What Return on Investment can Company Retreats Provide You?

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”— Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn

A great company retreat has the ability to transform and renew both your company and employees. If done right, it can provide you and your company an enormous return on investment.

This event does not have to be all work, no play or vice versa. During retreats, schedule time for company-focused exercises. Take this opportunity to discuss some important company-wide decisions while everyone is in a positive, stress-free mindset. Show them employee’s opinions are being listened to by leadership. The various angles and perspectives offered can be helpful when tackling difficult decisions; and your employees may surprise you with smarter, more cost-effective solutions.

Company retreats can also put the big picture in better focus. By grouping people from different teams, divisions, and departments to spend time with each other, it can break up the company silos. Employees gain a better picture of working towards one uniting goal: doing what’s best for the organization as a whole. Try to create an open and accepting environment where employees are willing to share ideas and talk about their workplace stressors. This can lead to great conversations with input from various teams.

Time spent with coworkers face-to-face in an environment outside work helps employees learn more about each other’s personalities. This can enhance trust, communication, and appreciation between employees; leading to a more tight-knit workplace environment and increased productivity. In addition, by exploring a new place together, new memories and bonds are formed and brought back to the workplace boosting chemistry, effectiveness, and overall team cohesiveness.

Most importantly, a company retreat shows your employees that they are respected and that you care about them outside of work. This can go a long way in creating happy and productive employees who are less likely to seek work elsewhere. They understand that everyone and their opinions are valued at this company.

Company retreats should be goal orientated first and foremost, but with fun, laughter, and relaxation mixed in. Focus on obtaining these overarching goals of inclusion, unity, and recognition and it will result in the highest return on your investment. Doing this helps your employees return to work ready to focus on achieving company goals.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization

Tiger’s Success and Iconic Victory at Augusta

“Never listen to other people’s expectations. You should live your life and live up to your own expectation.” -Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is undoubtedly an inspirational person. He has battled through countless injuries and surgeries. Many believed he was done and would never be able to return to a fraction of his once dominating form, let alone win another green jacket. Although he did not dominate this past weekend, he proved all his naysayers wrong by donning his 5th green jacket and cementing what is arguably the greatest comeback in sports history.

Nationwide scandal and seven surgeries would cause most of us to give up and call it quits, but not for Tiger.  He has a well-known history of playing through injuries during tournaments and famously won the 2008 US open with no ACL and stress fractures in his tibia.  This did not stop Tiger then, and neither would the half a dozen other debilitating injuries that would follow. We see his perseverance through injuries and tough times, refusing to give up. Tiger showed us this past weekend that no matter how low the valley may seem, unwavering determination, hard-work, and perseverance shows us all how you achieve success.

Tiger attacked golf courses in his early career, playing each hole aggressively.  A similar comparison can be drawn to new businesses when they start out, eager to gain large margins at great risk. As Tiger and our companies have matured, we wisely “plot our way” down each fairway and allow our experience to help us from repeating mistakes and make better decisions in the future.

Other than his sheer perseverance, studying how Tiger found success again in major tournaments can provide us a blueprint of how to achieve success in our businesses. Tiger had to adapt his swing and his game to account for his injuries and age. We must do the same as our organizations mature and undergo constant internal and external changes. Understanding your company’s strengths will help you take calculated risks. Identifying your company’s weaknesses allow you to correct and overcome them.

When you inevitably find yourself in the trees, take a step back, look at the situation as a whole and get back to the fairway. Instead of dumping more capital into a problem, return to your fundamentals to minimize your score, as we have seen Tiger do multiple times. Identify and plan to stay well clear of the hazards that each new hole or venture will present.

When your competition makes a mistake, keep your cool, like Tiger, and take advantage of this opportunity to replace them at the top of the leaderboard or the market. Once Tiger was in the lead, he never let up off the gas. When you are ahead, maintain laser-like focus no matter how short the putt or large the lead margin. The focus required on the first tee is just as important as the final tap-in putt on 18.

When your goal has been reached, take time to enjoy the moment and thank those who helped you along the way.  After sinking the final putt, Tiger was seen embracing his caddie and saying, “We did it”. Golf is often thought of as an individual sport. However, Tiger showed us in that moment that no matter how great a single individual’s success may seem, there are always other people helping us achieve these incredibly difficult goals. As business leaders, we should take a page out of Tiger’s playbook and thank, congratulate and show our gratitude for those who helped us achieve success; without them, we’d be carrying all the weight of the clubs by ourselves.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization

What Lessons can be learned from the Command Style of General George S Patton?

“Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.”

– Gen. George S. Patton

General Patton once stated, “Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.” Great leaders in the past have much to teach us, and by studying some of their successes and failures, we become better leaders ourselves. Patton is widely considered one of the most famous and effective military leaders of the past century. He produced more results, in less time, with fewer casualties than any other general, in any army during WW2.

His bold tactics and impressive ability to instill trust in his troops were instrumental in turning the tides of the decisive Battle of the Bulge. During this key time of the war, his proposed strategy was so audacious many of his superiors thought it impossible. However, it is now considered one of the top 10 military moves of all time.

After much convincing and finally getting the OK from his superior, Gen. Eisenhower, Patton wasted no time, went straight to the front of the line, and took charge of the bold maneuver himself. Carlo D’Este wrote in the Quarterly Journal of Military History, “to prepare for a major counterattack in less than 72 hours was astonishing. Only a commander with exceptional confidence in his subordinate commanders and in the professional skill of his fighting divisions could dare risk such a venture.” His unexpected tactics and his swift implementation of them surprised the Germans and saved hundreds of lives in the process. This not only took courage, confidence, and guts, it required unfaltering discipline and trust throughout his chain of command.

We as business leaders can learn a great deal from Patton and his effectiveness on the battlefield. In this one shortly summarized story, we can see various invaluable leadership qualities this man possessed and apply them to a business perspective. Patton had the utmost confidence and trust in his “managers” and employees to accomplish his audacious goals. Patton had unwavering willpower to pursue these goals and the fortitude to ignore those who believed it impossible. He possessed long-run vision, ability to discover weaknesses in the competition and waste no time to exploit them. He wrote in his journal countless times “do the unexpected.”

Patton’s leadership style can be best summed up in his following quotes which remain remarkably relevant to this day: “Do everything you ask of those you command.” Patton believed leadership was done from the front, he understood that no one would follow a leader that didn’t know what the work was like first-hand; “No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair.”  In the military, if you spend all of your time in the office, you have no idea of what real combat is like. Patton believed he could not lead his men effectively unless he got his hands dirty himself.  That way he could understand exactly what he was asking of them. His inspirational style and aura rubbed off on people fighting beside him, and it came from setting a personal example. Finally, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

If you have faith in your employees, train them properly, trust in their discipline, get your hands dirty in the trenches, and lead from the front, there is no mountain too high they won’t be willing to climb for you. Have the courage to be audacious and the fortitude to resist those who tell you it is impossible or going to fail. These are just a few examples of the wisdom displayed by one of the most successful military leaders of the past century, an inspiring individual that any business leader can learn a great deal from.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization