Think You Know It All? True Professionals Learn Like Amateurs.

After almost 30 years of coaching CEOs to help them build and grow higher performing organizations, I still feel like an amateur, sometimes.

By amateur, I mean that there’s always so much to learn.

As I did at our recent annual team retreat in Whistler when we worked on our firm’s BHAG, and what it’s going to take to meet our three-year goal of 15 amazing advisors to work with and support our clients.

Why didn’t I think of that?

A lot of great discussions, debates and brainstorming took place, as different members of our team – who each owned a different piece of the agenda – facilitated different exercises, using notably different concepts, tools and techniques.

Some exercises were competitive, some reflective and thought-provoking, some energizing and others, just plain fun.

As we worked as one group or broke into smaller ones, we challenged and critiqued each other’s ideas, talked about accomplishments, frustrations and lessons learned, reflected and contemplated. We got strategic, gathered different perspectives on how we could refine and improve our Hedgehog and figured out the company’s most important KPIs.

There were many moments, as I watched each person on the team facilitate these exercises, when I wondered “Why didn’t I think of that?” or “Oh, I absolutely need to do that!”, and came away with a great list of new things to incorporate into my work.

Blown away and humbled, I realized that no matter how accomplished we become, or how long we’ve been in the game, there’s always something new to learn and improve – especially in an environment that values all perspectives and ideas.


“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war,

while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

– Sun Tzu, The Art of War


Preparation is Everything

We also realized the value of a lot of collective, synchronized pre-work – whether for our company or a client – and its impact on an effective strategic planning session. And we could see that an advisor’s relationship with the CEO of a company and our internal support team, sets everyone up to win, before we even show up in the room.

As a side note, although our retreat was spectacular, we also took note of things that were missed and what we could make it even better.

That’s what happens when you strive for excellence.

The Challenge

    • How effectively are you creating an environment where team members can share their insights, tools and techniques for everyone to improve their craft?
    • On a scale from 0 to 10, how masterful is your preparation for your meetings and what do you need to get it closer to a 10?

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