This week I held a staff retreat for myself and my team of three that supports Align and Profit.  The retreat was a night and day difference from the one I held last year.  Before I share about how great it was, let me just contrast.  The last time I had a staff retreat, I was exhausted!  I’d had a client retreat and 3 VIP Days prior to putting on the hat of the leader of my company.  I wasn’t present to exactly what I wanted as an outcome.

I also didn’t have all of the right people on my team.  At some level I knew it and I was hoping it would go away. 🙂  I was hoping the idea of a “retreat” would magically transform the person who I was clear didn’t “get it” into someone who did.

Funny, right?  I’ve done this in dating, too, by the way. 🙂

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.  Easy to say, harder to act on.  You’ve got to get the right people on your team.

I also had a big long list of stuff I wanted to “crank out” while we were together, because I thought perhaps our time in person would help make up for any communication gaps we had in the normal running of the business.   Oops!

The Difference Time and Learning Can Make

This time, I was sure to:

  • Give myself some down time before our retreat.
  • Release anyone on my team who I knew didn’t “get it” about where we are heading.  (Yes, I fired someone again.  No, it doesn’t get easier.)
  • Bring in the right energy and commitment level to my team (more on that in a minute).
  • Create big picture intentions for the day that were clear and strategic umbrellas over the bulk of what we are doing, knowing that anything that needed to get done after our day together, would, because that is how we roll.
  • Think about each individual on the team and what I’d like from them, and how to engage them based on who they are and what they most want.
  • Give each team member prework that was personal to them:  Recent learning, why they are there, what they most want to create, what they most want to leave behind.

These are some great tips I’d give to anybody who has a team.  But here is the biggest one:

Remember Where You Came From

Before you get your team in a room and take on the role of leader of your company, take a minute to remember where you came from.  Or, really, why you are in business in the first place.

[Your why should be clear every day in your marketing, by the way. :)]

It is amazing how I see people’s “why” fly out the window the moment they put their “boss” hat on.  Every insecurity surfaces in this role… (all fall under the hats of Circumstance Cindy, Accepting Annie, or Patty Proven… perhaps a future article.)

It’s important to take time to reground yourself in why you do what you do and how it applies to your team.  There’s nothing like being in alignment to create a strong work environment.

You Can’t Buy Loyalty

As I worked with my team this week, I was moved to tears on multiple occasions by who they are and what they contribute.  They completely “get it.”  They know where we are going and why, and have committed to living the principles that our company embodies, as I have.  They learn as I teach, and courageously apply the principles to uplevel their own lives.

You can’t buy that level of commitment, you can only inspire it.  You can’t inspire it in the wrong people.  But attract the right people, declare and live your principles, and they will reflect it right back to you, holding you to your own standard!  It’s a beautiful thing.

The Seeds of My Why

When I sat in a coach training program in 1998 in my corporate job, the message that was revealed to me in my own inner knowing went something like this:

People are pretending to be what their boss, coworkers, or team members want them to be so they can get paid, look good, be impressive or otherwise get their egos fed.

What if people could feel free to be themselves in their work?  What else might be possible?

This insight has driven me every step of the way from the moment my business first opened its doors.  And this is what I bring to my team.  It is what I am committed to modeling for them – it has to be.

We have a handful of principles by which we are committed to operating.  In short, we live what we teach, and we communicate if something happens through which we don’t or can’t.

What Moved Me

What moved me so strongly in my meeting is that, while I am not perfect, I have succeeded in creating an environment for my team in which I want to work… which addresses the two major issues I had when I worked in corporate.

1.We bring no pretense.
We are who are, we say what we mean, and we don’t hold back or make stuff up to make each other happy, or comfortable, or impressed. We can create and build into something bigger than any single one of us imagined because we bring our full selves to the table.
2.We do work that matters.
Our work and results as a team, and the work and results our clients create, inspire the heck out of us every day. We don’t have to convince ourselves it matters, it really does. To us. It’s in natural alignment with who we are. (I used to try to find a way to get passionate about engineering new packages for flavored, colored, sugar-water, if you can believe that!)

It can be scary.

As you begin to create a team that is inspired by you, committed to you, and relying on you to show up every day, as you, it can feel like a lot of responsibility.  It is.  I am ultimately responsible for every outcome my company experiences.  All of them.  No matter who took the action.  I am the source.

This is why so many aspiring entrepreneurs don’t leave start.  They are uncertain of their ability to be the source of a movement that reaches millions, and provides income for a thriving team.  But, if you see the vision it won’t go away.  No one else is going to do “your thing.”  It has to be you.

How cool is it that you can pay people to be on board with “your thing,” so “your thing” can grow?  Visualize your future staff retreat.  Who do you see around the table?  Why are they thrilled to be working with and supporting YOU?  Now, go out and make it happen!


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