Many small to mid-size firms simply do not believe they have the time or resources to hold an annual off-site strategic “retreat” or “advance” (as they are sometimes called!). While the time away from the office, combined with the potential cost for an outside facilitator, is burdensome, the rewards can be worth the effort.
During the course of a “normal” day – whatever that is – there is really no time for considering anything beyond the immediate situation. There are always client fires to put out, calls to return, management letters to write, or lunch dates to arrange with your best referral sources. No one questions that these are critical initiatives for the maintenance of the firm.
And yet, they are not necessarily the only activities that you need to engage in to assure the future of the firm. Daily activities are very different from strategic initiatives. Recognizing that there is not enough time during the course of the day, week or month to think strategically, time must be set aside for the firm’s leadership to sit together – at an outside location with no interruptions - in order to discuss the broader scope of issues that may impact the firm over the next five to ten years.
Those firms that make time to look ahead and to consider together in a thoughtful and judicious manner where they want to be will be the firms that establish objectives and achieve them. Instead of rolling into the future by happenstance, a planned and systematic approach has a much better chance of getting your firm to the end goal. This is the purpose of a strategic retreat: to give you the opportunity to sit together and plan for the future from the 30,000 foot level and to identify the grass roots tactics you will need to accomplish your vision for growth and profitability.
The strategic planning retreat is the beginning, though, not the end of the process. It is crucial for your firm to understand that without procedures embedded to implement your ideas, the event may truly be a waste of everyone’s time.
It is a considerable investment of time and money, but without it, where will your firm be?