Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Getting Away from it All

In a couple of weeks my managers and I are leaving town for a two-day planning retreat. It's going to be a busy two days in which we plan to tackle:

  • 2013 financial projections
  • Equipment purchases / upgrades
  • Staffing levels and compensation
  • Updated job descriptions for all positions
  • Marketing and promotion plan for all of 2013
We'll also spend quite a bit of time trying to solve some of our biggest problems.
  • Updating our employee manual so everyone is on the same page
  • Designing a training program that works given our small size and limited resources
  • Discussing our retailing system and how it should be revised to be more effective
We won't have all the answers in just two days, but hopefully we'll come out of it with a game plan.

We are going about one hour out of town and staying at a hotel where we have also reserved a meeting room. Just so it's not all work and no play it happens to be near a huge outlet mall.

It will be challenging to stay on task in order to push through our full agenda. If our retreat is successful I think we will be starting out 2013 in a good place and may make this an annual event.


  1. Did the retreat work well four you? I've often thought about doing this so the day to day things going on in salon don't distract my managers

    1. Our retreat was incredibly successful. Some of the things we accomplished:
      -revisions to our employee policy/training manual
      -revisions of all job descriptions
      -identified key performance indicators for each position and set targets to be included in job descritpions
      -evaluated individual performance for pay increase purposes
      -totally redesigned our training program and mapped out day by day training for new hires
      -prepared marketing calendar for 2013 with all service specials defined
      -established upgrade priorities for equipment, etc.
      -finalized new Continuing Ed policy tying benefits to retail sales
      -discussed our retailing system and agreed on changes
      -scheduled all staff meetings for 2013 and assigned topics to some meetings.

      Before the retreat I jotted down potential agenda items. Our first order of business was to brainstorm things we would like to accomplish. We prioritized those and created an agenda for the two days. Then we started plowing through it. With few interruptions we were able to stay focused and work through our entire agenda. We each left with to-do's which we followed up on in our regular weekly meeting.

      Our action items ended up being things that affect day-to-day operation of the salon. Policy confusing, disorganized training, unclear career expectations, etc. We ended up spending very little time on financial issues in order to focus on those issues. I still want my managers to be more involved in the numbers, but it was more important in this retreat to solve their daily frustrations.

      I highly recommend this activity. I feel like we came into 2013 with a plan and all on the same page. If you do this I recommend you bring along easel paper (self-sticking), markers, note cards and
      lots of candy and snacks! Make it clear to your team that you are there to collaborate, not to smile, nod, and agree to everything the boss suggests. Encourage lively debate and appreciate the input.