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Company Planning Sessions

I just spent a couple of days with Eagle's management team in our quarterly planning session.

I have talked about these meetings before ... but here are some things that I have learned about sessions like these:

1. By getting away from the "day to day" hubbub you free yourself to look at the business "differently".
2. By having a number of people involved in the process you harness the "power of many".
3. Sessions like this give you the opportunity to challenge the "norms" of any business.
4. A session like this NEEDS to have concrete outcomes ... a list of action items, resolution of certain business issues or just a commitment to a strategy.
5. You should NOT do the same thing in every session ... these should NOT become a "cookie cutter" quarterly management meeting. You need to shake it up a little.
6. Off site meetings can help the management team to get to know each other a little better, in a more social environment.
7. These sessions do not have to be expensive ... we have had many of them in our house, you don't need to go "first class" when all of your time is going to be between 4 walls anyway.
8. Its good to have external input sometimes ... but not too often. Outsiders don't know your business and your culture, so a learning curve can detract from the meetings.
9. Great ideas can come from any of the participants.
10. This kind of planning will result in a healthier company.
11. These sessions also help to train new managers, educate them about company culture and the "secret sauce" associated with this particular company as opposed to their last one.
12. It is VERY easy to determine that these kind of meetings are just additional cost and everyone is so busy they can't afford the time ... big mistake.
13. Regular off site management meetings are needed to ensure that current plans are being met and to develop new and innovative ways of doing business.

I doubt I would still be running Eagle and enjoying the challenges of the staffing industry were it not for these sessions that have shaped our company over the last fourteen years.