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A Little Retreat and Vacation

I recently went on a “business retreat” in Costa Rica. Yes, I can hear the eyeballs rolling. Yes, it was beautiful. Yes, I enjoyed it very much. But, seriously, it was a business retreat. Me “business retreating” in the morning before everybody gets up. Yes, those are my feet. Me about to do some walking. Yes, that is my son’s schoolbag. Came in very handy! I’m a card-carrying member of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO for short, learn more at https://www.eonetwork.org/why-join/eo-connect or the Louisiana Chapter website at…
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Me “business retreating” in the morning before everybody gets up. Yes, those are my feet.
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Me about to do some walking. Yes, that is my son’s schoolbag. Came in very handy!

I’m a card-carrying member of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO for short, learn more at https://www.eonetwork.org/why-join/eo-connect or the Louisiana Chapter website at http://www.eolouisiana.org/) and am a member of a go-getter EO Forum where I’m able to share my experiences, both good and bad, and talk to other business owners in confidence. (It’s a strict organization. If you talk about what you hear in the Forum environment then you get kicked out of EO. Simple rule, brutally effective.)

Once a year, every EO Forum will go on a business retreat. That retreat may be a weekend at a hotel 20 miles from somebody’s home or it may be in, say, Costa Rica. It’s really up to the Forum.

I learned a few things in the Forum retreat:

  • It’s surprisingly inexpensive to travel to Costa Rica. It’s not cheap by any stretch, but it’s not really all that more expensive than traveling to California or Washington if you live in the Deep South as I do. The actual flight time is also less than traveling cross-country, which shocked me.
  • There is something awesome about being forced to leave your business and focus on vision and strategy.
  • Having an outside facilitator (EO retreats are run by outside parties, not the Forum members) really makes a huge difference. Having a bunch of business owners in a room is rough. You generally have a bunch of dominate personalities fighting for the spotlight, lots of jokes are being made, and you need somebody to control the room.

The big win for me was that our retreat focused on our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (often called just “my BHAG”) and I came back with a Measurable Accountability Plan (MAP) that I will complete and then use. The MAP concept is awesome. First, the CEO can’t “run” the MAP. That is more of an admin role and it comes down to a simple weekly “Did you get your action item done, yes/no? If no, why not?” That simple. Total transparency. The trick of course is filling it out and using it.

I’m currently working through the 2016 MAP for Puryear IT and plan on rolling it out over the next several weeks. Naturally, I want to do it all RIGHT NOW RIGHT THIS SECOND LETS DO THIS but of course that doesn’t align with how companies actually work. Instead, we’ll begin rolling it out slowly and developing some rhythm and gain momentum over time.

Of course, “goal setting” and “reaching the goal” are two different things. I have personally set many goals in the past and several of those I’ve reached. But just as often, there are goals I did not reach. Looking back, the pattern is clear. If I have a goal where I setup daily/weekly/monthly action items, I reach it. If I don’t setup those action items, I don’t reach it. Every single time.

For me, a daily action item can be as simple as “call 3 prospects” or “update one handbook paragraph a day”. Do that 365 days a year and you’ll amaze yourself on your progress. What I’ve definitely found is that any goal where you don’t apply time to it every day, even if it’s just a 3 minute edit of a Quote Template, fails. Mostly because I’ve forgotten I even set the goal.

The struggle of course of forgetting about goals is not specific to me. We all do that. And as someone that has a tendency to run 120 miles per hour, I definitely suffer from reaction-itis. In fact, I’ve had to build many systems around me to help me stay focused. I utilized (somewhat lazily and not necessarily effectively) the Getting Things Done (GTD) model for how I work items (Do/Defer/Delegate) and I use a hand-written planner every morning to define the structure of my day.

I’d love to know what you have found effective to manage your goals!

P.S. Our EO Chapter is having an EO Luncheon for prospective members this November. If you are a business owner, meet certain hard requirements, and have an interest in joining a global, non-profit, peer-mentoring group let me know and we’ll see if we can find a seat at the table for you.

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