By now, everyone should be back to business and in the swing of it. For many business owners I’ve spoken to, January felt different this year as it was extremely busy. By now, potentially, you are seeing some signs of fatigue and potential stresses within your team.
I am a big believer that you need to be prepared for times like this within your business. This is when everyone understanding the vision of the business and being aligned in common goals will come into play.
This is why at Wealth Enhancers we start the year with a three-day staff retreat, where all of the team go away together somewhere in the country and plan the year ahead.
Some may view this as an expensive exercise in both time and money, but we know it is the best investment we can do for the business. It enables us to review what worked or didn’t work last year and also helps us work out how we can improve our business offer to our clients.
As Wealth Enhancers is a fast growing business which has a very high focus on innovation, we make lots of changes throughout the course of the year, including changes in the team, technology, service offerings, marketing and the way we provide advice. We expect everyone to quickly embrace these changes, which at times can be confronting and difficult.
We mitigate this by having a team retreat every quarter, where we can go over any changes made in the last quarter and answer any questions or concerns people may have about it. For new team members it is great, as they will completely understand all the different dynamics of our business and be completely confident that they are a valued part of the team.
Our agenda for each retreat varies, but we always include the following:
Vision – why did the founders start the business and what are they trying to achieve
Values – how do we want our company to conduct business and be known for
Purpose – what problem are we trying to solve
BHAG – the massive long-term goal which gets people excited
Three-year goals – where do we want to be in three years
One-year goals – where do we need to be in a year’s time to be on track for three-year goals
Quarter goals – where do we need to be in the next quarter to be on track for one-year goals
Our blocks – what is stopping us from reaching our goals
Our key areas of focus – what do we need to focus on this quarter to ensure that we are living our values and fulfilling our purpose
Business critical numbers – what are the key metrics we are going to measure to know that we are on track for our goals
Individual critical numbers – what is the key metric that each individual needs to be measured on so they contribute to the team’s goal
Theme – overriding focus for the year and quarter
In order to achieve our goals and be in line with our theme, the team decided to implement some new ways we will go about our work day and week structure.
Each day of the week now has particular focus:
Wednesday: Customer service
Of course on each day we will be doing lots of other things, but it ensures that each of the important facets that we identified for our business are regularly front of mind and time is allocated for each. Every second week, we hold a 15-minute forum for each focus where the whole team gets together and works out how we can improve something, fix a problem or do some training. This means that we are constantly innovating and improving in each focus.
The two days back in the office after the retreat were the most productive we have ever seen and the team have never been more united, confident that they will smash their goals and most importantly happy. For business owners and leaders, I strongly urge you to invest the time and money to do this with your team; and for any person who is part of a team and wants their team to improve, I urge you to take this article to your boss and demand that they organise a retreat for you!
You will be able to see by the end of the year which businesses did activities like this as they will be leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else.
Finn Kelly is the CEO and co-founder of award-winning Gen Y financial advisory firm, Wealth Enhancers, along with the parent company, premier private wealth management firm WE Private.