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How to prepare a strategic workshop for a Global Business Services (GBS)?

Krzysztof Herdzik

Krzysztof Herdzik

GBS/SSC/BPO Practicioner


Planning a strategic workshop for a shared service centre can be a daunting task. However, if done correctly, it can be an extremely valuable process that helps to ensure the success of the SSC. By establishing clear goals and objectives, involving all key stakeholders early on, and thinking about timelines and resources, strategic workshops will help to ensure that all the necessary strategic steps are taken for success.


This will ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of the goals and objectives of the SSC and that they are able to contribute their ideas and expertise towards achieving these goals. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips and tricks for preparing for a successful strategic workshop.


Establish clear goals and objectives for the strategic workshop deliverables

What are the strategic goals of the SSC? What are its key objectives in terms of cost savings, increased productivity and efficiency, etc.? How will these strategic goals be achieved by implementing an effective shared service model?

Determine who needs to be involved in this strategic workshop. Who are your stakeholders? Do you need to include vendors or partners outside of the organization? What is their role in relation to the strategic goals and objectives of the SSC? Think about how you will introduce new stakeholders into this process.


Plan well resources needed

Determine what resources are needed for strategic workshop preparation: technical, financial, human capital etc. Are there any specific requirements that need to be met by these resources before they can be involved in strategic workshop preparation?


Involve all key stakeholders early

Determine which stakeholders’ needs should be met first. Which stakeholders will benefit most from strategic workshop preparation, and which ones would likely not derive much value? Think about what kind of strategic plan is needed to meet each stakeholder’s individual requirements.


Strategic workshop are usually conducted during the pre-feasibility study or scoping phase, with representatives from all stakeholders invited to participate. Involving key stakeholders early will ensure that they feel part of the strategic planning process, and have a better understanding of their role within it. Strategic workshop is an opportunity not only for the SSC team but also all stakeholders involved in the decision-making process: it’s important that the workshop is participatory, and that all stakeholders have the opportunity to contribute their ideas. This will help to create buy-in for the SSC and ensure its long-term success.


Develop a communication plan to ensure that all stakeholders are kept up-to-date on strategic workshop progress and results. What is the timeline for the strategic workshop process? Who will be responsible for communicating with stakeholders at different stages of this process?


Integrate different stakeholders into the process

When planning strategic workshop, think about how you can integrate different stakeholders into this process. Consider what type of strategic plan would be most appropriate for each stakeholder, which stakeholders need to have their needs met first in order to achieve strategic goals or objectives desired by others who may not be involved directly but are still important.


Ensure strategic workshops is strategic

Too often, workshops are seen as a way to get consensus or approval on decisions that have already been made. This defeats the very purpose of workshop and can lead to frustration among stakeholders. The strategic workshop should be used to develop a shared understanding of the problem or opportunity at hand, and outline potential solutions. All stakeholders should come into the workshop with an open mind, and be willing to consider different options.


Ensure adequate preparation time for participants

Ensure strategic workshop participants have enough time prepare before strategic workshop starts. This can help to avoid last minute changes and surprises, which may cause frustration among stakeholders who were not forewarned about these changes beforehand.


Create a strategic group (board) of decision-makers

One way to ensure that all stakeholders are represented is to create a strategic group or board of decision-makers. This group can be responsible for making decisions about the strategic direction of the SSC, and can provide guidance and support to the SSC team. The strategic group should include representatives from all key stakeholder groups, as well as experts in strategic planning and shared services.


Establish key strategic questions that need to be answered during the strategic workshop process.

In order to ensure that strategic workshops are productive and collaborative, it is important to prepare questions in advance. These should focus on specific issues or challenges related to the shared service centre. The questions should be designed to elicit feedback from stakeholders, and to help them understand the strategic direction of the SSC.

The questions can be divided into two categories: strategic questions and operational questions. Strategic questions focus on the big picture, while operational questions are more detailed and specific. By asking both types of question, you can ensure that strategic workshops are productive and collaborative.

By asking these strategic questions early in the strategic planning phase, you will ensure that all stakeholders are aligned on the strategic direction of the SSC.


Examples of strategic questions that could be asked during a strategic workshop include:

  • How will the SSC contribute to business growth?
  • What is the role of the SSC within the organisation?
  • What problems does the SSC aim to solve?
  • What are the key objectives of the SSC?
  • How can the SSC best meet the needs of stakeholders?
  • What is the long-term vision for the SSC?
  • How can the SSC improve efficiency and reduce costs?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities facing the SSC?
  • What are some strategic initiatives or projects you would like to accomplish within this year?
  • How do we measure SSC success in the long run?


Provide supporting materials in advance

In order to ensure that the strategic workshop is productive, it is important to provide supporting materials in advance. This will allow participants to come into the workshop with a basic understanding of the problem or opportunity at hand. The supporting materials should include a summary of the current state of affairs, as well as an overview of potential solutions.

It is also a good idea to provide information about the shared service centre team – their skills, experience, and what they can bring to the table. This will help stakeholders to understand the team’s capabilities, and how they can work together to achieve common goals.


Provide overview of strategic tools which will be used during the strategic workshop

If possible, it is helpful to provide an overview of strategic planning tools that will be used during the strategic workshop process. This can include strategic alignment, SWOT analysis, or strategic objectives and goals. By providing an overview of strategic planning tools, you will ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page when it comes to strategic alignment.


Select a strategic workshop facilitator

It is important to select a strategic workshop facilitator who has experience in facilitating strategic workshops and designing strategy fosucing on Shared Service Environment. The best person for this role would be someone who understands both business and strategic planning.

Strategic workshop facilitator should be able to ask strategic questions and guide the discussion towards strategic thinking. It is also important that they are skilled at dealing with stakeholders – managing conflict, communication, listening skills and experience in leading strategic workshops for Shared Service Centres.

An experienced strategic workshop facilitator will ensure that all stakeholders are able to contribute and that the strategic workshop is productive and efficient.


Create detailed action plans with timelines for strategic initiatives

The strategic workshop is a great opportunity to create detailed action plans with timelines for strategic initiatives. This will ensure that everyone involved has a clear idea of what needs to be done, when it should happen and who will do the work. It also helps stakeholders understand how their work contributes tp overall strategic objectives in a shared service centre environment.

Detailed action plans with timelines help to keep everyone on track and ensure that strategic initiatives are completed on time and within budget. By taking the time to develop detailed action plans in a strategic workshop, you can avoid costly delays and miscommunications down the road.


Communicate updates regularly to stakeholders.

The strategic workshop is a great opportunity to develop a strategic plan that everyone involved can agree on. By taking the time to do this, you will ensure that all stakeholders are aware of their role in achieving common goals and working together towards strategic success for your shared service centre (SSC). It also helps stakeholders understand how their work contributes to overall strategic objectives in a shared service centre environment. By communicating updates regularly to stakeholders, you will maintain transparency and keep everyone informed of progress made towards strategic objectives. This helps build trust between all stakeholders, which is essential for success in a shared service centre environment.


Don’t forget about stakeholders who were not part of the workshop!!

Don’t forget to follow up on strategic workshop findings with all stakeholders involved: strategic workshops are a great opportunity for co-creation but they don’t always lead directly to strategic plans. Follow-up is important because it allows stakeholders who did not attend the strategic workshops get involved in the strategic planning process later on down the road once their input has been considered – this means less resistance when strategically plans are implemented!



The strategic workshop is an important step in setting up a successfully shared service centre. By involving all key stakeholders and developing a clear communication plan, you can ensure that the strategic goals of the SSC are understood by everyone involved.

Thank you for reading our blog post! We hope you found it informative. Stay tuned for our next blog post.


Do you have any questions? Feel free to contact us anytime!


Krzysztof Herdzik

Independent GBS/SSC Advisor

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