Next Friday, I am having a Strategy Away Day – pandemic style. In past years, when I need time to really focus on strategy, I was often able to take an afternoon or a whole day and spend it with some members of my Board, colleagues or external contacts, having conversations over coffee or whilst walking in a park.
My first mentor Margaret and I often spent hours walking through whichever city we met in, plotting and planning the future – and I came away having mapped out my plans and ideas for the year ahead.
Ideas like closing our office and moving online first came up during one such conversation many years ago… and how we are into our fourth year as a virtual team with no looking back.
But in these strange times… and confined to my home and immediate surrounds, how can I have an away day? Well.. here is what I am thinking:
Things are very hectic just now, but as a CEO, there is nothing more urgent or important on my priority list than to have a clear vision, a strong focus of what’s ahead. So I have clearer the day in my diary.
That in itself feels like a win, as I haven’t had much time like this over the past year.
On the day, I have a session with a wonderful coach I sometimes see, who works for a small, independent HR provider, based in Sheffield. Working with agencies that serve solely small charities like ours really helps find support that is both excellent value for money and affordable (even in cash strapped times) .
Weather permitting, we will be speaking on the phone whilst going for a walk in our respective local areas and step outside of the usual desk/home office environment.
If it’s raining, I might decamp to the garage or at least the living room, to make sure I have a change of scene.
Catering is another factor I am planning ahead for: my weekly online shop is going to contain some unusual items as I return to buying provisions I would have had whilst travelling, including maybe a smoothie or a pre-packed coffee. Every little thing I can do to create some headspace is going to contribute to the success of my day.
I am also planning to work on a pitch, mostly to myself, but also to focus my thinking ahead of a day’s meeting with the Board the week after. I’d like to look back at some of the plans I made previously, and how they have changed.
I recently attended a monthly meeting of UK Association CEOs discussing ‘what will success look like in 2021’ and this gave me inspiration to try and ask myself that question in a new way.
In 2015, I wrote about about how I had hopes for ALT to reach 1,500 Members… now we have 3,500. Things have changed and there is so much scope for the work that we do to grow.