I believe it’s so important that management teams take regular time out to think about where they are going. Sometimes we can be so absorbed by the to the day-to-day grind we forget about the long term – slowing down to speed up is vital. When you stand back often the landscape becomes much clearer. We had our own planning day a couple of months ago. As a team we started to think about the next three to five years – what did success look like? What difference do we want to make? How do we want to be viewed? The aim was to answer the big questions about our vision and mission.
We decided to do things differently – usually we would go to a hotel in town and hire a meeting room (all very business like and me too). Instead of conforming to the norm we thought this time round we would do something different and hold our strategy session in a place that was conducive to reflection, creativity, quite, calm and tranquillity – far away from the norm. We decided to go on a strategy retreat – this took us to Worth Abbey, a Benedictine location near Gatwick Airport – www.worthabbey.net (this was the setting for two BBC programmes where busy people took time out to reflect and think about their life and where they are going). The resident Abbot there Christopher Jamison is a media friendly man of the cloth and one of life’s truly inspirational characters. He has written two best selling books – Finding Sanctuary and Finding Happiness.
It was a truly productive two days for us – the Abbot himself joined us on day 2, sharing with us his view on leadership (Harvard University use the Rule of St Benedict as a case study of great leadership) and the need to build a business on sound moral foundations and within the framework of rules and acceptable values and behaviours.
For us as a management team it helped us get away from busyness of life, think about the big picture and focus. Inputs from this parallel universe helped to stimulate the creative spirit and apply to some new principles to our Company. My message is – stand back, reflect and get out of the usual environment – we must do this a few times a year. You come back with clarity and a raft of new ideas.
More to follow on this theme.