The New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square cued the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” and the start of a new year.

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?”

No! We should reminisce on the past year. More so we should celebrate our victories, learn from mistakes and then decide what we need to keep, tweak or toss in the new year.

Plunging into a new year with little forethought is reckless, personally and professionally. Your firm needs a game plan and your team needs in on it.

Involve your team from the get-go and they’ll feel more inclined to engage with your long-term goals and ideas. One of the most effective ways to do this is to hold an annual team retreat or an annual team planning meeting.

Right now, you’re probably envisioning an elaborate ropes course and a series of trust falls. But team retreats don’t always equate to outdoor adventure. All you need is an environment where your team has an opportunity to be a part of defining success in the name of fulfilling the firm’s vision and goals.

When each team member understands their role and how it plays into the bigger, long-term picture, they can help you succeed. Ambiguity surrounding roles and goals leads to inefficiency.

As the leader of your firm, you are responsible for motivating and guiding your team. Yet some advisors drop the ball when it comes to navigating and getting everyone on the same page.

Aligning your team with your vision requires consistent and clear communication. Without it, you risk moving at different speeds, in different directions.

I’ve compiled a list of best practices to execute successful team retreats. I recommend combing through these tips and booking a date on the calendar in the near future for a team retreat/meeting.

1. Get out of your normal environment

Hold the meeting in a space that provides a neutral environment where everyone feels comfortable.

2. Consider using a third party to run the meeting.

Leave the logistics of running the meeting to someone outside your firm. This will open up your time and headspace and allow you to be a full-time participant rather than a part-time facilitator.

3. Prepare beforehand

That being said, you still need to put in work before the event. This includes finding a date that works, curating a purposeful agenda, defining outcomes and creating a plan for accountability.

Start with the end in mind. Ask yourself: “By the end of the retreat, what needs to be accomplished for it to be a success?” Work backward from there to build an agenda that will lead to that outcome.

4. Have fun and boost morale

Engaging your team in the planning process will likely have a positive impact on culture, but I recommend using this retreat to have fun and build connections with each other.

Culture is an ongoing process. Make sure your team feels recharged and important. They’ll be more apt to attach themselves to your vision and goals.

5. Define and execute a clear follow-up plan

Though last on the list, this is an important step you cannot forget. Having the right people, vision and game plan is great, but they won’t mean anything if you don’t execute. Consider regular check-in meetings after the retreat to provide accountability for the action items you identified.

As a leader, it’s your job to provide the vision for your firm and guide your team to it. When you involve your team in your planning process, they feel connected to the purpose. Engaged employees make for an efficient business. Work retreats or annual meetings are great ways to weave your team into your vision.

This hands-on approach I recommend you take with your team is the same approach I take with my coaching clients. I work with advisors closely to help define what’s important and create action plans to solve issues and seek solutions.

I’d love to learn about your firm, your vision and your goals. Where could we combine forces to close gaps or create opportunities for growth? Schedule a complimentary consultation with me today!

AUTHOR

Jessica Harrington

Executive Business Coach
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