What to Discuss or Not Discuss at Your Retreat
Source: Partner Insights
The retreat process should continue throughout the year, not just for a few days in the fall.
Retreats should help firms focus on new horizons. They should end with an understanding of what the firm is going to do differently in the future. Before conducting a retreat, agree on its purpose. Then create an agenda. During the retreat, make decisions on actions to be taken. Then work on post-retreat work.
Here are some subjects not to discuss at your retreat:
- Allocation of income to partners.
- Compensation of staff.
- Accepting new partners.
- Firm administration (e.g., billings, collections, etc.) and the role of the administrator.
- Marketing plan.
- Analysis of earnings.
- Quality control.
These should be reserved for regular partner meetings.
Here is what you should discuss:
- The most important ingredient in the firm’s success — and its impact going forward.
- The most important threat to the firm’s survival — and what to do about it.
- Business systems/processes that need improvement.
- How to be a growth firm.
- How to be a learning organization.
- How to improve client service.
- Succession planning, including possible mergers or acquisitions.
- Different worries or top-of-mind issues of younger v. older partners. For older partners it may be retirement funding, possible sale of the firm, etc. For younger partners it may be the future size and ownership of the firm, how retirement benefits will be paid, etc.
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From Partner Insights, Aquila Global Advisors, LLC, January 15, 2008, www.aquilaadvisors.com.