Saturday 15 March 2014

Goal Setting; Choose the RIGHT Location

Right location; more important than you think

Part 4 of 6: Finding A Place Where Anything Can Happen

Written by Robyn T. Braley

Ideas to help you move your business to new levels of success.

In this post I focus on the importance of selecting a location where anything can happen. I include tips for small businesses and Bootstrappers.
Part 1; Why Goal Setting; Part 2; Leaders Role Part 3; Drafting The Winning Team Part 4; A Location Where Anything Can Happen Part 5; Formula for Success Team Part 6; Implementing the Plan  
Where Creativity Begins
I used to be a High School Drama teacher. How my career led from there to full time music to broadcasting to founding Unimark Creative in 1994 is another story.

My University studies were in the British philosophy of developmental drama rather than theater arts. It was an exciting time in Calgary when Kieth Johnstone, the improvisation innovator, developed the Theatre Sports concept. Keith took the concept to the world.

What does that have to do with choosing a goal setting location? Our high school drama studios were designed to be places ‘where anything could happen.’ The teaching spaces helped students reach within to experience creativity as they never had before.

When you set the stage for collective creativity, anything can and usually does happen.

Choosing a Location
Choosing the right location is more important than you think. Schedule your session away from the office – even out-of-town. The number one motivation is to find a comfortable setting away from distractions. 

Don’t cheap it out. Booking a place where your group will feel comfortable will also affect their confidence and pride in your company. They will tell their family and friends where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing.

If you can afford it, book a hotel with enough rooms for your entire goal setting team, even if “team” means you and your spouse. To be clear, by hotel, I’m thinking “modest.” However, if Honolulu fits your corporate strategies, I’m in as a facilitator! If you can afford exotic – go for it!    

I recall standing on a balcony of a 20th floor suite in the north tower in the Honolulu Hilton Village. We looked down on 1,100 staff from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada enjoying a banquet on the grassy area below.

I chose to believe the bank had not paid the expenses of their employees to fly to Hawaii to brainstorm ideas about what to do with the exorbitant bank fees they charged me.

Schedule the session over two days. Sleeping on ideas and discussing them over breakfast or in the hall often brings different perspectives and buyin.  

·       Day one is usually ultra-intense and produces a tsunami of creative ideas.
·       Day two is for dialing it back and for sober second thoughts.

My wife and I started UniMark Creative, we had to bootstrap our business. In fact, we were so hard pressed for cash that my real-life experiences formed the basis for our seminar ‘Bootstrapping with Broken Laces.’

Bootstrapping is a tough, tough way to go. However, if you are determined, there are 100’s of successful Alberta businesses that started out of the trunk or a car, the back of a rusty half ton, or a table by Mom’s washer and dryer.

Let me say this. Scheduling annual goal setting sessions will move your business to a new level. Bootstrappers have little margin for error and they need every assist they can get.

So, don’t let lack of funds stop you from finding a location. Check out a university business incubator, a community centre, a library or a church for a meeting room. A box of Tim’s coffee and a tray of fruit is all you need.

Taking Care of Business
·       Plan meals carefully. Booking a restaurant across town for lunch will pretty much kill the afternoon.

·       Soup and sandwiches served in the private room keeps everyone focused and manages time. It keeps the discussion going.

·       Keep a steady supply of energy snacks, fruit drinks and water. Too many muffins make Jack a dull – and sluggish - boy.

·       Make sure the technology works – internet connections, projectors, smart boards.

·       Buy new notepads, pens, black markers and yellow highlighters for each participant. Send a signal you expect fresh ideas and hard work.

·       I’ve had hotels throw in meeting rooms, easels, white boards and markers for free. Ask. They can only say no.

·       Task a trusted employee with recording and transcribing the key sessions. I’m always amazed by the nuggets of information passed over in the live sessions.

·       Ideally, choose a facility offering small adjunct rooms for break-out meetings. Sending small groups to satellite rooms with specific tasks breaks up the sessions and keeps the creatively flowing. 

·       All mobile devices should be left in a safe out-of-reach place for the entire day. How many times have planning groups achieved great synergy only to have it destroyed when someone receives an intrusive email or text.

Robyn T. Braley is a writer, speaker and music composer. He is the President of UniMark Creative which focuses on website design, video production, media services (editorial and advertising), and graphic design.

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