2017 Leadership Retreat
A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to connect with our firm’s entire management group during an off-site event in Traverse City. The retreat was organized around teambuilding, communication and planning for our future. (Yes, we built in some fun stuff, too!) Like most firms, we are diligent about connecting as a team periodically to share updates about the business. This year, however, was the first opportunity for everyone in management to spend three days outside the Clayton & McKervey walls focused exclusively on our culture and strategic planning.
In all, the experience was transformative for me – and survey results from the attendees affirm the positive impact it had on them as well. Here are my top takeaways:
- The younger generation’s new ideas, combined with the wisdom and experience of the older generation, resulted in revolutionary new ways of approaching issues impacting our industry. A conversation about rapidly advancing technology, for example, launched a meaningful dialogue about time-tested customer service skills.
- Investing in a good facilitator really drives a group discussion and challenges old assumptions. We explored a concept called the “Question Behind the Question” (QBQ) which pushed us to think about questions that drive personal and group accountability. This concept helps to remove barriers to success and is already being put into action.
- Focusing on what moves the business forward can be difficult, but it’s well worth the investment. We planned this retreat nearly a year in advance and had complete participation, which was extraordinary.
- The process of imagining the firm of the future helped align our group toward shared goals, priorities and culture. The CPA firm our next-generation of management will lead will look dramatically different than it does today. It was informative to look back in time on how far we’ve come as we discuss the future.
- Making time to have fun and connect outside of working hours fosters a visible, deeper level of engagement. As part of our itinerary, groups participated in activities such as a sail boat ride, a bike tour, a wine tour, golf and more. The group chemistry made a powerful impact on all of us.
With so much rich content, it can be challenging to integrate all of the information and ideas. However, I have complete confidence in our team. The managers, principals and shareholders of our firm possess a skill set that will allow us to evolve with the times. I’m excited to see what’s possible!