by Dynamic Results
Our experience teaches us that management teams willing to invest quality “away” time for planning the future are more successful in running profitable and growing operations than companies unwilling to do so. Although we recognize the hefty investment needed for taking the executive team away for 2 to 3 days of “uninterruptible” time, here are some reasons why we say it’s worth it!
1. Re-energizing – When your team is away from the daily grind of pressures, interruptions, and politics, they instantly have room to breathe. Conversations are richer and interactions tend to flow in smoother, more honest fashion.
2. Perspective – It’s only by stepping back that your team can clearly see where your organization has been going. From this new perspective, looking at the numbers, economic trends, accomplishments (and breakdowns) will be seen from a more objective view. Your team will see what a disinterested outside observer would see.
3. Course Correction – A relaxed state of mind, along with time to reflect, will clearly show what’s working, and what’s not. When your team is relaxed and sharing the same information is the time to formulate ideas for improvement. In this atmosphere consensus can be more easily reached for new directions, along with the decisions necessary for their implementation.
4. Imagination – It’s no secret that creativity is stimulated by brainstorming, critical thinking exercises, new surroundings, physical challenges & movement, and materials for drawing and other forms of artistic expression. Many of these elements are an integral part of strategic offsites and help in forming new patterns of thinking and action.
5. Learning – Deep learning is known to take place under low levels of stress, but away from overwhelming pressure. Being far from daily interruptions, meetings, and emails allows for clear focus and deeper thinking. Learning is intensified in a small group environment when discussions such as, “What lessons have we learned from this?” are initiated.
6. Alignment – In retreats, personal interactions are seen in a new light. Unstressed social conversations lead to better understanding and stronger relationships. Time spent together at meals and breaks can add trust when the time comes for making critical decisions.
7. Accountability – In a well-planned and well-facilitated conference, teams come away with:
a) Strategies that give a context for each initiative (We are taking this step because it’s in the right direction); and
b) A tactical focus (We know what each of us is doing to advance the initiative-and we know who’s accountable for each step); and
c) A focus on results (We know that without a plan for execution and follow up, our plan is “just a plan”)
As in all business planning and operations, accountability is key. Your strategic planning retreat, by opening new lines of trust and communication, will have implemented two key components of our accountability method.
“There’s a current of thinking today which says that because things are changing so rapidly, it’s impossible to have a strategy. All you need is to be agile and react to immediate change. That is wrong. It allows someone else to determine the constraints under which you’ll operate. Organizations with a strategy will set the terms of competition.”
-Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock and Power Shift
Was this article useful to you and your organization? Consider reading the entire book!