was much appreciated and the team is off to the races.”
"I though the session was great and really helped us to get focused. I can tell you we are living the 90 day sprint right now! "
"You did an excellent job facilitating; what the team didn’t see (but felt the benefits of) was your significant work in preparing for our time together."
"I appreciate your dedication to helping us through a challenging conversation. We are on a great path thanks to your help."
THE PIT STOP PROGRAM®
The Pit Stop Program is a proven solution
We deliver trajectory-altering experiences.
Every Pit Stop is custom designed.
Your meeting will accomplish your unique objectives.
SHIFTPOINTS Strategy Coaches
We have the credibility and expertise to deliver results.
The SHIFTPOINTS Acceleration Index™
We quickly capture organizational insights.
The One Team Mindset
We engage the entire executive team.
The Drive One Direction® Methodology
We unleash the accelerating power of alignment.
Custom SHIFTPOINTS Content
Everything is based on proven best practices.
The SPRINT Model
We ensure that ideas turn into action items that get done.
The Pit Stop is a fixed-price engagement
Easy to budget with no scope-creep surprises.
The SHIFTPOINTS Satisfaction Model
Clients have zero risk. Contact us to learn more.
|REFUELED. RECHARGED. READY TO WIN THE RACE!|
THE TOP GEAR PROGRAM
We are confident that The Pit Stop Program will be an amazing experience.
But we want your company to be running in Top Gear.