Episode 81: CEO Retreat

I take time to get away for a CEO Retreat every quarter, and it’s something I recommend for every CEO.

As a business owner, you need to be spending time thinking and planning for the future. 

But instead, you get stuck in the day-to-day grind.

It’s time to step away from focusing solely on short-term goals to focus on the big picture.

If you aren’t crystal clear on what’s next in your business, fully confident it’s possible, and have a solid strategy to make it happen, a CEO Retreat may be exactly what you need.

 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why every business owner needs a CEO Retreat.
  • The essential elements of a CEO Retreat 
  • And my personal agenda for my Quarterly CEO Retreats

Featured on the Show:

 

Hey, everybody. I just got back from a CEO retreat, and this is something that I like to do every single quarter. And I wanna tell you about it because I think you should do it too. In fact, every time I go and I share some of the behind the scenes on social media, I get DMs every single time. And if you haven't seen the behind the scenes of my personal CEO retreats, then be sure to follow me on Instagram because I share all of that kind of stuff there, and you can see what I do. I typically share some of that behind the scenes. I'm gonna share some of that today here for you as well. But if you want to actually see it and not just hear about it, you can follow me on Instagram.

And the thing is people always comment. Sometimes the same people are commenting quarter after quarter when they see my posts and they say they still need to make time to do this. They haven't done it yet. They wanted to maybe 6 months ago, like 2 quarterly retreats ago, and they still haven't done it, and they're like, oh, yeah, I need to make time to do that. And because of that, I've decided to do something fun. I've opened up 3 spots for a private virtual CEO day. You'll get a day with me and my COO. We're gonna tailor the agenda specifically to you and what your business needs.

And if you wanna turn it into your own CEO retreat, we're gonna tell you how. You can just book a couple of nights away before and after our CEO day, where we'll spend time together on strategy and coaching, and you can take that extra time away to relax and really set the stage for the next quarter to come. And if you want one of these 3 spots, then keep listening. I'm gonna tell you more about what this looks like, but also go visit the link that we will share in the show notes to learn more and claim your spot. Okay, now why do you even need a CEO retreat? You might be wondering, what is this? Well, CEO level thinking is one of the most valuable things, if not the most valuable thing, in my opinion, that a business owner can spend there's time on. Yet too many of you are stuck in that day to day grind of just getting things done and focused on meeting your current goals. The thing is your business needs you to be thinking about the future and guiding the direction. So while you and if you have a team, your team are focused on meeting your current goals, you also need to be stepping out from time to time to focus on what's next.

So it's not enough to be working on your short term goals. You need to be clear about what's next and make sure that's all in alignment. And so it's really important that you change things up and step out of that day to day to really focus on the business. I know you've heard this before. Right? You need to focus on the business versus staying in it. I like to spend time every week thinking about my business, but this quarterly CEO retreat is where I really take the time to get clear on the plans for the next quarter, and I always revisit my long term vision too. But we'll talk about what I cover in a few minutes. First, let's talk about some of the essential elements of a CEO retreat.

Here's what has to be involved for a successful CEO retreat, in my opinion, a change of environment. So can you walk through all of the questions, all of the thinking all of the planning in your day to day office or at home, of course, but I personally see so much value in mixing things up. I don't know what it is. It feels like magic. I can't really explain it. But when I book a room at a resort or a hotel, sometimes in the same city, sometimes just 15 minutes away, I will book a hotel and everything changes for me. It's like being in a different spot. My brain just unlocks all of these creative ideas that wouldn't have otherwise appeared when I was sitting at my desk that I sit at every day.

And so again, it feels like magic. There's probably something to it, just my thinking and just like the habits of what I typically do, the typical distractions of being in my everyday environment changes when I go somewhere new. And so that's the 1st piece is really changing up your environment. So, again, sometimes I'll just go 15 minutes away or, you know, 45 minutes away and do something local at a a local hotel or resort. Sometimes I'll actually go away further. I used to like to travel a bit further away. Once, you know, this pandemic hit, I tended to go places a little bit closer and stay kind of within an hour drive versus flying somewhere cool or fun. I would love to get back to that sometime.

I will say, oftentimes in the past, before, like, pre pandemic, I would tag this on to the end of a trip, like, a business trip. So if I needed to go to a conference or if I was having some kind of a VIP coaching day with my coach or if I, you know, for whatever reason, needed to get away to see a client or someone else, I would just tackle it on to the end of that and extend it to get that time in. So I used to do that. Now, lately, I've just been doing it more local. You do you. Choose whatever you want to choose, but I recommend changing up your environment in some way. The second essential element is having some fun. You want to create that environment of creativity.

And so I've done some different things. This last retreat, I went to an interactive Van Gogh exhibit that was so much fun. It was so inspiring to see the art literally projected on the ceiling, the walls, the floor. Every surface around me was covered with this artwork paired with amazing music that was composed sometimes just to fit the artwork and sometimes paired with classical musics and the classics. It was, again, it was phenomenal. It was inspiring. It was something different. And it really, in a way, grounded me and helped me be present and at the same time, shift my mind and unlock a different side of my brain.

So that was just fun to get away and do something different. Other times I've done things as simple as just, you know, dancing, whether it's for fun or I actually used to be a dancer, if you didn't know that about me. I danced from the time I was very little all the way through college. I was in our dance company. And so sometimes I will dance because that's how I like to really express that creativity. But you could do anything, anything that's fun. I think that's essential. You have to do something to really unlock that side.

Then I think another element is relaxation. I mean, you've worked so hard. So even if it's not going to be essential for you to get out of it, what you came for as far as the ideas and the strategies, I think you just deserve a break. You deserve some pampering or whatever you decide. For me, let's go to this last quarterly retreat. I scheduled 2 different in room spa treatments where they came to me right in my room. So I had a spa treatment the night I got there to really set the stage. I also had 1 the night before I left that was a different treatment.

And so it was just fun to experience something new. 1 was, just a relaxing massage, and then one with something new that I hadn't done before, and it's just, you know, a little adventurous, but also relaxing. Nothing crazy, though, just like a body, like scrub and wrap. Now, sometimes relaxing means, for me, for introvert me, not going out to get food, but either ordering food, ordering room service, things like that. I also got this gorgeous room with a big bubble bath. It was like a spa bathroom and huge bubble bath. And I am a bath person, so that was relaxing to me. So that's a few of the things that I did for this last one.

Then the next one is the next essential element is intentions. You need to know what you want to walk away with when you go. Now most of the time, for me personally, this stays the same. I schedule it quarterly, and the general a thing that I wanna walk away with stays the same, and that is I want to walk away with my strategic plan for the quarter. Every once in a while, I have something specific, some question that's been lingering or some decision that needs to be made, and I set an intention to make that decision or answer that question before I leave. It's like a puzzle. I'm gonna figure it out, or it's a decision, and I'm gonna give myself that time, but then I'm gonna make the decision. And so I often use that time for that, but it's important to not wait until you get there to figure out what you should do or spend your time on, but to already be prepared.

So I think about what I want to accomplish, and I set the agenda before I ever go. Every single time I tailor the agenda to what I need to get out of it this specific quarter, even though some of the things repeat a lot for the strategic planning piece, there are always elements that are new or different. The last essential element it's thinking time. You have to plan time to think. For me, this means typically canceling, I would say, most of my calls. Sometimes, I will still take a couple of calls. Like, if I have a Mastermind call or something while I'm there, I will jump back into coaching mode for an hour if it happens to overlap with that day. But a lot of times, I'll schedule it on days when I don't have calls, or I will shift my schedule around and make sure I free up my time.

I definitely do not attend any of my team meetings. I don't schedule any other work for me to do those days. I clear my schedule for the most part so that I can focus on thinking and strategic planning. So those are the essential elements. And then this is my typical agenda. As I said, I tailor this every time, so there are always parts and pieces that get added. But I wanna walk you through kind of the typical flow. So I always, always start by reflecting back on the last quarter and evaluating.

I never want to set plans to move forward until after I'm clear on really why things happen the way they happened last quarter, right, like I want to I wanna look at the trend. I want to see if I hit my goal, and if so, like what went well, if I didn't, what didn't go well, but most importantly, what are the lessons from, from both of those? What are the lessons that I can learn? If something went well, I want to know why it went well also I can replicate it. And if something didn't go well, I certainly want to debrief on that and make sure that I'm clear on what needs to shift or what we need to focus on to get a different result. A lot of that comes back to mindset and my thoughts, but sometimes there are the strategic action items that need to shift. So I wanna get clear on all of that first, really reflect back and evaluate. That really informs the next phase. So I don't like to go into this next piece until I've done this because the next phase is all about setting goals and evaluating my beliefs and actually creating my own belief plan. So what am I talking about here? After I know what happened and why last quarter, I decide what I want to accomplish the next quarter.

Oftentimes, I already have some high level idea, but I'm really refining that and really giving a clear, intentional focus for the overall company. I'm going to start by looking at big picture vision. I'm gonna look at long term, medium term, and short term vision, then I'm gonna turn that short term vision into goals for the next quarter. I'm gonna have a single company goal that is what our entire team is focused on. And then we break that goal, I break that goal down into different goals for each department to focus on, and all of those department goals support the bigger company goal. Now all this talk of departments, if you're a solopreneur or you have small team, I want you to know this is still something you can do. Even if you're the only one, part of our process is to help you think of your business like a company and start setting goals based on the core functions of your business. So we can help you figure out what those are and really make all of this make sense.

If you want help, just let us know. Reach out. This is what we do. But if you break that down into the smaller goals by department, then you've got your marching orders for your team for what needs to happen. Like, here's what everyone's gonna rally around. Then it's great to have goals, but it's only a goal is only as good as your belief in it, in your belief in yourself to achieve that goal, your belief in your team, you have to believe that it's possible. And so then I create a belief plan. I take some time and think about what I need to believe, which is really another way of saying who I need to become in order to reach this goal.

I need to become that next level version of myself, the type of person, the type of woman, the type of CEO who believes that this is possible. So I write down all of the things that I need to believe and spend some time on that. If that's all you did, that would be super valuable. That would be worth the amount of time that you spent away. But then the next phase just to drive that home is to turn those goals into an action plan. So then I focus on the strategies and tactics that we're going to use to achieve those goals by department and break all of that down. It's crazy what I walk away with after one of these CEO retreats. There's always so much clarity.

There's always this, like, fresh energy from just taking the time away, this renewed excitement. I always come back to the team just so excited to tell them what we're gonna focus on, the direction we're headed, to share with them what we need to do, and then turn that all into project plans and get to work. They feel inspired. We're all working towards 1 goal together, and it feels incredible. But it all starts with taking this time away and really spending that time to think about your business, to work on your business versus working in it. Okay. So now is the time to be thinking about this. Make sure you're setting the time aside because right now is when you should be planning, if you haven't already, you need your plan for Q4.

Or if you're listening to this later, you need your plan for the next quarter. Right now, the date that this releases, we're just a few days before the beginning of q4. If you don't have clarity, if you haven't taken any time away to work on your business this quarter, this year, maybe even the last few years, it's time. You're overdue, and this is part of your responsibility as the business owner, as the CEO.

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