Taking Our Own Advice

You know the joke about the carpenter's house never being finished or the doctor who doesn't follow her own advice? Last month, in a flurry of work and new engagements, I realized we had the same issue at GLP as the carpenter has with his partially built home. So - in the midst of the heaviest work schedule this year - I called for a one day retreat with the team and planned it much in the same way we would with our clients.  

To be clear, I was feeling simultaneously excited and anxious about all the possibilities before us. I wanted to ensure the best work in current projects and maybe dive into some new opportunities -- but realized that to make good decisions we first needed to be more strategic about what we would do, why we do it, and how we would execute well.  I knew I needed to get out of my own head and into a dialogue with the team -- that the best answers laid beyond me. Sound familiar? It’s exactly what many leaders express when they call us for the first time. There may be a particular issue that sparks the need, but in every case our clients want to slow down, think strategically, and immerse themselves in productive dialogue with their colleagues, their boards and their communities.

What did we do? We went back to basics and created our own one page strategy draft.  Our values had never been precisely articulated so we started there.  A brainstorm on the whiteboard was the most satisfying moment of the day for me -- we converged quickly and without dissent on our five values  -- in all of ten minutes!

Here’s what we came up with:

  • People First

  • Joy Matters

  • Learn Always

  • Flexibility

  • Beautiful Work

We moved from there to our mission and vision -- and recognized that success goes something like this:  

GLP will be nationally known as the trusted partner, expert, and coach for educational and mission based organizations who want to build capacity, learn, and thrive in the face of change.

And we covered a lot more. We talked about the challenges our clients are facing and where we feel we added the greatest value. We talked about our own learning and growth, and how that happens in our work with our clients.  We pushed ourselves to make four targeted and specific choices about where we would focus our energies in the upcoming year: by 2pm we felt like we had just gotten a fresh (or refreshed) start.

Best of all, we scheduled quarterly retreats -- because we know this work never stops.  It was time to take our own advice.