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To Retreat or Reforward?

To Retreat or Reforward?

This is the time of year that organizations of all types take time out to assess the past year and develop a new strategy for the new year ahead.

Yet instead of calling it a retreat which means to pull back or give in, maybe it should be called a reforward which can come to mean: a gathering together to move the organization forward. (If reforward catches on, we know a certain executive that should get the credit for coining it.)

As your organization meets to reforward, here are some tactics you can use to maximize your meeting.

Have a clear agenda

Don’t reforward just to reforward. Meet with a purpose and intent. Develop a strong agenda that gives your reforward that purpose and keeps your meeting on track. Get input from your team members on your agenda. Team members will take the reforward seriously if they have buy-in to your meeting.

Set clear goals

Your agenda should have a clear set of goals and on multiple levels. Develop goals for internal matters and processes, sales and revenues, clients, professional and personal development goals. You want to walk away from your reforward with a sense that you will accomplish something real and meaningful in the coming year.

Action items and accountability

Your reforward will have purpose if there are strong action items for team members. Appoint a scribe to your reforward that will take accurate notes and will assign team members names to those action items. Now your team will know who is accountable for getting stated tasks completed.

Speak freely

Reforwards should NOT be a gripe session – NO finger pointing please. Rather take a constructive, honest and open approach to your reforward. Your organization will gain nothing by piling on Susie for not meeting her sales numbers. Create a positive environment at your reforward – an environment which invites all team members to share their creative ideas, concerns and ways to improve your organization. Your top management should take this time to listen!

Some additional tips for your reforward: (1) do get away from the office, (2) do have accurate notes on your meeting, (3) do not go back to the office after the reforward – this should be a day to get away and air-out the brain, (4) do make sure that you were able to say what you wanted to say – if you feel that you did not get it off your chest, you just wasted a prime opportunity to speak your mind, (5) do try to develop a good feeling about your organization.

Reforwards are an opportunity to feel re-energized about your work, the people you see everyday at work, and to feel recommitted to your place of work. Reforwards build loyalty, a renewed sense of camaraderie and a new sense of passion for the work you do.

Tell us your reforward stories whether good or bad. If you’re about to go on a reforward, what are your goals or concerns? We’d like to hear from you.

Image: Arthur Champan, "Aawesome Retreat Bed & Breakfast, Anchorage" August 19, 2009 via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution.

Posted by Eric Garza on 11/16 at 01:20 PM in Business

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