September, 03, 2014 SusanGraham | Posted in: Featured Post


noun: retreat; an act of moving back or withdrawing.

Moving back? Withdrawing? Not on my watch. For reasons in this blog the word Retreat means “taking a moment to pause with your team to set goals for moving forward”. And that’s just what we’re doing this month.

How many companies require their crew to have a laptop/cell phone ‘banned day’ in order to focus on the future? How can we afford to spend an entire day NOT recruiting – not answering phones, not returning emails, not working on our network? My answer is simple – we can’t afford NOT to!

OK so I have to bribe them with a fun setting, free lunch, tasty snacks and some cool prizes. I even make each of them stand up and lead a portion of the day – something in their comfort zone. We play some silly games to break up the seriousness of our subjects. This year each person is required to bring two items that are of profound importance in their lives. I’m hoping no one shows up with a spouse, child or pony, but you never know what my team will dream up. I’m still contemplating what I, myself, am going to bring and why I find that item profoundly important. It’s fun to think about.

Our theme of this years’ retreat is CHANGE. Change isn’t always easy. Actually, sometimes change can be very uncomfortable and is something we try to avoid. In our business, change is a necessity. It’s the one thing we can count on. It’s the one thing that kicks us in our seat. It’s the best thing that could happen and our worst possible reality. Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. I think he forgot about a third – change. It’s inevitable.

I have never been a textbook leader. Thinking of spending time refining business plans and mission statements makes me squirm. SGC will be in business 8 years on September 6th and my plan is simple: we will be successful. Failure is not an option. Treat your employees well so they never want to work anywhere else. Follow up with people who contact you. Buy cool Christmas gifts for everyone. (OK, that one isn’t in our business plan, it’s just something fun I like to do.)

I’m so looking forward to our retreat. I welcome my team’s input on improving procedures, adjusting our strategy, and collaboration in setting new goals. I thoroughly enjoy their banter and lively conversations that keep our meetings focused, yet fun. I can’t wait to walk away with new ideas on how to make positive changes within my organization. And if someone brings a pony to our meeting, I’m riding off into the sunset.

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