The Holidays…and Your Strategic Retreat

As I write this on October 10, I’m reminded that this is basically your last chance to do something special for the holidays. Any thoughts you might have need to be ready to go sooner rather than later. This could include:

  • Gifts as a part of your gifting strategy
  • Events with a holiday theme
  • Holiday decoration
  • Special offers such as holiday “spruce ups”
  • Discounts or gift certificates. (Why not offer $500 off on the first $2,000 of design services and products purchased?)
  • Networking

I’m reminded that long time Edge member, Patti Watson, has long told me that she finds the holidays the absolute best time of year to do one-on-one networking and begin to discuss projects for next year. She finds that rather than use the excuse of, “Oh, it’s the holidays,” that it’s a particularly rich time for people to want to get together for lunch or coffee.

(So keep in mind the results of many experiments in which putting a warm cup of coffee in someone’s hands dramatically improves their mood and the chances of getting a “Yes!”)

In this months’ Edge Newsletter I’m going to challenge you to try and squeeze 12 months into the last 12 weeks of the year. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

And About that Strategic Retreat?

This is also the time of year when you should start planning and booking your annual strategic retreat. That’s right, it’s the 4-7 days each year that you get OUT of the office, get out your flip charts and Post-it Notes and review everything that happened in 2019, and everything you plan to MAKE happen in 2020.

Bill Gates calls it his “Think Week” when he loads up all the books and papers he didn’t have time to read. And yes, he goes alone. So do I, though I realize that some have created a lifestyle where a spouse or partner would have to be included. Just make sure you still get plenty of time alone because we all know that it’s you who has to make things happen. Support is great, but it’s not to be confused with personal ambition and determination.

I used to take my retreat between Christmas and New Years, but I’ve found my favorite get-away to be pretty expensive. (Okay, I’ll tell you that it’s Cancun, but I won’t tell you where in Cancun!) So, I decided it doesn’t make a great deal of difference and I now take my retreat during the week between the college football semi-final playoff games, and the championship game. That way I’m home to watch both of them with Sammy! (Chocolate Lab who loves football, so long as plenty of chips make their way to the floor.)

I’ve got a format for this Strategic Retreat if you’re interested. Just leave a comment below and I’ll add some tips.


4 thoughts on “The Holidays…and Your Strategic Retreat”

  1. I love the idea of a strategic retreat and remember the (sadly) few I have done over the course of my career. Time to re-implement that strategy and make plans! I look forward to hearing what guidance and tips you have to offer us to make it a splendid success!

  2. Terry Gillespie

    David, I would love to hear more about Strategic Retreats.

  3. shepherddp

    Terry, to be clear, the “strategic retreat” I was referring to is one that I take BY MYSELF each January. I have held retreats for members of my networks and may well do that again in the future. The process I use for either format is to spend a day or two jotting down EVERY possible thought on every possible issue (business and life) and getting those onto flip charts. Then, I try and categorize all of the bullet points into about 10-15 topics, like “Personal Financial” and “Marketing” and “Software…” I just use a colored marker to circle and then pull all of one color onto a new chart so that I have all “Marketing,” for example, on a single sheet. I then start ranking the bullet points in order of priority, generally using As, Bs, and Cs…and then A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3, etc. Eventually, I’ll pull all of the A1s onto yet another new flip chart and try to come up with my key priorities for the year ahead. I’ll enter those into a task management tool. That’s the short version, but I hope it helps.

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