Have you scheduled your next retreat?
Retreats are becoming fairly commonplace. We now have the Partner Retreat, the Executive Committee Retreat, the Practice Leader Retreat, individual Practice Group Retreats, Associate Retreats (perhaps), and even Support Staff Retreats (rarely).
The motivation is usually to provide more face-to-face interaction thereby developing social bonds, improving communications, dealing with operational issues, exploring future directions, and even having a bit of fun with the people we work with.
Now at some of these Retreats we choose to engage an outside speaker. It usually turns out to be someone from afar and someone more than adept at telling a good joke, sharing an anecdote, and keeping your people entertained for a few hours. In fact your people have come to call these individuals "edutainers." There are yet other outside presenters sufficiently inspiring such that everyone gets really charged up and takes copious amounts of notes.
Inevitably, our sessions conclude and we all return, hopefully invigorated enough to face the pile of voice-mail messages and client files that have been left burning on our desks. That binder of notes hits the shelf and maybe, just maybe, something inspires us to return to it in the months to come, such that we pull it down and actually do something as a result of that last retreat we all attended.
Now that pretty much represents the conventional practice for most firm's Retreats. While the groups may be different and the speakers may vary, the measurable results are all too often the same. As one managing partner commented about firm meetings in general, "When all is said and done, there is usually a hell of a lot more said, then is ever done!"
Of course then we come to scheduling our next Retreat. And wouldn't you know it. Some partner has the audacity to ask, "But did anything really happen as a result of our last get together?"
Now when that happens, and it inevitably will, your very best counsel would be to punish that partner (for their audacity) by assigning them to Chair the organizing committee for your next Retreat. Then please give that partner Patrick's telephone number so that he might outline a radically different approach that actually culminates in something measurable.