Taking 7 CEOs away for a 3-day retreat is always inspiring and great fun. The theme of “Building Enterprise Value” added weight to our discussions, providing the balance to the inevitable sampling of the local wines (we were in Orange NSW!)
Topics explored included creative thinking, value propositions, brand value, people, reinvention and more. No surprises there, however, the real value of the retreat is accessing the collective intelligence of the group and the change in thinking.
When the CEOs come into the room they have a perspective, they have a natural bias, whether that’s for a viewpoint or for action or both. With peers they’re happy to share their ideas on how they need to build value in their business, their issues, opportunities, and challenges.
During our recent retreat we explored the role of creative thinking in responding to business issues strategy and how we respond to the challenge that organisations are inherently limited by the calibre of thinking within. Solution: surround yourself with people who think differently to you.
We explored the concept of brand value, how fundamental it is to enterprise value, and how a clear brand management policy is essential to prevent incremental changes that may inadvertently dilute that value.
We also explored the relevance of value propositions, i.e. your promise of the value of your product and service and the ‘experience’ clients will enjoy. We considered if current value propositions are still relevant, or if client’s perception of value has shifted and how do you validate. Answering these questions enables further reflection, is there an opportunity to differentiate further by adding more value, or can you eliminate aspects of your product or service that your clients no longer value?
These are just sample of the array of the topics we discussed (and that are relevant for your reflection). The real value however is when we get to access the collective intelligence in the room. The alternative perspectives, the contrarian views, the ‘get-over-it’ push (given with kindness:). Then things happen. Perspectives start to shift. Listening to other challenges causes reflection. Questions arise, “how am I addressing that issue?” “This wasn’t on my radar, are my team equipped to respond to this challenge?”
The Litmus Test
These are the aha moments when the value of sharing and having the right people in the room is invaluable. Perspectives are changed, new ideas emerge, confidence in decision making increases.
The litmus test of an effective retreat is the ability to answer the question .. “as a result of the discussions at this retreat I must… ” Both the questions you ask yourself and your answers may have changed because of the access to the groups collective intelligence.
So, what’s the message for CEOs?
Always be thinking of how to Build Enterprise Value (as opposed to revenue growth).
Regularly take time-out to go on a retreat with people who share your values but who think differently to you.
And finally decide what you and your organisation need to learn in 2022.