At 9am we pulled up to our destination. We enjoyed a stroll in nature, each taking time to sit on our own, soaking it in. During our tea and scones we went over the goal for the day, company and personal achievements, each in turn commenting on each individuals strengths and challenges and ways we can commit to our growth.
At 11:30am we enjoyed an amazing brunch buffet and covered our year review....with the intention of celebrating and learning, never with feelings of "blame, shame, guilt or regret."
The day continued with scheduled downtime and pampering, creative brainstorming, strategizing, laughing, disagreeing, problem solving, and goal setting. (following our agenda with timed segments of course) ;-)
At 4pm we concluded our day, reviewed the things we decided on, rated the day, went over the to-do list, and evaluated if we accomplished the day's objectives.
And we loved every minute of it.
It set the tone for the year. It directed our actions. It gave us focus, reminded us of our mission, and gave us clarity on what we wanted to accomplish.
One of the most important things in our company's culture is our meeting rituals. From our weekly, quarterly, to annual meetings, they are each held sacred and the backbone of our business model.
1. Get Ready, Get Set.....
Do your due diligence and come to the table prepared. Make sure you have a clear objective and agenda for the meeting and communicate it with your team ahead of time.
Creative brainstorming as a team is priceless, and you'll have plenty to discuss... but the more prepared you are, the more productive you'll be.
Giving the whole team homework helps keep focus, gives more time to get to the deep issues, and it gets everyone invested and mentally prepared before the meeting even starts.
2. Set the Stage - Set the Mood
Change things up! Pick a location that is inspiring and has all the amenities you need. Surroundings can truly set the tone.
Set the stage for productivity AND creativity. You want to do something that gets you out of your routine and ready for brainstorming, critical thinking, and hard work.
Sometimes we go to the spa, a hike, to a local resort, or to the EPIC Loft....but we never stay in the office. Some of our favorite go-tos are Mohonk, Buttermilk, or the new conference room at EPIC Next Door;-)
And plan the details ahead of time! Bring snacks and treats. Have lunch pre-ordered or make reservations. Make sure you have all of your supplies ready and on hand. Make sure the focus is on the important task at hand... the less distractions, the better!
3. Timing is Everything
Have a schedule and stick to it! Use a timer and stick to your guns.
Once you have your agenda make sure you have a plan to keep on task...
Set timers, appoint someone to be timekeeper, notetaker, and facilitator.
Allow for 'bonus time' for items you don't finish so you can go back to it later.
After you get through your reflections, goal setting, problem solving, (whatever the agenda you chose) make sure you wrap up with a solid conclusion. Define what you decided on, have a clear to-do list, evaluate how the meeting went, and make sure everyone's expectations were met.
Now do the work! Schedule your quarterly and weekly meetings to make sure you stay on track.
Build in follow up and accountability to make sure all your time and hard work pay off.