I grew up going to retreats all… the… time: youth group retreat, student government retreat, personal retreat, leadership team planning retreat, and the list goes on. There was always a retreat.
I actually enjoy a good retreat. There’s a time and place for the benefits they bring. But after 2020, we’ve retreated enough. Beaten back by the pandemic and economic fallout, we didn’t need any more retreating. We needed an ADVANCE!
I was tired of being on my heels; tired of feeling tossed by the waves (physically, professionally, emotionally, mentally, relationally). What I needed, what my team needed, was to put a stake in the ground and move forward.
We needed to reset ourselves for the season ahead - a season marked by more clarity and less uncertainty; a season of implementing what we learned during that tough time, instead of continually figuring out the new normal.
So, in late March I called for a 24-hour “Advance!” Our objective: create excitement and alignment for the future.
My message to the team was simple: “Get your work in order, plan ahead, be ready for an intense 24 hours.” And we made every moment count.
For our team, “the future” meant the upcoming school year, where we would work alongside the nation’s schools to raise funding for whatever they needed – whether that’s new tech, PPE, or outside seating.
Our team started the Advance the way we start most things in Booster - relationally. Why? Because before I expect the best out of my people, they need to know I care. My crew is comprised of warriors, no doubt. But, like our school partners, they were tired warriors. They needed food. They needed time together. They needed laughter and intentional conversation without an agenda, a stopwatch, non-stop emails, Slack messages, texts, and the like.
From there, we spent time looking backward -- reflecting on the past year – not to complain or rehash the negative; but learning from it so we could close the chapter. I can’t stress the value of this enough! I asked each of them to write a one-page letter summarizing the last year, and we shared these around a campfire late into the night. There were tears, mixed with a lot of laughter. I think it was good for each person’s soul to vocalize the last 12 months and to listen, as others shared their perspectives. It reminded us that all our stories are unique, even amidst shared struggle.
With the past in our rear-view, our attention turned to the last quarter of the school year and the upcoming school year. We discussed care for our clients and our team. We ideated around what systems we need to keep, which ones we need to kill, and which ones we need to create. We zoomed out to see the next six months and the opportunities afforded to us during that time to strengthen our clients and develop our team.
Even the best of us can get locked in on the day-to-day work, especially during stressful times. Part of a leader’s role is to help each team member “look up” and see where they’re going.
We left after those 24 hours rejuvenated and resolved; ready to dig in for the home stretch of this school year while keeping the next school year on our horizon.
If you work with a team, I encourage you to consider an Advance. The name alone changes the mindset. For those you lead, it may be the difference between, “I’m hanging in there” and “I’m ready to go!”
Here are a few questions that might help you determine if it’s time to advance!
- Is this the best time for an Advance? When the wind is in your sails, it’s time to advance! Momentum is one of the most unstoppable forces. Use it!
- What is needed to achieve your goals? We’re all busy. All the time. When you’re running fast, a 24-hour Advance can do wonders to clarify your team’s focus and ensure that every ounce of energy is converted to terrific output.
- Do you have a strategy and plan in place for the future? Use a retreat for strategy development and an advance for strategy implementation. Rally your crew and get things in motion.
Time to ADVANCE the mission!