Many of you that read this blog and have heard me speak know I am a member of a wonderful business organization called YPO – the Young Presidents Organization (even if I do not feel that young anymore ).
A main feature of YPO is the “forum experience” in which we meet monthly with a group of 8 – 10 of our peers from different industries. The meetings can focus on any type of personal or business issue that the group finds relevant. As part of the forum experience, we also take an annual retreat where we have the chance to get away, unplug, and recharge.
I just returned from my annual retreat and thought it would be great to share this experience since I think it is relevant for anyone in a leadership role in our industry (or any industry).
I think that all of us who run a business, or are involved in important day-to-day decisions, need an outlet where we can SHARE and discuss sensitive issues with people whom we trust and respect. And this outlet should be in a forum where you can feel 100% open and honest. I find I can make much better decisions when I have the insights and support of a group of people (NOT in my company or my group of friends) who care about me and my business and want me to have total success. And I think the same goes for non-business decisions. It is vital to have a group of people with whom you can share ideas and issues.
I would also suggest a second network within your industry. By nature it may not be as open or honest as a YPO- type forum but it is important to have an industry network where you can share ideas and stay ahead of trends, etc.
The main point to this is that it is important to have a diversity of opinion before making big decisions and that diversity should come both within the industry and from a group outside your industry.
The second part of this is what I call “RETREAT and RECHARGE”. In addition to a regular forum where you can share and discuss ideas, I think it is great to take an annual business “timeout” with this same group to recharge your batteries. This is VERY different from a vacation. It should be a “working” retreat where you discuss issues, plan future strategy, address industry and world forces affecting your business, etc. There is nothing better than “getting away to clear your head” and tackling these important issues/questions. It is a chance to think with an open mind, forget about the stress of your day-to-day job, and then recharge to come back to work fresh and with a renewed sense of energy.
For example, in my recent retreat we did an exercise where we focused on developing our company strategy from a 1, 5, 10 year perspective. We discussed the need for having meaningful mentors in our lives, and we discussed the importance of a healthy work-life balance.
I could write volumes on my YPO experience so if anyone is interested to discuss further, I am happy to share. For now, please take to heart this summary message — I cannot stress enough the importance of having a network where you can SHARE, RETREAT, and RECHARGE.