Tis the season to refocus and reinvent. My favorite season!
At the Academy we spent the entire month of January and first part of February with each department having its own “Retreat” (By the way, Sanford Fisch let me know he hates that word, “we aren’t retreating, we’re advancing“). Whatever we end up calling it next year, it simply means that each department gathered together for a full or part of a day of reflection, celebration and planning.
The first portion of each department’s meeting was spent looking back at EVERY SINGLE ACCOMPLISHMENT for 2015 in that particular department. A simple pause to acknowledge everyone’s individual accomplishments and how they fit with the overall progress of the department is very uplifting. It’s not often throughout the year that we get a chance to pause and think about the impact of what we do on a daily basis, and how it affects the end result of each year.
Once each department completed their Department Retreats, it was time to pull all of the departments together for a Company-Wide Retreat. Complete with flowers on the conference room table, coloring books and colored pencils for those of us who are tactile participants (check out all the great benefits of adult coloring books: http://www.bustle.com/articles/101264-7-reasons-adult-coloring-books-will-make-your-life-a-whole-lot-brighter), some brain food for breakfast, and our comfiest “brainstorming” clothes, we were a group prepared to plan for a revolutionary 2016.
We spent time acknowledging each Department’s Top Ten 2015 Accomplishments with all of us there to witness and hear about all the wins from last year, and then got the opportunity to hear about what each department in the Academy had planned as their Top Ten Goals to achieve in 2016. The greatest part of the day was spending some time talking openly and brainstorming with our fearless leaders, Robert and Sandy, about the vision for the company in the coming year, and how each of our personal and departmental goals fits into the direction they envision for the company overall. With just over 20 team Members onsite at the Academy offices, and another 10 offsite team Members on our Google Hangout, the conversation was engaging, constructive, and reminded us not to make assumptions about where a Member is coming from (Confused? Upset? Overwhelmed? Etc.) when we have conversations with them. Much like we coach our Members to do with their own clients, we must approach every Member interaction (and for Members, client interaction) with an open mind and willingness to dig deeper into an issue to see where we can really help solve a problem. We can’t express this need for open-mindedness enough when you interact with your clients. I encourage you to examine what the experience is like for your clients at every stage of the client journey and where you can pause, ask the right questions, and work with them to answer their burning questions and solve their most crucial problems.
We wrapped up our Company Retreat Day with a group happy hour to celebrate where we’ve been and where we’re going and can’t wait to share the journey with all of you!
Chief Operating Officer
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555