How to Boost Income with a “Get Out of The Way” Strategic Retirement

“These are the times that try the souls of men.” This quote from Founding Father Thomas Paine could easily describe today’s economic climate, with the friendly amendment of “souls of men and women.”

Tough times indeed. After months of working remotely and inconsistent communications, your organizational strategy, alignment, and engagement may no longer be at an optimal level.

Business leaders face the double whammy of growing revenue and finding (and keeping) enough good people to do it. If you want to attract more high-paying clients, now is the time to try a new type of strategic retreat.

Many business leaders hold a retreat with the famous phrase “lead, follow or step aside” in their mind. This saying has been widely attributed to Paine, but never conclusively proven in his writings. Others, from General George Patton to Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca to media mogul Ted Turner (a biographer wrote a book by that title) have also used the phrase, meant to inspire action within ‘an organization. from high to low.

Forget the top down in 2022. You want the bottom up.

“One thing is certain though, in today’s turbulent, ambiguous, fast-paced, hyper-connected world, this leadership phrase is long overdue for an overhaul: get out of the way, listen, then lead!” says Scott Hamilton, Strategic Retreat Facilitator.

Hamilton is CEO of the Executive Next Practices Institute, a global forum for innovation and development, and Nextworks Strategy, a value and growth consulting firm, both linked to the University of California, Irvine Beall Applied. Innovation. We met when he invited me to speak at events at UC Irvine.

Hamilton has helped organizations such as Nestlé, ARAMARK, DirecTV, Golden State Foods, Printronix, City of Irvine, Altura Communications and hundreds of others build a better process from strategic planning to execution.

“In 2022, you might be concerned about your team’s direction or your current customer understanding,” Hamilton says. “Perhaps you also decided to plan this long overdue strategic offsite to get things back on track.”

This is where the biggest top-down mistake is made.

“Granted, the CEO or key leader sets the vision and purpose, but beyond that, ideation, adaptability, and inclusive thinking must be driven at the team level,” Hamilton says. “In other words, step aside and let your creativity run free.”

Hamilton says you also want to have a strategic process this year that leverages the thoughts and insights of your individual contributors shaped over the last 24 months and creates an environment for those “moments of truth in the hallways” to unfold during the formal planning sessions on your current or proposed direction.

“How will you listen to and capture those random collisions of ideas in your planning process that often lead to the biggest breakthroughs in operations, services, customer focus and competitiveness?” asks Hamilton. “How will you ensure that you leverage the diversity of your organization at all levels? »

In pre-pandemic times, it was around water coolers where the real conversations took place. In a hybrid workplace, where is the new secure collaboration zone?

“Your next strategic retreat – virtual, in-person or hybrid – should be designed for both formal and informal participant interactions, with a heavy dose of customer and operational analytics data to provide a factual foundation,” advises Hamilton.

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